Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: A GCSB Roundup

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  • Chris Waugh,

    by which I mean my daughter's outside with her grandmother, and it looks like a huge storms is about to hit, so gotta run,

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    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.

    Yes, I've dealt with Sean -- nice guy. I'm sure he's not an intelligence operative. But also: public committee hearing, public figure, every man and his media dog taking pictures. It's not exactly spying.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22817 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew E,

    The sound on the recording is f-ing awful. It's a disgrace that there isn't a proper, high-quality recording and transmission of select committee sessions. UK Select Committees have had this for years. Is NZ democracy really run on the smell of an oily rag?

    174.77 x 41.28 • Since Sep 2008 • 200 posts Report Reply

  • Gary Young, in reply to Andrew E,

    Is NZ democracy really run on the smell of an oily rag?

    Regrettably I fear it is currently being run by an oily prime minister...

    Glenfield • Since Jun 2013 • 39 posts Report Reply

  • Juha Saarinen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Let me chime in and vouch for Sean who is as you say a nice guy and very approachable.

    Since Nov 2006 • 529 posts Report Reply

  • slarty, 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 have often thought this PM would have been wise to select a more experienced substitute given his lack of experience

    Since Nov 2006 • 290 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to slarty,

    I have often thought this PM would have been wise to select a more experienced substitute given his lack of experience

    LOL

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Juha's story for Australian IT quotes the GCSB as saying the failure of their website and its backup was "an internal issue". I'm not entirely comforted by the fact that the website of our "mastery of cyberspace" agency can just fall over to that degree.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22817 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Key didn’t chair today. Tony Ryall did. Ryall was marvellously courteous and totally bored. Asked no questions. Norman was most active, then Shearer. Banks actually asked a helpful question of one submitter.

    My submission was pretty close to [[http://vital.org.nz/entry/title/10_minutes_on_the_gcsb_bill|this]. I fell to temptation and led with “long time listener first time caller.”

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Will de Cleene, in reply to Gareth Swain,

    The excellent Thomas Beagle has posted his oral submission here.

    Raumati • Since Jul 2011 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • "chris",

    I listened a couple of times, I still haven’t found

    “but what if there was a bomb and some children died?”

    I’ve located “what if there was a bomb at an airport and some people die?” (11:20). Beagle says [roughly] “and your hypothesis would be that the GSCB can’t stop that or hadn’t stopped that in the past?”, is that the bit?

    location, location, locat… • Since Dec 2010 • 250 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to "chris",

    Beagle says [roughly] “and your hypothesis would be that the GSCB can’t stop that or hadn’t stopped that in the past?”

    And a very good point that is, too.

    I find that governments are using the threat of terrorism to massively expand their authority and erode our freedom which seems to have put us onto a path towards a kind of "fascism by stealth". We need to stop that, and the politicians need to be reminded of Mr Beagle's point every time they start muttering about terrorism and new laws and new powers needed to stop it. I mean, last I heard, blowing people up and killing them is murder, and it's always been the job of the police to stop it happening if they can, and when they can't, prosecute the murderers, and they've always done a fairly good job of that since long before the GCSB even existed...

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    And a very good point that is, too.

    He went on to point out (I paraphrase) that by the same logic you could say "that terrorist bombing could have been prevented if only we'd had a surveillance camera in every home". Avoiding risk isn't an absolute. We actually have to make decisions about what we are prepared to allow to avoid risk.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22817 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    We actually have to make decisions about what we are prepared to allow to avoid risk.

    Yes, and what we are prepared to endure, as well. Abstinence is a fail-safe form of birth control, for example.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • "chris", in reply to Chris Waugh,

    I find that governments are using the threat of terrorism to massively expand their authority and erode our freedom

    I can’t agree more, I’d even suggest that erasing western privacy could potentially end up provoking more terrorism than previously existed. Sure Big Brother cleans up in that novel but in Orwell’s ’45 effort the pigs are ousted.

    One thing about the CCPs approach is that their complete disregard for personal privacy and freedom of speech is seldom discussed or justified by them talking up their enemies. Sure there’s the odd soundbite, but generally they don’t seem to want to give the Barmecidal threats too much exposure, because people might start asking why these groups want to destroy a Government. It’s just implicitly expected that all communication will be monitored, and that which falls outside ‘guidelines’ will be censured. People get packed into vans and disappear for weeks, I even know of one case at an old friend’s work place where the manager spent three weeks in one of those jails for ineffectively moderating a web forum. It’s a slippery slope.

