Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: A GCSB Roundup

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  • Russell Brown,

    Attachment

    Here’s an embiggened version of that Incapsula error page. Just to note that it the IP address fields weren't empty, I just took them out.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18654 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh,

    In the meantime: got any work?

    I need a new teacher to start in September. Want to move to Beijing?

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 2000 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh,

    When discussing this new bill requiring intercept capability and the various services mostly physically located in North America, one of your guests, Peter Griffin, I think, raised the possibility of NZ simply walling itself off from Skype then said that that would be unthinkable. Oh no it's not. For example, I can't watch the videos in your post without switching on a VPN or similar service to burrow under or jump over the Great Firewall. No reason why NZ couldn't build it's own mini Great Firewall. And when ethnic rioting broke out in Urumqi a few years back the government of Xinjiang simply unplugged the internet.

    That censorship regime Australia tried to set up during Rudd's first go at being PM looked oddly familiar to me. Rudd certainly seemed to have learned a lot during his time in China. This current government, particularly people like John Key and Judith Collins, strike me as being the type that would quite happily do the same in NZ.

    And the proposed expansion of the GCSB's powers really worries me. I don't have a problem with them being able to assist domestic law enforcement agencies or the military where appropriate, but the powers of all these agencies need to be as tightly restricted as possible. But the government seems to be slowly edging us every closer to a police state (odd thing for somebody who's lived in China for 14 years to say?). But of course, if you've done nothing wrong, if you've got nothing to hide, then you've got nothing to worry about, right? Tell that to Arthur Allan Thomas.

    And this longer version of Paul Buchanan's recent Herald article is well worth a perusal.

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 2000 posts Report Reply

  • James W,

    Are there transcripts of those videos anywhere? The sound is so bad I'm having trouble making out what they're saying.

    Since Jul 2008 • 124 posts Report Reply

  • steve black,

    It crossed my mind that maybe the GCSB "altered" the email send to Mr DotCom to say 25 minutes instead of 15 minutes just to trip him up and show him they could. Sorry, could't help thinking it. :-)

    sunny mt albert • Since Jan 2007 • 76 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh,

    Tangentially related, but:

    A member of the US Embassy media team, Sean Gillespie, was at the hearing taking photographs of Mr Dotcom. He said later that he was there in a private capacity.

    WTF?!

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 2000 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    But of course, if you've done nothing wrong, if you've got nothing to hide, then you've got nothing to worry about, right? Tell that to Arthur Allan Thomas.

    And Richard Jewell. And the immediate family of Stephen Lawrence.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4133 posts Report Reply

  • Thomas Beagle, in reply to James W,

    Hi, you can get the Tech Liberty prepared submission from: http://techliberty.org.nz/gcsb-bill-oral-submission/

    New Zealand • Since Nov 2007 • 38 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed,

    Meanwhile in Europe, there are diplomatic firecrackers being lit. John le Carré and Frederick Forsyth couldn't make all this up even if they tried.

    * Hidden microphone found in Ecuador's London embassy
    * Snowden suspicion results in high-level diplomatic disaster
    * US in damage-repair mode as European allies demand assurances ahead of multi-billion-dollar trade talks

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4133 posts Report Reply

  • Jason Kemp,

    I seem to remember many years ago that Pakistan banned GSM mobile technology on the grounds that it could not intercept communications. GSM is encrypted and has been from the start. probably there is some work around but that seems to be an obvious example of a use case where citizens routinely communicate privately as they should.

    What I liked about this hearing is that Thomas, Michael, Jordan and others all stepped up and provided eminently sensible and reasonable rebuttals of much of the context and the wooly thinking around the current bill.

    If only the questions from the PM betrayed some sense of insight or simple understanding of the reality of the situations and scenarios.

    It very much seems that the PM and other politicians have misunderstood ( wilfully or just ignorance?) what is involved here.

    So on behalf of NZers who weren't able to travel to Wellington yesterday - thank you.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 215 posts Report Reply

  • Aidan, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    A member of the US Embassy media team, Sean Gillespie, was at the hearing taking photographs of Mr Dotcom. He said later that he was there in a private capacity.

    Surely easier to subscribe to his twitter account? As a screaming ego-maniac he posts plenty of pics of himself.

    Canberra, Australia • Since Feb 2007 • 144 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Aidan,

    Surely easier to subscribe to his twitter account?

    I'm sure you're right. But my WTF?! is two-fold: What is a US Embassy employee doing taking photos of Kim Dotcom at a select committee hearing? And why are we expected to believe he was there in a private capacity? After all, as you point out, it's not difficult to get pictures of Dotcom... But also, the US powers that be have a pretty huge interest in him... So would the US Embassy care to tell the truth, or at least come up with a more credible lie?

