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New Zealand Government About To Legalize Spying On NZ Citizens 216

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the if-you-have-nothing-to-hide dept.
Flere Imsaho writes "After admitting they have illegally spied on NZ citizens or residents 88 times (PDF) since 2003, the government, in a stunning example of arse covering, is about to grant the GCSB the right to intercept the communications of New Zealanders in its role as the national cyber security agency, rather than examine the role the GCSB should play and then look at the laws. There has been strong criticism from many avenues. The bill is being opposed by Labor and the Greens, but it looks like National now have the numbers to get this passed. Of course, the front page story is all about the royal baby, with this huge erosion of privacy relegated to a small article near the bottom of the front page. Three cheers, the monarchy is secure, never mind the rights of the people. More bread and circuses anyone?"
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New Zealand Government About To Legalize Spying On NZ Citizens

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 22, 2013 @08:10PM (#44356705)

    --A concerned Hobbit.

  • by WillAffleckUW (858324) on Monday July 22, 2013 @08:10PM (#44356707) Homepage Journal

    But, hey, that doesn't stop the UK, Canada, Britain, or Germany from doing the same thing in violation of their Constitutions, either.

    • by iggymanz (596061) on Monday July 22, 2013 @08:23PM (#44356791)

      sad news for you, the UK does not have a constitution; anything that Parliament makes law goes

    • by master5o1 (1068594) on Monday July 22, 2013 @08:33PM (#44356855) Homepage

      What NZ Constitution are you talking about?

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 22, 2013 @08:53PM (#44357003)

        New Zealand has constitutional documents (The Treaty of Waitangi, The New Zealand Bill Of Rights Act etc) just not a single Constitution because we copied England's system.
        HAVING a constitution would be a good idea, then we could entrench things like protection from being spied on, environmental protection (including not mining conservation land) etc... Although we'd probably need to do something to stop the people like the current government from editing it under """urgency""".

    • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Monday July 22, 2013 @10:07PM (#44357455)

      "But, hey, that doesn't stop the UK, Canada, Britain, or Germany from doing the same thing in violation of their Constitutions, either."

      Why are you excluding the United States? The US government has been doing its own astounding circumventions of our Constitution as well.

      Take just for one very relevant example: the illegal, retroactive immunity granted telcos for illegally allowing the government to listen in on your communications.

      ---
      "No bill of attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed." -- U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Sec. 9.

      • I think they were just sticking to first-world countries. It would take too long to include every petty third-world dictatorship in that list.

    • by stenvar (2789879) on Monday July 22, 2013 @10:33PM (#44357625)

      But, hey, that doesn't stop the UK, Canada, Britain, or Germany from doing the same thing in violation of their Constitutions, either.

      Their constitutions/laws generally have fewer restrictions than US laws, and NSA-like spying has been commonplace in Europe.

      http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/how_they_do_it/2006/02/wiretapping_europeanstyle.html [slate.com]

      The outrage in the US is over the fact that the NSA and the president are trying to get around the letter and intent of the Constitution and the law. In many other countries, it's more a policy issue, not a question of legality.

      • Yes, warrentless wiretapping is a problem. (I'll not talk about Britain here)

        But spot the difference between allowing police to track specific phones for investigations and the NSA recording all communications for everyone, forever.

        The police can be held accountable. There is a paper trail of who accessed what and how often. These stats are made available. That's the difference.

        Yes, the Data Retention Directive is problematic, and we should push to limit the storage time limit to 2 weeks. The fight against

        • by stenvar (2789879)

          But spot the difference between allowing police to track specific phones for investigations and the NSA recording all communications for everyone, forever.

          Oh, there's indeed a big difference.

          The US situation used to be that the only way to wiretap US citizens in the US was with a specific court order; the NSA and CIA were not permitted to do it. That was based on Constitutional protections. The uproar is over the NSA violating this.

          European nations never had such protections in the first place. Many nationa

    • by houghi (78078)

      I am happy that soon they will not be doing the spying illegally anymore.
      The spying will be legal. I hope that many other countries will follow this example.

      Perhaps for the USofA, who like wordplay and say "combatant" because it makes it possible to keep them for forever and a day, we could use a word like "Curiosity" instead of "Spying".

