Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Dirty Politics

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  • Russell Brown, in reply to Dylan Reeve,

    Hacked or not, it seems inappropriate at the very least for the PM’s office to be trawling through that stuff and point Slater at the bits they thought were the juiciest (which is the claim from the book as I understand it)

    Yeah, I think that's the point.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22584 posts Report Reply

  • Jeff from Accounting, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    First hand witness - non-participant. Can give you my eye-witness account off-line if you want it. Not publishing any more online, as he'll know who i am, and I don't need that.

    Since May 2009 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Dylan Reeve,

    I disagree with Farrar on a lot, but he’s always seemed to be basically straight up. I’ve no doubt he’s received tips from political insiders (as do most political journalists as Russell pointed out) but tend to assume he’s not involved in the outright spin in the same way that Slater seems to be.

    As the Greaseball has put it himself, "I am also not a soft pudding of man like David Farrar".

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4590 posts Report Reply

  • stephen clover,

    There was no real "hacking". According to Hager's book, Aaron Bhatnagar was "sniffing" around and found the insecure data. He passed that to Slater who claimed the score himself and colluded with people in the PMs office and at National party headuarters (Ede and Simon Lusk are named) on how and when to release the information to maximise the damage to the Labour party.

    wgtn • Since Sep 2007 • 355 posts Report Reply

  • william blake,

    One is public exposure of wrongdoing the other is the wrongdoing.

    The profits would be less than one month of Slaters retainer.

    Since Mar 2010 • 376 posts Report Reply

  • stephen clover, in reply to Dylan Reeve,

    It would appear that he is deeply involved in the outright spin in the same way that Slater is.

    wgtn • Since Sep 2007 • 355 posts Report Reply

  • Dylan Reeve, in reply to Mike Kilpatrick,

    ‘Hacking’ would be a serious offence and require resignations and potential police action. Accessing an open directory because a configuration was screwed up isn’t hacking. It might be dirty politics but it’s not ‘hacking’.

    It seems the "hacking" term is pretty much unjustified, and ultimately I think will provide great leverage for the push back. I also hope that Hager has largely stuck to things that are verifiable with the content he has, because any divergence into the land of speculation and conspiracy theory will also provide great points for spin.

    Ultimately in a thing like this I think that hyperbole (which the term 'hacking' seems to be) is self-defeating. It's easily rebutted and with it goes the larger issues.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2008 • 311 posts Report Reply

  • William Leander, in reply to Mike Kilpatrick,

    Hacking' would be a serious offence and require resignations and potential police action. Accessing an open directory because a configuration was screwed up isn't hacking. It might be dirty politics but it's not 'hacking'

    I think you may find NZ law disagrees with you:


    Crimes Act Section 252

    252 Accessing computer system without authorisation
    (1)Every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years who intentionally accesses, directly or indirectly, any computer system without authorisation, knowing that he or she is not authorised to access that computer system, or being reckless as to whether or not he or she is authorised to access that computer system.
    (2)To avoid doubt, subsection (1) does not apply if a person who is authorised to access a computer system accesses that computer system for a purpose other than the one for which that person was given access.

    All that is required is that the access was done 'knowing that he or she is not authorised'. This would include taking advantage of a poorly configured server to reveal documents that are clearly not meant to be publicly available.

    Since Apr 2014 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    From the bullet points in the initial release on the Dirty Politics website:

    During the 2011 election campaign Slater obtained a database of the Labour Party’s members, e-mails and donations, and gleefully attacked the party. What no one knew is that Key’s dirty tricks person, Ede, had helped throughout, including searching inside the Labour Party computers and helping Slater plan the subsequent attacks on Labour. Ede’s office was just two doors from John Key’s and presumably he was using his Ministerial Services computer (Chapter 2).

    Yeah, so Slater totally lied about that one. He was coached.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22584 posts Report Reply

  • Jonathan King,

    Messing with political rivals aside, surely this is a pretty big deal:

    " Ede drafted official information act requests for Slater to use in other attacks, for instance against Ministry of Foreign Affairs staff who were in conflict with the government (Chapter 3)."

    Since Sep 2010 • 183 posts Report Reply

  • Dylan Reeve, in reply to William Leander,

    All that is required is that the access was done ‘knowing that he or she is not authorised’.