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 2000 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    But my WTF?! is two-fold: What is a US Embassy employee doing taking photos of Kim Dotcom at a select committee hearing? And why are we expected to believe he was there in a private capacity? … So would the US Embassy care to tell the truth, or at least come up with a more credible lie?

    It’s not a lie. Sean is a freelance reporter and photojournalist. He won a 2010 QANTAS Award, and some photojournalist thing from the time he worked at The Aucklander(?) and has also previously worked as a media person for the Green Party. He’s currently a media person for the Embassy. I’m not sure how long his contract is.

    I believe the mention in the story arises from a tweet I sent out during the hearing, where I thought it would be funny to mention that role when he was there taking photographs, which he was doing because he considered it was a good opportunity to get portfolio pics of a talking-head political scene. Stories with this sort of spice don’t come up often.

    You can view some of his photography work here http://www.seangillespie.org/ and the Herald has a supermoon pic from him in their gallery here http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/image.cfm?c_id=2&gal_cid=2&gallery_id=133713#11523822 (it’s the last one). Pretty sure that was in his own time too :-)

    I’m pretty sure the Embassy hasn’t said anything about this at all, Claire Trevett asked him via Twitter. You can follow his exploits (and frequent photographs) here: @SeanDG, and you can even read his comments on Public Address – he goes by the username Sean Gillespie.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2990 posts Report Reply

  • Aidan,

    So we're all being a bit paranoid.

    Speaking of which, Kate Dewes came across as a little prone to paranoia, but the sheer volume of apparent mail intercepts is quite shocking. Is it likely to be true?

    Canberra, Australia • Since Feb 2007 • 144 posts Report Reply

  • "chris",

    The active participation of geeks in civil society benefits everyone.

    As long as we as a society rely on a camera mic across the room, forgoing any opportunity to use audio collected on the mics in actual proximity to the speakers, the benefits will remain limited to those with tremendous patience, good hearing and a familiarity with thick New Zealand accents and borderline speech impediments.

    What was the impeccable response to the PM’s emotionally retarded “but what if there was a bomb and some children died?” question?

    location, location, locat… • Since Dec 2010 • 242 posts Report Reply

  • Aidan,

    Was Key's decision to chair that committee because he wanted control, and didn't want it going places he wanted to keep hidden?

    Canberra, Australia • Since Feb 2007 • 144 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Jason Kemp,

    GSM is encrypted and has been from the start. probably there is some work around but that seems to be an obvious example of a use case where citizens routinely communicate privately as they should.

    It's not strong encryption, though. I doubt any intelligence agency couldn't crack it. Details of how to do it have been public knowledge for years.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8305 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Aidan,

    Was Key’s decision to chair that committee because he wanted control, and didn’t want it going places he wanted to keep hidden?

    The PM is always the chair of this committee – section 7(3) of the Intelligence and Security Committee Act requires it (or allows the PM to select someone, but that has not happened since the Committee came into existence). I very much imagine Key would have preferred not to do it on this occasion.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2990 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Connelly,

    Is there a transcript of Thomas Beagle's answer to the "what if there is a bomb" question

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2012 • 20 posts Report Reply

  • Aidan, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    The PM is always the chair of this committee – section 7(3) of the Intelligence and Security Committee Act requires it (or allows the PM to select someone, but that has not happened since the Committee came into existence). I very much imagine Key would have preferred not to do it on this occasion

    Paranoia again. Thanks for the cold splash of reality Graeme.

    Canberra, Australia • Since Feb 2007 • 144 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Swain,

    I also struggled to hear what was said. Can someone point me in the direction of a transcript?

    Japan • Since Apr 2013 • 28 posts Report Reply

  • Luke Williamson,

    Yes, transcript please. The sound was crap unless you like the sound of repetitive coughing. John Key is very interesting in these instances where he feels vaguely threatened - you quite quickly see his nasty side coming through. If you question his authorité, you are immediately responsible for bombs blowing up children. Huh?

    Warkworth • Since Oct 2007 • 249 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    I very much imagine Key would have preferred not to do it on this occasion.

    Oh the poor man! having to do something he would have preferred not too. Must be why he comes across as a complete fuckwit.
    The sound is absolute rubbish and yet there are a forest of mics in the room. What? Wasnt the Scoop camera allowed to plug into the sound distribution box? The cameraman didnt have a long enough lead? Or everyone was rooted to the spot unable to do anything about it, lest they be seen to be moving a limb in the presence of this magisterial gathering?

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1171 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    I very much imagine Key would have preferred not to do it on this occasion.

    I'm sure that's true. But his actual conduct in doing it was weird and at times distasteful. He came across as baiting several submitters, and didn't seem well-briefed on key matters.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18654 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    I stand corrected and I thank you for that. Gotta run....

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 2000 posts Report Reply

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