      Yes, "Curiosity" sounds double plus good. Let me try that in a sentence "The department of Truth handles all Curiosity." Yep,. Sounds great. Please make it so.

  • Ashamed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 22, 2013 @08:15PM (#44356739)

    I've been a Kiwi all my life and have had some bad moments, and some moments when I'm damn proud to be one.

    This however, is the first time I'm outright ashamed.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jemmyw (624065)

      I've been a Kiwi for about 18 months (do you get to adopt the nomenclature? Alright NZ citizen). You take the ups with the downs, we just legalised gay marriage, an up in my opinion. This is a down. I don't think many here care about this issue. On the up side though I think most people view our security service as somewhat inept blunders.

      • by AK Marc (707885)
        It'd be a good topic for the fringe to take up. Have the ALCP and Pirate parties take up this as a banner issue. Get some votes away from National so that they can't do anything they want without some other party agreeing with them.
      • by Immerman (2627577)

        >On the up side though I think most people view our security service as somewhat inept blunders.

        How exactly is that an up side? I just means you get easily abusable invasive surveillance, without much realistic chance that anything beneficial will come of it.

  • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Monday July 22, 2013 @08:23PM (#44356793)

    NZ - I don't like this
    US - sorry
    NZ - won't
    US - but you must
    NZ - get stuffed
    US - ok but don't call us when China comes to your door
    NZ - oh all right

    • Re:Dialog (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 22, 2013 @09:00PM (#44357053)

      NZ is not worried about China. China is a better neighbor to us here in NZ than the USA. NZ does far more trade with China than the USA. Kiwi's general opinion of China & the Chinese is higher than the general opinion of USA & Americans. For obvious reasons, I might add.

      • Re:Dialog (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Guppy06 (410832) on Monday July 22, 2013 @09:49PM (#44357353)

        China is a better neighbor to us here in NZ than the USA

        For the Kiwis, it's not "US or China," it's "US or Fiji" or even "US or France." Most of the South Pacific (i.e. New Zealand's neighborhood) isn't a very fun place to live, and the folks in Wellington would like to keep that from happening to their own (surprisingly expansive [wikipedia.org]) corner of it.

        The Chinese really don't care who's in power in any particular non-Sinosphere country (if anybody) so long as they have buyers. In contrast, the US (and Australia and France and...) has actual people and territory at stake in the region and have a vested interest in things like local coups, fishing rights, pollution, high-seas piracy, etc.

        In that respect, the US government has been relatively consistent (for better or for worse) and has helped to establish order (for better or for worse) in the region. In that respect, the US is at least a known evil, and isn't the one currently trying to "test" nuclear weapons in American Samoa.

        • by countach (534280)

          How has the US helped establish order since helping to win WWII ?

          • by Guppy06 (410832)

            How has the US helped establish order since helping to win WWII ?

            You seem to be assuming that "establishing order" is limited to actively killing people and breaking things. Try thinking less "Pentagon" and more "Foggy Bottom."

    • by brit74 (831798)
      Is there any evidence that this is being done because of US pressure? I can imagine a number of other scenarios: New Zealand's government decided on it's own to do this (which is worrying for the sustainability of democracies in general), or maybe the US acted as a role-model but didn't actually pressure anyone. I can't help but wonder if your comment was inspired by the fact that it's in-vogue to blame the US for everything bad that happens -- and I'm not defending the US, merely questioning the pile-on
      • by AHuxley (892839)
        Re: Is there any evidence that this is being done because of US pressure?
        The US does not pressure, it allows better trade deals and more international standing if you are "good".
        The NZ SAS also get to play with quality toys and generations of NZ spies felt happy that no Soviet agent was safe in NZ.
        Re: The "blame the US for everything bad that happens" - Moscow and Washington have swapped out so many govs and protected a lot of bad groups over so many years.
        The NSA "news" has been around since the 1970
    • Re:Dialog (Score:4, Informative)

      by shutdown -p now (807394) on Monday July 22, 2013 @09:27PM (#44357213) Journal

      This has already happened, except it ended up differently from how you envision it. Specifically:

