Peter Dunne shows his true colours | The Jackal

23 Jul 2013

Peter Dunne shows his true colours

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

The controversial GCSB bill has the numbers to pass in Parliament after United Future leader Peter Dunne secured some significant changes to it for the price of his support.

Significant? There is nothing significant about the proposed changes to the GCSB amendment bill (PDF). Peter Dunne will effectively give his vote in support because of changes John Key was proposing anyway.

This has been a play act by Dunne all along, whereby he pretends to be concerned in order to appear centrist. He's not! By supporting the GCSB amendment bill Peter Dunne clearly displays all the hallmarks of a born to rule Tory git!

Never before has a government proposed to undermine people's right to privacy to such a degree. Never before has such contempt for our human rights been shown by elected officials.

New Zealand's domestic spy agency, the SIS, and its foreign spy agency, the GCSB, will be the subject of an independent review in 2015 and an automatic review every five to seven years after that.

What's the use in that? The GCSB has already been caught out undertaking illegal spying on New Zealand citizens and the government did nothing. So why would they move to sanction the spooks in the future? They simply won't, because their regime of mass surveillance gives them political and business advantages.

That's the real reason for the government's expansion of spying legislation. With no New Zealand prosecutions for things like terrorism or other issues the spying agencies are meant to be concerned with, what is the real reason behind this huge expansion of powers? Clearly vested interests is the obvious answer.

Prime Minister John Key said yesterday he believed that the changes addressed many of the concerns raised by submitters on the bill.

However, the vast majority of submitters to the bill and the government's most vocal political opponents beg to differ. In my opinion, the proposed changes are mere window-dressing and do nothing to ensure people's privacy rights are upheld.

Mr Key also declared yesterday that the GCSB did not engage in the mass collection of metadata and that under the bill any collection of metadata of New Zealanders would require a warrant to be approved - by himself and the Commissioner of Security Warrants.

Actually, there is no specific mention of metadata in the bill or the proposed changes and John Key is simply lying again. Saying that a warrant is required before personal information is collected is also untrue. Here's what the GCSB act states:

Warrantless interception in situations not involving the physical connection of an interception device to a network; and not involving the installation of an interception device in any place in order to intercept communications in that place.

So the GCSB can continue to collect information as long as they are not PHYSICALLY connecting any NEW interception device to a network. Being that their interception devices are already in place and wireless technology means there is no physical connection, this part of the act, which will not change, appears to be specifically worded to allow the GCSB to intrude upon people's privacy without any oversight whatsoever.

It would be great if the mainstream media didn't just take what John Key says at face value. It would also be great if government politicians actually gave a damn about people's submissions instead of just paying lip service to democracy.