    I think you may be right too. I believe the argument has been made successfully before that even if the content is insecure the clear knowledge that it's not intended to be public makes it unauthorised access.

    It's not unlike the fact that leaving your door unlocked doesn't make entering your house and taking your TV any less burglary.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2008 • 311 posts Report Reply

  • Mike Kilpatrick, in reply to Dylan Reeve,

    Agree totally, Dylan. That's my concern. The ability to push back if it's the 'hacking' that becomes the focal point is huge.

    I guess until I've read the book (and that may be a while seeing as there doesn't seem to be any immediate potential for an ebook) then I can't be sure if it's Hager himself who is using the term 'hacking' or how it's being reported.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 16 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I don't say this enough, but people who know shit I don't are awesome. Keep it up, folks.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • cindy baxter,

    " there was also a considerable amount of very personal information about relationships and other subjects, where the right to privacy outweighs any public interest. This material has not been included in the book and will not be passed to others. The fact that Slater and his associates have made a career of exposing the very private details of other people’s lives does not make it right to do that to them."

    auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 99 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Geddis,

    All that is required is that the access was done ‘knowing that he or she is not authorised’. This would include taking advantage of a poorly configured server to reveal documents that are clearly not meant to be publicly available.

    Exactly. If someone pushes on a door, finds it’s unlocked, and walks through it to take whatever they can find inside, it seems a bit odd to say “well, of course if they leave it open you haven’t really done anything wrong!”

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2007 • 200 posts Report Reply

  • Mike Kilpatrick, in reply to William Leander,

    Thanks William. I'm always happy to be proved wrong :)

    I would suggest, however, that if it was this cut and dry then why wasn't something done in 2011 when this first became news? The only new aspect here is that Slater was fed the info (and lied about it) by PM's staffer. Hence my lack of comfort on the 'hacking' side of things.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 16 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Geddis, in reply to Dylan Reeve,

    Oh, dammit. You type too fast.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2007 • 200 posts Report Reply

  • Mike Kilpatrick, in reply to Andrew Geddis,

    Part of the issue with this aspect is that it’s old news – it happened in 2011 and it’s been out in the open since. If it were so obviously illegal why wasn’t something done back then?

    But then that may be opening up a whole new can of worms ;)

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 16 posts Report Reply

  • Mike Kilpatrick, in reply to Russell Brown,

    This is the interesting part, re-reading that piece:

    including searching inside the Labour Party computers

    Is this a not-very-clever way of saying rooting around the web server? Or is there actual allegations that individual computers were hacked into?

    Anyone up to that point in the book yet?

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 16 posts Report Reply

  • cindy baxter,

    I suspect that a lot of it wasn't very well known (not the back-and-forth) until after Judd Hall was killed (Jan 2014) and Hager got the emails "some weeks later"

    auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 99 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    Because "Cameron Slater's a wanker" isn't news. "The Prime Minister's office is complicit in Cameron Slater being a wanker" is.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Geddis,

    If it were so obviously illegal why wasn’t something done back then?

    Not sure it is "so obviously illegal" ... there's an argument that if you are allowed onto Labour's network freely, then you are "authorised" under the Act to access anything that is publicly accessible. Sort of like if you're let into someone's house for a party, then it isn't unlawful to wander into their unlocked bedroom. So let's just say that it's arguable whether the activity was unlawful.

    Why, then, was no complaint laid? Well, if you are Labour, would you want this issue in the news over the next few months?

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2007 • 200 posts Report Reply

  • Trevor Nicholls, in reply to William Leander,

    All that is required is that the access was done 'knowing that he or she is not authorised'. This would include taking advantage of a poorly configured server to reveal documents that are clearly not meant to be publicly available.

    Expect a retrospective law change immediately after the election...

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 306 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd, in reply to Dylan Reeve,

    he’s always seemed to be basically straight up. I’ve no doubt he’s received tips from political insiders (as do most political journalists as Russell pointed out) but tend to assume he’s not involved in the outright spin

    Wow. I don't know why. I've always assumed he's a hack through and through, given his very close and well known ties to National.

    (For the avoidance of doubt, I am a Labour LEC chair and running an electorate campaign).

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3121 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    Yeah I always thought Farrar was unofficially official, as it were. I always read his stuff as being the National Party blog of record --- not always on the party line, but always in the tent.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

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