    In light of this, in my time here I’ve made a decent enough effort to moon the Chinese internet police as much as possible, because, if the powers that be want in on your privacy, you might as well give them the full monty.

    The ethical and moral corruption, that which has motivated our own Government to subvert our society’s peaceful and transparent values in order to commence spying on its own people both at home and abroad, is the most wanton provocation of domestic terrorism that our country has been party too for many a year.

    Thanks for paraphrasing Russell, I’m wondering if we should all chip in to get Scoop a decent audio setup.

    location, location, locat… • Since Dec 2010 • 250 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to "chris",

    I've been resisting the urge to bring in the China comparison, but now that it's here.... What disturbs me is the two distinct ways in which the freedom/security balance is being renegotiated in China and "the West". In China it's more the people, in particular the nascent civil society among the urban middle classes and the frequent open rebellion against local government/Party abuses in the rural areas, forcing the government/Party to relax and open up more space and more freedom. In "the West", including New Zealand, it looks a lot like the ruling classes using the threat of terrorism and more generally instability, insecurity and mayhem to bully the people into accepting ever tighter restrictions on civil liberties. One of those two renegotiations strikes me as being the right way to go, the other strikes me as being definitely wrong and something we must resist. I think I've made it clear enough which, in my view, is which, and I think it's pretty clear we agree.

    And you just reminded me of how us foreign teachers at my school in Changsha back in '99-2000 would sit in one of our apartments of a Friday evening with a few brews bellowing "Mao was a sheep shagging peasant!" on the assumption, and almost in the hope, that our apartments were bugged. If anybody was listening, they either didn't understand, didn't care, or agreed - and I remember people down there being very happy to say out loud in public that they hated Mao.

    By the way, by "those jails", do you mean 劳改/reform through labour or the black jails? Cos if you mean the black jails, I was quite surprised when I had to go to the labour bureau 10 days ago - the labour bureau handing foreign experts and employees in Beijing happens to be right next door to the State Letters and Visits Bureau, and so the street outside is lined with unhappy people trying to right whatever wrong done to them back home, and every previous time I've been down that way, there have also been plenty of police, procuratorate, judiciary and other obviously official vehicles with non-Beijing licence plates - it used to be a pretty good place to check your knowledge of the abbreviations of the provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities - but this time there was not one single out of town vehicle visible.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    Thanks for paraphrasing Russell, I’m wondering if we should all chip in to get Scoop a decent audio setup.

    Bradley Ambrose could give them a transmitting microphone. Probably hasn't been used for a while.

    Oh wait......John Banks was at the Select Committee table wasn't he? Was Bradley around too?

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1590 posts Report Reply

  • "chris", in reply to Chris Waugh,

    To the best of my knowledge, in both those cases I mentioned they were sent to the black jails, midnight wake up drills and all. With regards to the renegotiation, I’m always a little dumbstruck at how gracefully middle New Zealand seems to accept these little erosions. Even the briefest glance at SIS exposé, indicates that our Pacific dream may have gone ever so slightly awry. Or been Shanghaied.

    location, location, locat… • Since Dec 2010 • 250 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Ross Mason,

    Oh, you mean this?

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to "chris",

    Or been Shanghaied.

    Huh, yeah. I'm not being entirely facetious when I say: Oh, you lot want to know what it feels like to live under the kind of regime this government is proposing? Just come spend a few months in China VPN-free.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Kirk Alexander,

    Just de-lurking to thank Russell and the team very much for a wonderful, thought-provoking season of Media3. I will be eagerly awaiting the next season, while coming up with something else to do on Saturday mornings. Cheers!

    Chch • Since May 2013 • 17 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Kirk Alexander,

    +1. and do stay around here, Kirk.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19705 posts Report Reply

  • "chris",

    [Danger Alert]

    Early nomination for word [phrase] of the year comes from Public Address reader Rodney Hide:

    "we live in a dangerous world"

    location, location, locat… • Since Dec 2010 • 250 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to "chris",

    Oh, the stupid. "It's really bad, and you have to trust me because I know how bad it is."

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to "chris",

    The GCSB blow-up seems to be a litmus test for how libertarian a libertarian really is. We already know that Rodney and Whaleoil are in the 'nothing to hide, nothing to fear' camp.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5429 posts Report Reply

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