      NZ - I don't like this [wikipedia.org]
      FR - fuck off [wikipedia.org]
      US - sorry, but we need the passage rights anyway
      NZ - you guys are both dicks, go away [wikipedia.org]
      US - but you must!
      NZ - get stuffed [wikipedia.org]
      US - ok but don't call us when China comes to your door
      NZ - zomg we're so scared [wikipedia.org]

    • by mjwx (966435)

      NZ - I don't like this
      US - sorry
      NZ - won't
      US - but you must
      NZ - get stuffed
      US - ok but don't call us when China comes to your door
      NZ - oh all right

      Erm, UnZud tore up the ANZUS treaty years ago (ANZUS = Australia, New Zealand, United States mutual defence pact). They haven't relied on US military support in decades.

      Really it's just the AnUS treaty now.

  • Apologies (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hairy1 (180056) on Monday July 22, 2013 @09:07PM (#44357091) Homepage

    As a New Zealand Citizen I would like to offer my deep heartfelt apologies to every other country of the world for expanding the powers of our secret police and destroying and semblance of privacy in New Zealand. I offer these apologies as this is not who we are as a society. Our Government is not representing the will of it's citizens, as was indicated in a recent poll which indicated that a vast majority of New Zealanders did not support the legislation. It is legislation being put in place to wipe out the balance of power; to enable tyranny in our country. They cannot permit people to stand up to them as Kim Dotcom did. This is not the example I want to make to the world. We pride ourselves on our integrity and independence. This legislation is submission to power, it is a disgrace and a treason against the national interest.

    • by Maelwryth (982896)
      (Also as a New Zealand citizen) I would like to add an apology for the rule of law going to hell here. The GCSB was caught out spying illegally on NZ citizens [wikipedia.org]. Nobody was charged, no-one was even fired. We have become a country for the rich and by the rich, subject to foriegn powers. Our property is being sold out from underneath us, our laws have become mutable. There is little responsibilty in government, and even less in the corporate sector [nzherald.co.nz].
      • We have become a country for the rich and by the rich, subject to foriegn powers. Our property is being sold out from underneath us, our laws have become mutable. There is little responsibilty in government, and even less in the corporate sector [nzherald.co.nz].

        Well, seriously, you New Zealanders did vote for this (like every other country facing this same shit). Face the music or change it at the next election. Of course sheeple will just continue to vote for whoever the rich tell us to vote for (via their mass media channels).

    • If you really don't support the legislation, call for a vote of no confidence or referendum. You have a similar parliamentary system to England, right?

      You can literally throw out your current government, if you wish.
    • by kheldan (1460303)
      No, you have our apologies, for being a world power that is, through it's actions and poor choices, setting a bad example for the other nations of the world. I always believed that the United States stood for freedom, democracy, and a high overall standard for how it's citizens (and would-be citizens, for that matter) are treated with regards to their basic human rights. As it turns out that United States never existed, it was just a fanciful dream (read as: "A pack of lies") that we were encouraged to beli
  • Bread and circus (Score:5, Insightful)

    by countach (534280) on Monday July 22, 2013 @10:59PM (#44357755)

    The real bread and circus is not the royal baby, it is the war.. the "war on terror". George Orwell was a genius in predicting that a perpetual war would be the excuse to bring in the police state. Even 10 years ago, I thought Orwell's idea of the perpetual war was a bit fantastic. Now it is so on the money, it is scarily prescient.

  • Make sure your elected officials get a hold of the Administration 12 Stasi operations manual. No sense re-inventing the wheel.

  • New Zealand seems as good a place as any to make a stand. The unhalted expansion of the surveillance state reminds me of a malignant tumor: if left untreated it will consume the entire host.

    Is there a foundation where donations can be sent to accomplish one of the following goals:

    * Raise awareness of the situation among the NZ populace with a no-holds-barred propaganda campaign
    * Shame the politicians involved
    * Fund the relevant opposition parties

    Let NZ be the high water mark.

  • "PANEM ET CIRCENSES!" (Bread and games) BARBARII STVPIDI...

Practical people would be more practical if they would take a little more time for dreaming. -- J. P. McEvoy

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