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New Zealand Parliament Votes To Extend Spying Powers 148

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the not-used-for-spying-pinky-swear dept.
pinkstuff writes "Amid protests and much opposition New Zealand parliament has just passed a bill which allows the The Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) greater spying powers."
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New Zealand Parliament Votes To Extend Spying Powers

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Dear Zealanders

    Perhaps it would be wise to suggest to rename your country to Nanny Zealand or New Nannyland.

    Your fellow European

    • by psergiu (67614)

      Do you think you are not being monitored here in the Old Continent ?

      • That's a bit of a strawman argument. AC didn't say his country, whatever it is, is any better.

        If I am on fire, I still may be able to accurately identify whether or not YOU are on fire as well.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @08:26AM (#44629805)

      First they came for Bradley Manning, and I said nothing because I am not in the army.
      Then they came for Julian Assange, and I said nothing because I am not a hacker.
      Then they came for Edward Snowden, and I said nothing because I am not a defence contractor.
      Then they came for the Guardian, and I said nothing because I am not in the media.

      Then they came for me. And there were no whistle blowers left to say anything.

  • by LordLucless (582312) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @08:01AM (#44629501)

    Obviously post-Snowden, they realise how much they need to catch up to the American standard.

  • Codename? (Score:5, Funny)

    by gmuslera (3436) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @08:08AM (#44629569) Homepage Journal
    US have a lot of names for their surveillance programs, which one will be the one from New Zealand? The Eye of Sauron?
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @08:11AM (#44629627)

    For a long time, governments of modern democracies have been rather afraid of public opinion and the press, and have avoided doing things that would result in protests and opposition.

    Then at some point they realized they could bribe the press, and that the public's opinion doesn't really matter, nor does it amount to much or lead to much violence in a society of over-fed TV addicts. Today's protesters are all bark and no bite, and the powers-that-be know it full well. So they do whatever the fuck they want without even trying to be discreet about it.

    That's where we're at right now. Welcome to a new form of tyranny, in which dictators are "democrats" who resort on soothing words and the complicity of mass-media to pussify the populace and keep it in check. Violence and outright dictatorship is so yesteryear...

    • by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmh AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @08:42AM (#44630017) Journal

      I wonder if it had something to do with better security at public events and better investigative techniques. As recently as around WW1 it was common for unpopular politicians to be assassinated and the killer could get away with it without too much trouble. Over time it became harder to kill politicians and get away with it, until we're in today's situation where there are anti-sniper teams around these appearances, the buildings the politicians reside in are armored and it's practically impossible. They're safer from the angry masses than the 1700s French aristocracy could have ever dreamed of. They have nothing to fear.

      • Assassination isn't part of the democratic process.

        • It certainly shouldn't be, but maybe it was acting as a hackish fix for a very flawed democracy and giving a better outcome than the system would have had without it. Now we have no way to address overwhelming public disapproval, especially in the face of limited alternatives (another big flaw in current democracies).

          • If public disapproval truly is overwhelming rather than rhetorical, it can either be fixed at the next election or by recall election (if available). If you want to try to portray assassination as a legitimate tool of redress in a democratic system you should probably stop complaining about "rule of law" issues.

            Democracy is known to be a flawed system of government, it is the worst, other than all the rest.

        • by RevDisk (740008)
          You must not be familiar with the democratic process or history.
          • You must not be familiar with the concept of voting, and the law.

            • by whoever57 (658626)

              You must not be familiar with the concept of voting, and the law.

              You must not be familiar with how the 2-party state really works.

              • You must not be familiar with how literal blood feuds work. That is no way to run a country. If you think it will be an improvement, you are sadly mistaken. You've been carried away by rhetoric into the fever swamp.

        • by kilfarsnar (561956) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @08:59AM (#44630231)
          Yeah, but we don't have a democratic process. I'm not sure about New Zealand, but the US is a plutocracy now.
          • A plutocracy? I didn't catch that. What is the minimum income level to vote now?

            • by Tim99 (984437) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @09:51AM (#44630925)
              Plutocracy means the wealthy are the rulers. You do not have any realistic chance of putting up a candidate who is not wealthy in their own right, or does not represent the wealthy. America the greatest democracy that money can buy.
            • A plutocracy? I didn't catch that. What is the minimum income level to vote now?

              Theres a minimum income level to be voted for; have to pay for the advertising. Its not cheap.

          • by pinkstuff (758732) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @01:28PM (#44633951)

            OP here. New Zealand has a Proportional Representation [wikipedia.org] based governement. This makes it less of a two horse race as every vote counts. Quite minor parties will have representation in government. There are also quite small spending caps for campaigning leading up to elections. For the most part it works quite well, and I still believe it is one of the most truely democratic countries.

