Monday, July 29, 2013

A dumb idea

At the anti-GCSB protest on Sunday, one of the speakers suggested that we use the Official Information Act to effectively conduct a DDOS attack on them by asking trivial questions about toothpaste and toilet paper. This is a dumb idea. Quite apart from bringing the Act into disrepute and providing ammunition to secretive politicians wanting to reduce their accountability, it will be ineffective, for the simple reason that the people answering the requests are not the people doing the spying. You'll ruin the day of their staff counsel, but not of anyone whose activities threaten our democracy.

No, if you want to hurt the GCSB using the OIA, you need to ask smart questions, the answers to which will promote accountability. Alternatively, questions which will simply embarrass them and cause the public to view them as a wasteful organisation whose budget should be cut. Travel, expense accounts, cellphone bills, salaries, spindoctors, website costs - all of that stuff Rodney Hide pried into during his perkbusting days. None of this is remotely classified, so they can't hide behind "national security", but secretive, unaccountable organisations being what they are, some of the answers at least are likely to be "interesting".

If you're interested in doing this, you can send an OIA with a click of a button here.