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Privacy Commissioner colludes with GCSB in cover up

Media Release: Privacy Commissioner colludes with GCSB in cover up

From: Valerie Morse

Date: 29 September 2013

“The Privacy Commissioner has upheld the GCSB’s ‘neither confirm nor deny’ response to people seeking to find out if they are among the 88 who were subject to illegal surveillance by the GCSB. This illegal activity has now been sanctioned by the Privacy Commissioner who has refused to require that the GCSB come clean and advise people if they have had their rights violated, allowing the GCSB to use the exceptions in the Privacy Act to cover up the systematic illegalities by this rogue agency.”

“Earlier this year, Marie Shroff encouraged ordinary people to come to her with complaints about the agency. She has done nothing but waste our time. Their so-called ‘oversight’ and ‘accountability’ is nothing but a sick joke.”

“We know that there is a legal opinion sitting with the Solicitor-General that clearly says that the actions of the GCSB in spying on 88 New Zealanders and permanent residents had no basis in law, and was therefore illegal. Will Crown Law now step in and initiate a prosecution against the agency or will it also collude in this cover-up?”

“It is nonsensical to say that ‘national security’ will be compromised by telling people that their rights have been violated. National security is about protecting New Zealanders from exactly this type of activity, not about protecting the GCSB from public scrutiny and prosecution. The GCSB must advise those people who have been illegally spied upon; they have the right to know, and those people must have the right to take legal action against the GCSB. This is a cover up of epic proportions.” 

“As importantly, we must assume that each and every person in this country is being subjected to the surveillance of the GCSB’s sister agency, the NSA and its Prism and XKeystroke programmes. We have not heard a single word of outrage from John Key on behalf of the 4.4 million people in this country whose rights to privacy are being routinely violated by the US government.”

“Overwhelmingly New Zealanders are opposed to this rampant state surveillance, and in particular the expanded powers of the GCSB. We will not rest until the surveillance state is history.” 

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