            This is what makes all of this so much worse, it is the first time in living memory there has been such strong public opposition to a bill and it has been passed anyway. A recent poll suggests 89% of New Zealanders oppose the bill [3news.co.nz].

            There is more than meets the eye here, the way the Prime Minister is forcing this through is very fishy to me, it seems like he is being pushed into it. Here is a quote from a recent press conference:

            “Prime Minister, numerous legal jurors have informed us publicly that they disagree with you wholeheartedly, that you are taking broad powers, which would allow you to invade privacyand you are saying that all those people are wrong” a journalist said to Key. “Correct,” the Prime Minister said before immediately interrupting the rest of the question by asking, “Is this a question buddy?”

            So, the Human Rights Commission, the Law Society [stuff.co.nz] and the general population don't want the bill to pass, and yet it does (just).

            • by alexo (9335)

              What prevents an opposition party from promising to revoke that law if they win the elections?

            • by Maelwryth (982896)
              I think it may be worse than that. The debate was purely based around email, giving an available back down position of saying 'not email' but leaving in everything else. Our publicly owned power companies are being sold off, firstly under the excuse of the financial crisis and now another one......for what? We are forecast to hit 5% growth. Post crisis just about every bank in NZ has had record profits, post the Chistchurch earthquake both the rebuilder and the largest insurer in NZ have posted record profi
      • by jez9999 (618189)

        They have nothing to fear.

        But plenty to hide. :-)

        • Meh, they only hide things that would cause annoying and time-consuming public outrage. It's a convenience thing.

    • by Type44Q (1233630)

      Then at some point they realized they could take over the press, and that the public could be manipulated more effectively than ever before

      FTFY.

    • by ISoldat53 (977164)
      "When in the course of Human events......"
    • by davecb (6526)

      This is what Plato wrote about, and the Romans invented a cool variant on: "bread and circuses". The latter led to / supported tyranny, the Empire.

      Plato observed a cycle in Greek city-states: aristocracy to timocracy, to an oligarchy, to a democracy, to tyranny and thence back to aristocracy.

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      For a long time, governments of modern democracies have been rather afraid of public opinion and the press, and have avoided doing things that would result in protests and opposition.

      When would that have been, exactly? The first US president to shove an unpopular policy (a whiskey tax) down the throats of the masses was George Washington - leading to one of the 2 times in US history that an American president has actually commanded troops as president. The French revolutionary governments were so unpopular that they decided to scrap the whole thing and put Napoleon in charge. The Italians, Germans, and Romanians tried it in the 1920's and bungled it so badly that many thought the fascis

      • by Anonymous Coward
        In order to become president of Iran, a candidate has to be accepted by the unelected ayatollahs. In order to become president of the US, a candidate has to be accepted by the unelected Wall St tycoons. How different are those systems, really?

        The difference is that one only appears to be true because the voters make it true. American voters are lazy. Lazy in how they vote, lazy in their political understanding and lazy in how they spend their dollars. This allows corruption to continue. I don't believe th
    • by citizenr (871508)

      Today's protesters are all bark and no bite

      Not everywhere, protests in France often turn into riots for example.

    • by Maelwryth (982896)
      Interesting. I have just asked around the table who was able to watch videos at either tvnz news [tvnz.co.nz] or tv3 news [3news.co.nz] about the GCSB saga and found that out of three people, two had tried and neither were able to watch any of the clips. Admittedly, this is in a localised area but in my case I have been unable to watch any news video on the GCSB debate for the past two weeks. They just failed to load. Everything else seems to load fine but not videos related to the GCSB. Now I feel paranoid. It is probably a local pr
  • by sd4f (1891894) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @08:11AM (#44629629)

    Living in the first world is starting to make me feel slightly enslaved. More or less my existence is limited by what our elected overlords have deemed permissible. I think now I get the futurama quote of "I don't want to live on this planet anymore". I certainly don't like living in a state of Australia where the constitution states that the parliament can make a law for whatever reason it wishes (with a couple of minor exclusions).

    This form of representative democracy is in effect tyranny and more importantly treasonous, it is slowly relegating us to serfdom

    • by Kell Bengal (711123) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @08:25AM (#44629787)
      The real question is what are we going to do about it? I'm getting increasingly interested in the political process - I've written my MP and the opposite candidate about my views on these things. I've told them my vote is contingent on a roll-back on policies such as this (along with airport scanners).

