Kerre's lost it | The Jackal

18 Aug 2013

Kerre's lost it

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

I think the bill sounds sensible enough - for the GCSB to spy on New Zealanders, they must ask nicely, explain why and then be subject to a review of their investigation.

The GCSB will ask nicely to be allowed to spy on people? Get real! Kerre (Woodham) McIvor clearly hasn't bothered to actually read the damn legislation. Instead, she's relying on the government's spin to form her opinions, mainly because she's a biased right winger.

That might be fine for people who aren't paid to investigate such topics, but it isn't acceptable practice from a supposed journalist. If McIvor is going to come out in support of such controversial legislation she should at least take the time to read what is proposed.

So what is her reason to support Key's GCSB amendment bill:

I couldn't give a fat rat's bum if they monitored my house and my life, but I think it would be stupid to give a government agency unfettered, unmonitored, unlimited access to its citizens. They must be accountable for every decision they make and they must be watched closely.

If that's the best argument the right wing can come up with, the government has lost the GCSB debate big time.

This paragraph goes right back to the nothing to fear, (because she apparently has) nothing to hide argument. Giving this statement the once over lightly, it might seem reasonable...after all, if the government is merely conducting anti-terrorism surveillance, non-terrorists shouldn't be affected, right?

Wrong! The "nothing to hide" argument mistakenly suggests that privacy is something only criminals desire, when privacy is a fundamental right for all people, especially if they want to retain a functional democracy. A government that has essentially no restrictions around people's privacy will assuredly abuse that power.

Kerre then says that it's stupid to give the GCSB unlimited powers to spy on all New Zealanders, which is a bit of a contradiction in terms. If she has nothing to fear, why would she be worried about how unlimited the GCSB's spying powers are?

The bill seems like a reasonable compromise and Key was Mr Reasonable himself when it came to selling the party line and fudging the uncomfortable bits that come with running a spy agency that interacts with others around the world.

If McIvor had taken the time to read the GCSB amendment bill (PDF), she might have realised that it allows for the GCSB to spy on all New Zealanders and give that information to any foreign agency of their choosing. They don't even need a warrant to pass on that information, which is clearly not a reasonable compromise.

Another problem is that the bill is designed to get the GCSB off the hook for their illegal spying on Kim Dotcom and at least 88 other New Zealand citizens. The spooks aren't being held to account for breaching the existing law and nothing in the new legislation will ensure an increase in accountability.

Saying that Key did well by "fudging the uncomfortable bits" is really just complimenting the Prime Minister for not answering questions. Sure, he has the gift of the gab...but that doesn't mean the proposed changes in law are beneficial for New Zealand or in fact required at all to increase our nations security.

For a much more thorough report on what the GCSB amendment bill actually means, read Rodney Harrison's excellent article that was published in the NZ Herald yesterday. Now that's somebody who understands exactly what the proposed law change actually means, which is more than can be said for Kerre bloody McIvor.