From: OASIS – Organising Against State Intelligence and Surveillance
July 1, 2013
The Security and Intelligence Committee is missing the point when it hears submissions on the ‘GCSB and Related Legislation Amendment Bill’ this week, an anti-surveillance group says.
‘Organising Against State Intelligence and Surveillance’ (OASIS) is encouraging people to attend the public hearings, but the group says the main issues are not individual clauses with the Bill.
“Instead of arguing over the wording of the Bill, the members of the Security and Intelligence Committee should answer the question why they think NZ needs a spy agency that is a junior partner to the NSA,” a spokesperson for the group said today.
“The recently leaked documents, showing how the NSA and the GCHQ are continuously monitoring the communications of hundreds of millions of people worldwide, demonstrate the urgent need to seriously curtail state surveillance powers, not expand them.”
“The Kitteridge report found that the GCSB has been spying illegally on 88 people, and the government’s reaction to this is to pass a Bill under urgency that legalises that practice,” the spokesperson continued.
“People have the right to be left alone by the state. Instead, John Key is using the spectre of terrorism to scare people into giving up their rights. We never gave consent to a surveillance society.”
A recently published phone conversation with the former Inspector General of Security and Intelligence, during which he couldn’t remember the name of the GCSB’s director, shows the lack of seriousness this and previous governments have demonstrated in dealing with spy agencies.
“This clearly shows how slack the so-called oversight of the spy agencies is, and appointing a new Inspector General and giving them a deputy isn’t going to change that. While we encourage submitters to talk to the committee, we don’t hold our breath that any of the concerns raised will be taken seriously by the government,” the spokesperson said.
The schedule of hearings can be found here. The hearings are in Room 2, Bowen House.