Another privacy question: where to draw the line at Customs?

New Zealand Customs has released a raft of proposed changes to customs laws, which haven’t been significantly updated in more than 20 years.

It wants new powers giving them the right to demand passwords or encryption keys at the border.

“We’re looking at targeted devices, we might be looking for child objectionable material, we might be looking for weapons,” Customs Minister Nicky Wagner said.

However Thomas Beagle of the NZ Council for Civil Liberties doubted the country would be safer.

“If you really were a terrorist or a drug dealer going across the border, would you carry anything incriminating on you?” he said. “Of course you wouldn’t, you’d leave it up on dropbox or some cloud based server and come through customs with a clean laptop and phone.”

The public is being asked to give feedback on the proposed changes, which also includes giving Customs the power to order passengers to empty their pockets and increase the use of biometric information.

Giving Customs the power to access any computer coming across the border is just ridiculous.  However, if they have their suspicions, they should be able to quarantine a device while a search warrant is being organised.

We really can’t be going around digging into people’s digital lives without a probable cause that a judge can sign his or her name to.

Share your ideas of how Customs can be empowered to do a good job without throwing the baby out with the bathwater below.


– One News

TV3: Peters to win Northland

The latest 3 News-Reid Research poll shows Mr Peters with a clear lead over National’s Mark Osborne.

“We’ve got to keep on working and we’ve got three weeks to lay our message out there,” says Mr Peters.

He’s has been in politics for 40 years, while Mr Osborne’s had just four days.

“I’m a local, I’m across the communities and as I say, New Zealand First hasn’t stood a candidate here in the last three by-elections,” says Mr Osborne.

Northland was a safe National seat until Mike Sabin resigned because of “personal issues” after a police investigation.

Prime Minister John Key claimed just yesterday that Mr Peters had no chance. But voters are clearly upset they didn’t find out about the police investigation into Mr Sabin until after the election.

Asked if they should have been told, 71 percent said yes, while 20 percent said no, they shouldn’t have been told. The remaining 9 percent didn’t know.

It’s all over bar the shouting.  Winston Peters has a healthy lead over National.   Read more »

Rob Hosking at NBR on spying

So. It seems we have a spying agency which, we learned today, spies on foreigners.

If anyone is surprised, let alone shocked, by this, they really are too gentle a soul for this cruel world.

Spying on foreigners is pretty much what comes on the label when you set up a spying agency. It’s what they do.

Unless you thought David Lange’s Labour government set up the Government Communications Security Bureau to run the country’s pest destruction boards, or to play Farmville on their neat new computers, what on earth did you think the agency has been doing?

The fact GCSB is spying on “friends?” First, those friends have some rather dubious friends and matters such as money laundering of criminal and terrorist activity are key parts of law enforcement these days.

Remember when one of our “friends” performed a state sanctioned act of terrorism in New Zealand by blowing the Rainbow Warrior up?   Read more »

Su’a William Sio is a true Labour party MP: a story for every occasion

Here he is, in parliament, raging against charter schools

Talk to Associate Professor Damon Salesa of the University of Auckland, who spent 10 years in the United States and whose children attended some of the local charter schools there. He will tell you that, as far as he is concerned, charter schools are not successful, particularly in reference to minority groups, particularly in reference to low-income groups. They are not successful in the United States. How can we then expect that they are going to be successful here in New Zealand?

And yet, here he is again, at the opening of a South Auckland charter school on Wednesday   Read more »

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Face of the day

It is D’ej’a vu all over again.

Can you see a common thread running through all of today’s Face of the day’s books?

I can.

What all the books have in common is how most of the material was obtained.


Source: leaked military information


A more accurate title for the first book would be…

Other people’s business

Read more »

Word of the day

The word for today is…

xylography (noun) – 1. Wood engraving, especially of an early period.
2. The art of printing texts or illustrations, sometimes with colour, from woodblocks, as distinct from typography.

Source : The Free Dictionary

Etymology : First use: 1816. Origin: French xylographie, from xyl- + -graphie -graphy. xylo- | xyl- [before a vowel]
Origin: Ancient Greek ξύλον (ksulon, “wood”). -graphy Origin: the French -graphie inherited from the Latin -graphia, from Ancient Greek verb γράφω.

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 5

15 Drink water from your own well–share your love only with your wife.

Thursday nightCap

Riding up a one way street