      I'm starting with the soap box, and the ballot box will soon follow. We'll see how many boxes it takes until we see change. Part of the problem with the West is that we've lost the realisation that change is possible and is driven by public choice. We get the government we deserve, and I am damned well going to make my vote in September count.
      • The real question is what are we going to do about it? I'm getting increasingly interested in the political process - I've written my MP and the opposite candidate about my views on these things. I've told them my vote is contingent on a roll-back on policies such as this (along with airport scanners).

        All that accomplished was to push you up the list of subversives to keep an eye on. This is why Lenin and Alexander Hamilton used pseudonyms.

      • by Xarvh (1244438)

        True that.
        We all agree we have a huge problem, but we don't seem to have any way of solving it.

        What I think could work, but with lots of efforts and time, is to take back politics from below.
        Take part in your local politics, where you as an individual can make a difference: run, support a better candidate or just keep a close eye on what your representatives are doing.
        Start cleaning up there: this will make your fellow citizens feel more empowered and will hinder the careers of dishonest politicians wannabe

  • by dbIII (701233) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @08:14AM (#44629671)
    Q: Do they get a gun?
    A: No, the army has got the gun this week and it's the turn of the police next week.

    To be a bit more serious they are probably only catching up on what Australia and the US are getting out of NZ communications via the Australian company Telstra that owns most of the NZ communication networks now. Telstra have already admitted that they give US agencies access to their networks without a warrant.
    • Telstra was only ever a minor player in the NZ telecommunications market.

      And last year, they sold the entirety of their operation to Vodafone New Zealand.

      • by dbIII (701233)
        Minor? They bought the largest ISP in New Zealand and completely screwed it up so badly I had all kinds of weird DNS hassles sending email to a few companies in NZ.
        • Which ISP was that? They have never owned nor operated the largest ISP. That honour has gone to Telecom New Zealand (no relation to Telstra) for at least the past decade.
  • Al Qaeda-Trained Terrorists in New Zealand, Prime Minister Says [foreignpolicy.com]

    Earlier this month, as the United States rushed to shutter embassies in response to a terrorist threat, New Zealand's prime minister made a remarkable but largely overlooked assertion. According to John Key, there are al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula-trained individuals at large in his country.

    "In New Zealand there are people who've been trained for al-Qaeda camps who operate out of New Zealand, who are in contact with people overseas, who have gone off to Yemen and other countries to train," he told a radio program in New Zealand on Aug. 1. "Some are still offshore and some are in New Zealand."

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The only terrorists we have had in NZ were French.

      Remember the Rainbow Warrior

    • by Cenan (1892902)

      How would they know that if they don't have enough spying powers to know that?

      • Once you travel to Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia or a few other such places for any reason, you immediately become one of the most suspicious people on the planet. Few things could raise a bigger red flag. The "terrorists" are probably just middle-easterners visiting their families on vacation.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        What bugs me more is that Key's conversation with Banks is private, but anything and everything I do should not be. Why not? Because we can trust John Key, even though he's a two-faced lying probable sociopath.

    • by VortexCortex (1117377) <VortexCortex@@@project-retrograde...com> on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @08:37AM (#44629949)

      So what. Fuck 'em. Life is a bit dangerous, time to accept that and stop pissing away rights and stop jumping at every shadow the government points at. The terrorists don't actually do much damage, just spread fear; Hence the name... You're far more likely to die in an auto accident or of heart disease... Where's all the fear of automobiles and fast food? War is what causes damage, that and all the stupid fear-mongering.

      Protip: There were no WMDs. The Red Scare was just fear. A Threat Narrative is what's used to manufacture consent, it doesn't have to be truthful, just scary. The governments and media are the biggest terrorist, depending on what word you use to mean "the spread of terror to achieve political goals". So, yeah, you can't turn on a TV without seeing a terrorist. Big Fucking Deal.

      • by sl4shd0rk (755837)

        You're far more likely to die in an auto accident or of heart disease... Where's all the fear of automobiles and fast food?

        Indeed. About 3000 people have died from terrorism *since* 2001 [nbcnews.com] 10 times more people die (PDF warning) *each year* [cdc.gov] by suicide. The numbers and justifications for all this "yeahbut think of teh terroristss!!" malarkey is just that. Malarkey. Malarkey based on irrational fear, scooped up and eaten by a drama staved public.

      • Nope! Turns out, Senator McCarthy was right. There really were Communists in the State Department. But they did such a job on him that his name entered our language as a synonym for falsehood, which sadly continues yet today. When will Hollywood come out with a movie that shows the truth?
        • by Anonymous Coward

          Yeah. Maybe Dalton Trumbo can write the screenplay. I hear he's good.

