I usually exclusively write about technology and my personal life on this blog but today I’m delving into a little bit of politics. A topic which I know nothing about but am growing gravely concerned with. Despite the fact that a very public uproar is that’s going on in the world about the NSA’s illegal spying activities, something strange is brewing in New Zealand. We’re cosying up with the US and punishing our public for it and are about to enact the same kind of draconian law that the US has been using to spy on their people.
We’re trying to copy a nation that fears its own population. and treats them like terrorists where instead the government should fear the people.
NZ is adopting US laws and attitudes towards people and behaviors within our country when it’s clear that our situation is completely different from that of theirs. There are more and more laws and behaviors emerging from New Zealand that have been clearly influenced by the US. The ones I’m aware of involve either piracy or spying using the internet, but I’m sure there are more.
The first of these is the fact that New Zealand pushed through a controversial law – the ‘three strikes’ anti piracy law – under urgency in a time of emergency in New Zealand. That emergency that allowed the law to go through was the second Christchurch earthquake. Not exactly an appropriate time to push through a piracy law. The law was offered to be paid for by the US (it’s not clear if they actually did pay, but I’d wager that they did) and until it was passed NZ was insistently pressed by the US to take action on the ‘ever growing threat of piracy’ in our nation.
Usually, such a bill would need to go through multiple readings and public consultation, but because urgency that was allowed to be used to pass the law, it became official within just 24 hours. Disappointing and not thought out at all, considering we’re now a few years on and all that has happened is a few people have been fined very small amounts.
Urgency was used to hide a law that should have never been passed. The public was outraged that the law was passed in secret. What happened to democracy? Why would the NZ government seek to pass and hide a law in such a short timeframe? Because they know – as the public does – that this law should have never passed and was entirely unnecessary.
Then came the Kim Dotcom affair. The government – in cahoots with the US – illegally raided and arrested Kim Dotcom (a legal NZ resident) in a early morning raid, confiscating his equipment and crippling the juggernaut that was Megaupload in one fell swoop. Now, it’s emerging that the whole thing is essentially a conspiracy against Kim Dotcom and the freedom of the people of NZ in general.
The New Zealand government is now trying to rush another bill through parliament under urgency. It’s a new law that gives the GCSB – essentially the NZ equivalent of the United States' NSA – extraordinary powers over the public of NZ to spy on them and intercept all communications without reason or any warrant. Remember that the NSA is the same organization that’s under fire for spying on citizens of the US and the world through large corporations and tapping directly into the internet itself.
Their justification is that they need to ‘protect the country from terrorism’ and prevent any terrorist related activity. In the history of New Zealand, there’s never been a terrorist attack or any violence of the sort, so who are we attempting to protect ourselves from? The lack of justification gives me the chills. The New Zealand government seemingly has no respect for the privacy or freedom of it’s public and is steaming ahead like a train out of control, under the guidance of a paranoid world leader who spies on it’s own citizens as well with no true restrictions or direction.
Before going any further, I encourage you to watch this video with fantastic journalism by John Campbell of Campbell Live in New Zealand. It articulates just how deep down the rabbit hole goes and how much trouble we may be in. It goes far deeper than I ever could write here.
The people of NZ are at risk of being spied on during their daily lives. Their activity online, on Facebook and Twitter may be harvested, their phone calls could be recorded and their location could be found at all times.
I, for one, would love to find out who are the people that are conspiring to attack New Zealand and who are we planning on protecting ourselves against? We need these answers before the bill goes anywhere. In the video linked early, Robert Amsterdam, who is on the Kim Dotcom legal team believes it is “not constitutional, is not consistent with human rights” as well as being a “grotesque violation of the human rights principles of the commonwealth.” I’m inclined to agree and the thought of this law passing puts a knot in my stomach.
Many are arguing in the US that “if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear” but that’s a dangerous attitude to adhere to.
Humans deserve a basic right to privacy. Even those going about legal activities should be able to shield some activities from public view.
I urge you, if you believe that you have nothing to hide, do some research for yourself. The belief is incredibly dangerous and could lead to a world where there is no longer any privacy for any of us. I would recommend reading a few articles on the topic online and coming to your own conclusion. I would especially recommend reading this piece.
If we’re truly in a democracy, these kinds of things should not be allowed to pass. The people should rise up to rebut it. The government should listen to, respect and hear the people, not treat them like some sort of terrorism threat. The US government may wish to oppress their own population but we should not allow them to attempt to oppress our own. There is no proof that the US spying or “interceptions” have ever successfully thwarted a terrorist attempt, nor is there reason to believe they ever will.
There is something we can do, though. Let’s stand up to the government. Adopt an MP and tell them what you think about the proposed laws. Write to your local MP to discourage them from voting on the law. Tell your friends and share this article and help spread the word about what’s really going on.
I’m not interested in politics at all, but I am interested in being able to go about my life without fear that I’m being watched wherever I go or whatever I do, be it online or offline. I know very little about this topic, but I know for sure that even at a government level, the people should have the right to deny this kind of invasion of privacy. We shouldn’t just let it happen.
If we don’t, what rights will we have left? Please, do something.