Monday, July 29, 2013

There is an alternative

Here we go: John Key has said there is no alternative to mass-surveillance of all our phone calls and emails to protect the New Zealand public:

However, when pressed over who has rights over such metadata, Mr Key said: "Well, I think in certain circumstances, the Government, if it's collecting that data for the purpose of trying to understand whether something untoward is taking place.

"For the most part, the individual obviously owns it, because you understand through your own phone bills or your own emails who you communicate with, what, where, and how and why. But obviously there are circumstances, and this is where the touchstone is or where the dilemma is, what is the demarcation line between the right of the Government or its agencies to look at information vis-à-vis the privacy of an individual.

"And my view is that we've got the balance about right, because the alternative here would be either we don't collect this data at all."

(Emphasis added)

Of course, there is an alternative: collect such data only from people who are actually suspected of doing "something untoward", on probable cause with judicial review. This is exactly what we demand for the police to be able to invade our privacy and rummage through our private lives, and we should demand no less from our spies.