Thursday, July 25, 2013

Reported back

The Intelligence and Security Committee has reported back [PDF] on John Key's spy bill, and as expected, has recommended no substantive amendments. Oh, there are minor technical amendments, but the general tone is that everything was fine with the bill and that submitters raising real concerns about privacy and human rights were just silly and don't know what we're talking about. As for the sole sop to those concerns - John Banks' vaunted "statement of principles" - it is somewhat undercut by a clause immediately after it stating:

Subsection (1) does not impose particular duties on, or give particular powers to, the Bureau, the Director, or any employee of the Bureau.

In other words, it has no legal effect, and isn't even worth the toilet paper it is written on. I can't think of a better example of how little our spies, or our Prime Minister, care about our democratic values and human rights than that.

This bill is a direct attack on our democracy, which will establish the legal foundation for a US-style surveillance state in New Zealand. It cannot be allowed to pass.