You do need to factor in a heavily-armed raid on your family and home by a few dozen men in black and some helicopters landing in your yard unannounced. Bonus points for wife in late stages of pregnancy.
The only reason I didn't factor that into the privacy breach was that I think that would have happened regardless of whether the GCSB had spied on him - that was the police action, not the GCSB action.
The illegality was not stuffing up the call as to what GCSB could do, the illegality was doing it – that will be one or more of the GCSB operatives, not their lawyer.
Okay, I can see how that would work (would it make a difference if their lawyer was in-house rather than external?), but in many ways that makes it worse, because it means that the "operative(s)" is arguably even less to blame. People can quite rightly argue that the GCSB should have known the correct interpretation of its own act and the Immigration Act, but I would have thought it reasonable for any employees who might have been involved in the actual intercepting to think they could rely on senior management to look after what was legal to do and what wasn't.
I know that comes close to the "I was just obeying orders" argument, but I do think there are orders of degree involved. If Dotcom and his co-accused hadn't yet gained permanent residency, the interception would have been legal. There's quite a difference between that and the grosser abuses of human rights which apply to all regardless of citizenship, residency etc.
And would it mean that if (not saying this is what happened, just if) senior management or their lawyer or whoever had decided it was convenient to interpret the acts so that Dotcom could be spied on, and were aware there was also a strong argument the other way (as can happen with the law), and told the lower-level employees that he was a safe target , that the senior management are then exempt from prosecution (because they didn't do the intercepting) but the lower-level employees who actually did the intercepting get prosecuted? That doesn't seem the slightest bit fair.
Graeme, if what the GCSB did was criminal as well as illegal, what does that mean for individual GCSB employees? You note that what they did may be criminal even if they are blameless.
Basically, I'm thinking of whoever the poor legal person was at GCSB who made the wrong call, and wondering what will happen to them.
Of course I'm thinking of Dotcom too, who was wronged, but in the end I think this wrong will only help him. If GCSB reports were limited to where he was, and whether he knew the police were about to arrest him, they would have made little difference to whether he was arrested, or the manner of his arrest. Because of this illegality, I would guess his likelihood of extradition has just reduced further. And given the PM's apology for it, I can't see him being extradited at all now. So the illegality of the GCSB interception is more to his benefit than his detriment (of course, he may feel that the invasion of his privacy is worse than being extradited to the US, but somehow I doubt it, or at least I know which I'd prefer, if it were me.)
So the way I see it is: on balance, Dotcom is better off for the illegal intercept; Key is better off for it too (because now there's a better excuse for not making the unpopular move of extraditing Dotcom, which the govt would get the flak for despite it being a court decision, and he gets to blame it on that popular bogey, the spooks, rather than admit the police went too far). The GCSB as an organisation deserves some consequences for acting illegally, but I'm not sure that individual employees do if they acted in good faith, which is why I'm curious as to who if anyone would be charged with any offence?
I wasn't trying to be condescending, I was trying to inject a little lightness, so sorry if I toned it wrong.
However, I do object to be told I'm swapping one bedtime story for another. Wellington is a small place, with its own communities. I know a number of people who work or have worked at GCSB. I went to university with some of them. I base my description of the people working there on that rather than on my imagination.
I see news reports now out saying GCSB were assured by OFCANZ that Dotcom and Van Der Kolk were not NZ residents. Perhaps they should have a better system for checking, but I don't blame them for accepting OFCANZ's word.
Comments on the Stuff thread are saying "how could GCSB not have noticed Dotcom's residency fireworks party"?
1. GCSB are a foreign intelligence agency, and therefore, as is appropriate, pay only as much attention to local events and affairs as any individual employee may notice in their day to day life.
2. Dotcom funded the New Year's eve fireworks in January 2010
3. GCSB weren't interested in Dotcom until late 2011 (http://www.stuff.co.nz/technology/7723520/Spies-given-wrong-info-on-Dotcom-papers says the spying ran from 16 December 2011 to 20 January 2012). GCSB is based in Wellington.