      • I've been thinking about this.... the whole "scared of everything" generation.

        about 10-15 years ago the hubub was about Helicopter Parents (like mine), or maybe it was just media BS.
        Now I work for someone who is SO paranoid that she won't walk 20 feet outside our building (in a very safe area) after dark without an escort.
        I think the people who were insane about safety finally had their kids go off to college, now they've turned their insanity on the world.

        People seem to be trading everything they can't und

      • by melikamp (631205)
        You really cracked this problem. Wow. Now if only we could figure out how to explain basic facts to at least a quarter of all people in the world, we'd be set.
    • They've come for the sheep!

  • by dywolf (2673597) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @08:28AM (#44629829)

    *removes New Zealand from Top 5 places I want to retire to*

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      *removes New Zealand from Top 5 places I want to retire to*

      Have you got a working Top 5 of places which don't have this? Because I'm having a hard time thinking of them, and I'd dearly love to know. :(

    • *removes New Zealand from Top 5 places I want to retire to*

      As long as you don't mind living on an unstable piece of rock in the middle of nowhere. Honestly, it could just slide into the sea tomorrow or the Taupo supervolcano go off again and pave the whole country under volcanic ash. Again.

      Its not a place to plant long-term roots.

      • by dywolf (2673597)

        Oh it's not that bad. And it's a good sight better than the yearly tornado season I live with now.
        Actually I'd love to retire to a small farm. In NZ, or some other such place. Such as: http://img.scoop.co.nz/stories/images/0908/canterbury_plains_2.jpg [scoop.co.nz]
        And NZ is at the top of the list because it's got all the climates I like and enjoy, and in such a small area, so can easily get to em. And it's got interesting critters.

        • Oh it's not that bad. And it's a good sight better than the yearly tornado season I live with now.
          Actually I'd love to retire to a small farm. In NZ, or some other such place. Such as: http://img.scoop.co.nz/stories/images/0908/canterbury_plains_2.jpg [scoop.co.nz]
          And NZ is at the top of the list because it's got all the climates I like and enjoy, and in such a small area, so can easily get to em. And it's got interesting critters.

          Tornado season isn't going to wipe out almost all life and make the place uninhabitable for decades, perhaps centuries.

          Christchurch is still in deep shit and that wasn't even a very big quake.

  • It makes you wonder? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kurt555gs (309278) <kurt555gs@ovi.cSLACKWAREom minus distro> on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @08:41AM (#44630001) Homepage

    Who does all this spying serve? Really. Who?

  • by meta-monkey (321000) on Wednesday August 21, 2013 @08:43AM (#44630033) Journal

    Can we just pass a law already that everybody has to walk around naked except for an always-on camera that sends its feed directly to government servers?

    Well, not "everybody," of course. That would be ridiculous. Our wise government officials should be exempt from this law as their privacy is critical for national security.

  • I didn't know all of those sheep [stats.govt.nz] were so interesting that they warranted expanded surveillance.

  • by fnj (64210)

    New Zealand. Land of SHEEP.

    Look, I know it's not fair; we haven't had time to see what the backlash might be yet; and my own country is controlled by the same kind of vile fascist animals and is not in open revolt. But you didn't expect me to miss the obvious opening did you?

  • If it's a real representative government, the average folks of NZ could band together and stop this. Same goes for the USA. Instead of yelling about it, people need to take action and continue yelling about it.
  • I'm Canadian, but I speak on behalf of those who live in any representative democratic political system.

    This is just about enough. It's one thing to have a representative democratic form of government, but laws should not be passed that the majority do not want - and it shouldn't require a monumental effort to overturn. Apathy is too easily leveraged by those with less than honourable intentions.

    Representative democracies were instituted for a number of fundamental and practical reasons, including the assum

  • by Anonymous Coward

    get out of New Zealand and never look back, glad I did.

    Cost of living is stupid, most jobs are underpaid, the public health system is a joke, the goverment has gone on a 'compliance' crusade adding even more layers of inefficiency to make sure it's citizens stay 'safe' and can keep feeding the governments ever increasing appetite for tax dollars. 15% sales tax on **everything** anyone? $9/gallon gasoline? Over inflated house prices around 5 to 7 times the average income? High interest rates? You're welcome

    • Isn't New Zealand still #1 as they've been for decades? or in the top 2 spot anyhow.

      5-7 times the average income for a house? that isn't so bad.
      $46k in the USA x 5 = $230k

      Electric cars are long overdue... largely delayed due to the cheapo gas in the USA - the largest consumer of cars. 15% sales tax is a bit much... must discourage over consumption... but shifting it to income wouldn't be that popular either... it would be less regressive. Here I was thinking NZ was some left wing Utopia or something; gues

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