Criticisms of the GCSB only scratch the surface
The idea that a secret Government agency which has carried out widespread illegal spying on New Zealanders be given increased licence to spy in new legislation is farcical.
The proposal that the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (Paul Neazor), who signally failed in his oversight of the Government Communications Security Bureau, be given the task of investigating the agency’s illegalities is ridiculous.
At another level, John Key has been proclaiming the potential damage to this country of cyber attacks. Does he expect an agency with reported low staff morale, internal disorganisation, no public/peer review, a fixation on playing at espionage, and a blatant disregard for the law, to be able to provide NZ with satisfactory defence against such attacks? The longer the GCSB pretends to defend this country against cyber attacks the more vital computer systems will be compromised
The lack of a full assessment of this agency’s mission and operations is alarming. In large part the focus on Kim Dotcom, and now on new revelations of spying on New Zealanders, has missed the critical point that Waihopai, the GCSB’s main function, is a massive operation, established to spy on UN officials, international corporations, and any person or organisation who might have information useful to United States commercial and political interests.
In the UK it has been widely reported that Scotland could not become independent because of the stringent conditions that would be imposed on any new Scottish intelligence and security organisation. New Zealanders should know what stringent conditions are imposed on this country in order to be a mouse in the mighty Five Eyes spy conglomerate.
Finally, it should be noted that Canada’s Communications Security Establishment, the equivalent of the GCSB, is overseen by a watchdog, the Auditor-General, a Privacy Commissioner, an Information Commissioner, and a Parliamentary committee.
But, given the GCSB’s dire record, none of the proposed “oversight” improvements give us any confidence that they will make any difference to the criminal behaviour of this rogue agency.
So ABC reiterates that it should be put out of its misery and closed ASAP, along with its Waihopai spy base.
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