Odd Citizen

Odd Citizen
An Odd Citizen’s Search For Vanishing Freedoms

Big Brother Comes to New Zealand

January 4th, 2010

Big Brother comes to New Zealand in government requirements for all providers of communications, telephone, internet, web surfing, etc. to install taps that will be accessible to the government.

The measures are the largest expansion of police and SIS surveillance capabilities for decades, and mean that all mobile calls and texts, email, internet surfing and online shopping, chatting and social networking can be monitored anywhere in New Zealand.

In preparation, technicians have been installing specialist spying devices and software inside all telephone exchanges, internet companies and even fibre-optic data networks between cities and towns, providing police and spy agencies with the capability to monitor almost all communications

It is reported that a warrent is needed for police or others to tap into this system.

What is particularly chilling about this report is the following:

Official papers obtained by the Star-Times show that, despite government claims that it was done for domestic reasons, the new New Zealand spying capabilities are part of a push by United States agencies to have standardised surveillance capabilities available for their use from governments worldwide.

While US civil liberties groups unsuccessfully fought these surveillance capabilities being used on US citizens, the FBI was lobbying other governments to adopt them. FBI Director Robert Mueller III told a senate committee in March last year that the FBI needs “global reach” to fight cyber-crime and terrorism and that co-operation with “law enforcement partners” gives it “the means to leverage the collective resources of many countries”.

Emphasis added.

The English speaking countries seem to be heading down an Orwellian path of surveillance, government monitoring and control. How could the countries of the Magna Carta be the ones doing this? It wouldn’t be too surprising in Russia, North Korea or Vietnam. But New Zealand?

Are these facilities already installed and operational in the U.S.A.? Are you listening in Janet?

The argument is being made by New Zealand officials that non-criminals have nothing to fear from this. Maybe so, for a while, but the potential for misuse by a tyrannical government is breathtaking. Suppose the Irish start using this kind of system to monitor for violations of their new Blasphemy laws.

I’d much rather have all government telephones and electronic communications monitored 24/7 by a committee of citizens. Now that might make some sense.

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