Mass surveillance

Hide on Key, Labour and spying

The report is in and, contrary to the screaming skull’s assertions, there is not and has not been any mass surveillance of Kiwis.

Rodney Hide examines security, intelligence and Labour’s game-playing?in his Herald on Sunday column:

There’s a reason John Key remains Prime Minister, having outpolled five successive Labour Party leaders: he is smart. And not just smart: very smart.

We can see that in his choosing Sir Michael Cullen along with lawyer Dame Patsy Reddy to review our spy agencies.

Cullen is Labour through and through and his conducting of the review should help depoliticise what has become a vexed issue.

He is also smart and will make it hard for Labour to oppose the review’s findings and recommendations.

Spying is highly politically charged and is a loser for any Government – the usual transparency that ensures accountability would undermine the very purpose of the agencies.

Until recent times there has been multi-party agreement and oversight of the spy agencies, including the Greens being represented on the Intelligence and Security Committee.

The political parties have placed the cause of national security above the seeking of political advantage and the agencies have also worked hard to be transparent with the Parliamentary parties.

The system has worked.

But, politics being politics, the Government-Opposition bipartisanship broke down when the political opportunity presented itself.

Read more »

Chasing shadows in the dark

The spy watchdog will investigate allegations that New Zealanders’ communications were caught up in the GCSB’s intelligence and surveillance activities in the South Pacific.

The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Cheryl Gwyn on Thursday announced she was launching an inquiry following a number of complaints.

It follows recent claims that the GCSB was spying on some of New Zealand’s closest neighbours and passing the information on to the United States.

That prompted concerns about whether New Zealanders were caught up in the so-called “full take” collection of information in the region.

Ms Gwyn said the complaints, along with the public revelations, “raise wider questions regarding the collection, retention and sharing of communications data”.

“There is also a clear need to provide as much factual information to the complainants, and to the wider public, as is possible,” she said.

Earlier this month, responding to questions from Labour leader Andrew Little, acting GCSB director Una Jagose told parliament’s intelligence and security committee that there “isn’t anything untoward going on, or just the collection of information for collect’s sake”. Read more »

Key dances on the head of a pin: mass surveillance versus mass collection

John Key is not ruling out the GCSB being involved in the mass collection of data but insists it does not do mass surveillance.

Mr Key was asked, in that case, to explain the difference.

“They don’t undertake mass surveillance of New Zealanders. There is no, sort of, new terms here. I don’t even know what you mean by mass collection. I’ve no clue – it’s not a term I’ve ever seen, it’s not a term I’ve ever used.”

The NSA documents cited by Edward Snowden referred to the GCSB undertaking what was described as full-take collection from 2009.

Mr Key was asked whether that could mean mass collection.

“Look, I think you’re just winding yourself into knots, which are a complete waste of time.

They’re circular arguments. Go back to the simple question – do we have a warrant and is that warrant legal?”

Mr Little said Mr Key was using semantics to avoid answering straightforward questions about the actions of the spy agency. Read more »

Remember the outrage? …whoopsy no evidence, just like the so called Moment of Truth

Remember the outrage when the traitor Edward Snowden ‘revealed’ that the US had spied on Angela Merkel’s cellphone?

Seems it was just like the so-called ‘Moment of Truth’…complete rubbish.

Germany’s top public prosecutor said an investigation into suspected tapping of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone by U.S. spies had so far failed to find any concrete evidence.

Revelations by former National Security Agency employee Edward Snowden that Washington carried out large-scale electronic espionage in Germany provoked widespread outrage — particularly the allegation that the NSA had bugged Merkel’s phone.

Harald Range launched an official investigation in June, believing there was enough preliminary evidence to show unknown U.S. intelligence officers had tapped the phone, although there was not enough clarity on the issue to bring charges.

On Wednesday he said however, “the document presented in public as proof of an actual tapping of the mobile phone is not an authentic surveillance order by the NSA. It does not come from the NSA database. ? Read more »

Why aren’t the Greens standing up for civil liberties in this case?

Theft costs New Zealand retailers $2 million a day, but a new company called Eyedentify is confident its cloud-based software can help tackle the problem.

The software helps police and retailers share information about thieves so they can work out who is most likely to strike, as well as where, when and even which products they’ll target.

“We’ve been working with retailers and police across the country now for over a year,” says Eyedentify chief executive Phil Thomson. “We’ve had some really good success in identifying the repeat offenders who are hitting multiple stores and multiple retailers.”

Like the movie Minority Report, the idea is to gather information and use it to strike before a crime is committed.

That’s profiling. ?And race will be part of the profiling stats. ?And it is going to get shared around. Read more »

Someone build Paul Little a panic room

Talking about going off the deep end… ? the government has identified a clear and present danger in New Zealand related to the world-wide ISIS phenomenon, and this is how Little responds

Senator Joe McCarthy couldn’t have done better. In 1950, he invented reds under the bed when he stood up before the Ohio County Women’s Republican Club and said he had a list of more than 200 workers at the State Department who were “known Communists”.

He had no such list, but the so-called wars on communism, terror and even drugs for that matter, have always depended for international support on fostering fear of attacks at home.

Somewhere, McCarthy’s spirit was surely watching and smiling approvingly this week as John Key announced that up to 80 New Zealanders had links to Isil. Some call this organisation Isis, IS or even Daesh, but Barack Obama calls it Isil so that’s what I’ll be doing.

I thought a third term in office might have seen the PM kick back a bit and treat the electorate as intelligent individuals, but not so. In answer to the question “How gullible does he think we are?” the answer is still “Incredibly”.

He has been softening us up for this. The need to address terrorism was announced shortly after the election. Who’d have guessed, given the number of vital issues that surfaced during the campaign, that as we hurtle to the end of the year the Government would be putting most effort into finding a new flag and combating international terrorism?

Keeping in mind that Kim Dotcom, Russel Norman and the screaming left blogs backed by Mana, Harre and Harawira were hell bent on kneecapping New Zealand’s security services, and they were all resoundingly sent packing during the last election, just how gullible is Paul Little?

The answer is still “Incredibly”. ? Read more »

And people think the GCSB is a problem

surveillance cameras_1

Michael Foreman reports on the positive uses of mass surveillance

Operators monitoring Auckland’s road network often target individual vehicles and stop them by manually switching traffic lights to red.

But operators at the Joint Traffic Operations Centre (JTOC) in Auckland will only take this action if a driver is clearly drunk, JTOC control room manager David Murphy said.

“It’s amazing how long a drunk driver will stop at a red light, but they usually fall asleep within about 10 minutes,” he said.

By this time the police had usually arrived at the scene. Read more »

The Huddle


I was on The Huddle again last night with Josie Pagani.

Our topics for discussion were: