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I recommend the Select Committee not proceed with this Bill in its present form. Overall it puts New Zealanders in a worse situation than in already existing legislation, in relation to both their personal privacy and their right to untrammeled freedom of expression.
The best way out of this confict of interest is for the government’s cybersecurity unit to be independent of the GCSB and any relevant GCSB personnel and equipment to be transferred to the new unit.
The use of this provision against political activists does sound alarm bells.
Traditionally, spy agencies have had two big downsides. Firstly, they have breached our privacy and secondly they have targeted, in a discriminatory manner, people with dissenting views.
According a recent Herald-Digipoll 28% of New Zealanders don’t have confidence in our intelligence services. It will be good if their concerns are elaborated in submissions to the government’s intelligence and security review, scheduled to begin next month and run through until February.
It’s common for governments to spin a story to make the indefensible sound defensible. Usually it is the government putting the best light on some commonly agreed facts.
I have launched an internet petition in the form of an apology to several Asian and Pacific Island nations for the GCSB spying on their government communications.
John Key assured us on RNZ’s Nine to Noon programme yesterday that “In terms of the Fives Eyes data bases… yes New Zealand will contribute some information but not mass wholesale surveillance.”