Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Against spying on New Zealanders

Yesterday the Kitteridge report into the GCSB was released, revealing that they'd unlawfully spied on a hell of a lot more people than just Kim Dotcom. Despite a clear prohibition in law, they had thought that they could spy on New Zealanders when asked to by the SIS. The report recommended "clarification" of the law.

Today we learned what John Key wants that "clarification" to be: legalising their unlawful practices so they can spy on New Zealanders:

Prime Minister John Key has suggested a law change would allow the Government Communications and Security Bureau (GCSB) to spy on New Zealanders.


[I]n China last night, Key told media the GCSB was the logical agency to monitor New Zealanders "for a variety of reasons", but the law would need to be clarified to allow that.

"GCSB should be able to provide agency support for NZSIS under the right conditions and with the right oversight," Key said.

He confirmed that would mean spying on New Zealanders.

Key promises that this will come with "better oversight". Even with that promise - which given the "oversight" demonstrated so far by him is not worth the bits it is written in - this is not a bargain we should accept. We have been told for decades that the GCSB does not spy on New Zealanders. We have been reassured with an absolute prohibition in law. And it should be retained. There is a name for countries who spy on their own citizens: they are called tyrannies. We should not take this step towards becoming one.