I was living in Wellington in January 2010. I doubt I would have remembered in late 2011 that Dotcom had sponsored Auckland's 2010 New Year fireworks, let alone that he did so to celebrate gaining residence.
I know it's natural to be suspicious of spies, but really guys, they're not 007 or Alias or Men in Black or Moulder and Scully or Reilly or any of the pop-culture representations of the business, they're just a bunch of civil servants doing their jobs and going about their lives.
Yep. I think Romney voters will think (the US slang equivalent of) "Too bloody right, half the population are just a bunch of scroungers, living off MY taxes". i.e. so long as they consider themselves to not belong to the 47%, they're perfectly happy for Mick to describe other people that way.
I had a quick look at UNHCR data and it looks like we’ve gone from circa 4,000 in 2000 to circa 2,000 last year. I think you have a point.
Raw numbers on their own are not necessarily as telling as at first glance. The refugee services website says we take on average 750 refugees for resettlement (aka quota refugees) per year, which is the same as it was back in 1996 when I was studying in the field. Whether that number is right could certainly be debated, but it doesn't have much to do with asylum seeker numbers.
Asylum claims tend to vary depending on what the world refugee situation is in any given year. Many refugees are not looking for immediate resettlement beyond the first country they've fled to. They go to neighbouring countries in the hope that the situation at home will improve soon so they can go home. So how many asylum seekers turn up in New Zealand varies widely from year to year depending on the level, type, and location of the world's conflicts; and asylum seeker trends (the desirability of countries as a destination waxes and wanes from year to year depending on economics as well as immigration policies); probably more than our own attempts to keep them from reaching NZ shores uninvited.
The 750 we take for resettlement (aka Quota refugees) is therefore a better indicator of our general global citizenship responsibility-shouldering than the number of asylum claims made or approved.
Ah, indeed, the kiwi accent. My most recent fun was asking for a “tin trup tuckit” at a convenience store in Dublin.
To me there’s another, far less exciting story in this, and it’s in the undervaluing of transcribers and linguists in general. Either it was machine transcribed (because transcription is so little valued it doesn’t matter if a machine does it), or some poor human was being paid by the word and trying to get through it in a hurry, possibly selected for their typing speed rather than their skilled ear. Being able to interpret uncued speech, let alone speech in another accent, is an art for which not everyone has a gift or talent.
I base these assumptions on my experience of translation, which is also undervalued and increasingly underpaid, partly due to the assumption that machine translation can do most of the work. Google translate is an excellent tool, but it’s clear that too many places think the translation it gives them is good enough. Later this week I look foward to eating at a restaurant where the terrace is “flooded by the Virginia creeper”, or indoors “where ancient boxes for horses share the space on small places of intimacy.” While I really, really hope they didn’t pay someone for that, I also really wish they thought it important enough to pay someone enough to do it properly.
Ha, Patricia Bartlett! I remember my mum saying she'd sent PB her books in the hope she'd call for them to be banned, because it would be good publicity. No such luck... I don't know if that meant PB thought they were too tame, couldn't be bothered (i.e. was picking her battles), or just didn't read them.
I would say the Olympic closing ceremony was awful, but I feel I shouldn't comment because I didn't watch the whole thing. We were in a B&B in Lancashire, and I'd hoped that maybe the bad sound mixing was just the TV's sound quality, but clearly it wasn't. I wanted to turn it off after half an hour, but a junior member of the party wanted to watch more, so we suffered it up to 10pm.
But the hour that we did see? Bad, bad, awful. I think the director must have said "Yeah, man, let's have a bunch of people running round in newspaper, that'll be, like, a comment on the paparazzi and stuff. And yeah, the music, well, we've got all those musicians, just put them on in the order they said yes. And find someone else for Bowie's slot, will ya?. Oh, and we're a bit tight for time, so see if you can squash some of the songs together a bit, right? Wotcha, good to go!"
And my advice would be to get the school’s students to transcribe the data by hand. And assume it is transcribed correctly and then send it as is.
Ooh, and they could transcribe the data by hand in Māori. Or even better, draw pictures of NZ sign language! That would be fun!