01 August 2013

OK. Let's kill that GCSB Bill!

Andrea Vance has good reason to be 'mad as hell' over the intrusion into the privacy of her phone records. And now, thanks to Ed Snowden and the Guardian, it turns out that we all have something to be 'mad as hell' about. All online chats, emails and browsing data are being drag-netted by the NSA, according to a presentation leaked by Snowden. Essentially, the evidence is now out there that, as we suspected, we are, in effect, all being spied upon all of the time.
You can view a training/briefing presentation on the Guardian website concerning a programme known as 'XKeyscore.' A close look reveals that each slide is labelled 'TOP SECRET//COMINT//REL TO USA, AUS, CAN, GBR, NZL,' and the presentation is dated 2008. This strongly suggests that, at least for the last 5 years, the GCSB has had access to a drag-net internet snooping device. The 5-Eyes network, furthermore, gives each country's spy agency the ability to by-pass its own domestic legal prohibitions on spying on its own citizens by letting its foreign partner agencies do that for them. In my last post, I took a soft approach to this issue, based upon the proviso that the GCSB does not use a 'just-in-case surveillance drag-net to fish for criminal or hostile activities.'
Now that there is good evidence out there that the GCSB does have access to such technology, it's time to blow the 'time's up' whistle on the GCSB Bill and go back to basics. Peter Dunne's support for the Bill will no doubt come under much greater pressure. And the recent release of phone logs and private communications needs to be opened up to closer inspection. One anticipates some interesting debates at the Privileges Committee hearing that will inquire into the disclosure of Ms Vance's phone-call data.
Now we need also to be asking what other, possibly more intrusive, technologies the GCSB may be using, and whether they are reasonably required for the purposes of our national security.

The image below is downloaded from theguardian.com:


At 7:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

People seem to overlook that(according to Snowden) the UK(GCHQ) is being used to conduct certain types of spying where the NSA is restricted by regulations.

If the GCSB is being used in a similar way, we have real cause for concern. Perhaps the US is putting pressure on NZ to provide more value to the rest of the club?

Is it a coincidence that the heavy handed use of terrorism laws against someone accused of copyright infringement came right after Joe Biden visited NZ?

We should have judicial oversight for every request that involves spying on a New Zealand citizen.
Without transparency, abuse of power will happen...and in my opinion, already has.

At 2:37 PM, Blogger Grant Duncan said...

Thanks for that comment. I'm not sure that it's correct to say that "terrorism laws" were used on that occasion - unless you can show me otherwise.
The issue of collaboration, though, was repeated by Peter Huck in this morning's Herald: "There is also suspicion the NSA - and its Five Eyes partners - may be outsourcing domestic snooping to circumvent national prohibitions. Agencies enjoy close links. Snowden's leaks show the NSA paid the British Government communications headquarters over 100 million ($191.4 million) from 2009 to 2012 for access to, and influence over, intelligence."

PS: I welcome comments, especially if you identify yourself. After all, I do.


Post a Comment

<< Home