Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Who Guards The Guardians?

Who Guards The Guardians?


On the Dangers and Futility of Expanding Surveillance Powers in Aotearoa-New Zealand.

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Benjamin Franklin.

Professors Kevin P Clements and Richard Jackson of the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Otago are deeply worried by the Government’s plan to change the laws under which the GCSB operates.

“The move is being promoted in order to address a legal anomaly, but in fact it has important and worrying implications for individual privacy, civil liberties and national security. It provides expanded powers of surveillance without evidence of real necessity or effectiveness, or corresponding safeguards of individual liberty and privacy.”

The expansion of surveillance capacity needs to be balanced against benefits to national and regional security. While such capacity might be useful in relation to criminal activity, there is no hard evidence , we are aware of, that such intrusive surveillance mechanisms have played a significant role in the prevention of serious political violence or terrorist activity. On the contrary, so much information is gathered in organizations like the GSCB that analysts often have difficulty making sense of it. The legal rationale for such a bureau is the detection of political and military threat rather than criminal activity. If there is no evidence that such electronic capacity has been genuinely useful in relation to any recent examples of political violence, then why are we contemplating the expansion of such powers for domestic surveillance?

“Who Guards the Guardians “ is an important question here. There is nothing in the legislation about proper oversight or accountability in relation to who is spied on, or why.

The legislation is being rushed through to provide some post facto justification for illegal government surveillance over the past 18 months.

The law change will effectively merge the GCSB and the SIS, plus the intelligence wings of the military and the Police, moving New Zealand towards what is known as a “national security state” with all that this means in terms of intrusive surveillance capacity, challenges to freedom of speech, control of citizens and potential civil rights abuses.

We do not think that this critical law should be changed without more extensive public discussion and enquiry about its potential costs and benefits. At this stage, and on a basis of our expert knowledge on such matters, we see more costs than benefits and real challenges to individual liberties and privacy rights.
ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

Royals: The Prince Of Wales And Duchess Of Cornwall To Visit

Prime Minister John Key welcomes today’s announcement that the Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will visit New Zealand in November. This will be the second joint visit for Their Royal Highnesses to New Zealand. More>>

ALSO:

Tracey Martin Replaced: Ron Mark Is New New Zealand First Deputy Leader

Clayton Mitchell was the successful candidate for the Associate Whip position. Winston Peters was re-elected as Leader by the Caucus. Ron Mark was elected as the Deputy Leader with effect from 10am, Friday, 3rd July. More>>

ALSO:

Rebuild Rebrand: "Regenerate Christchurch" To Replace CERA

The regeneration of Christchurch will be the city’s focus for the next five years as local leadership progressively takes control of the rebuild, Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says. More>>

ALSO:

Nauru: Scholars Urge Minister To Act On Deteriorating Democracy

“Since the 2013 election in Nauru, there has been a series of disturbing developments on the islands that indicate a severe deterioration in the state of its parliamentary democracy and in the rule of law,” say the scholars. More>>

ALSO:

Foreign Affairs: NZ Begins Presidency Of UN Security Council

Prime Minister John Key has welcomed the start of New Zealand’s month-long Presidency of the United Nations Security Council in New York. More>>

ALSO:

Labour: Cash For Charter Schools, Mould For State Schools

“Recently released financial statements show the Whangarei charter school He Puna Marama received $3.9 million in government funding to the end of last year. Yet their audited accounts show they only spent $1.4 million on education, leaving almost $2.5 million over two years unaccounted for." More>>

ALSO:

Kiwirail Plans Shift From Electric: National Urged Not To Take Backwards Step

The National Government shouldn’t drag New Zealand backwards by replacing its climate friendly electric trains with carbon-polluting diesel trains, the Green Party said today. More>>

ALSO:

Capital Connection:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news