Investigation Into Illegal Spying On Kim Doctom Reveals NZ Intelligence Illegally Spied On 85 People

from the oops dept

Remember how the New Zealand intelligence organization GCSB (Government Communications Security Bureau) had to admit that it had illegally spied on Kim Dotcom? That kicked off an investigation that has now revealed that the GCSB illegally spied on somewhere around 85 people.

GCSB director Ian Fletcher said in February that his agency did not illegally spy on anyone else on behalf of law enforcement agencies.

But the Kitteridge report contradicts this – questioning the lawfulness of GCSB surveillance involving 85 New Zealanders. The agency is forbidden from spying on anyone with citizenship or permanent residence here.

The illegal spying was conducted between April 2003 and September last year and done on behalf of the Security Intelligence Service, the domestic spy agency.

But wait… there’s more. The report also found that it’s likely GCSB violated other laws as well, including the Privacy Act and the Defence Act. Not surprisingly, the report also finds a mess of an agency with terrible management, poor record-keeping and little oversight. Shocking, isn’t it, that such conditions would lead to abuse of power and illegal surveillance, huh?

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Comments on “Investigation Into Illegal Spying On Kim Doctom Reveals NZ Intelligence Illegally Spied On 85 People”

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19 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

It’s OK for governments to break good laws, in the name of protecting corporate profits. But when citizens harmlessly break bad or victimless laws (ie: IP laws), laws designed to protect corporate profits, then the govt will be all over you.

IP laws are not that important. Laws protecting citizens from oppressive government are far more important. Yet the penalty structure built into our laws, and how penalties are applied, are completely backward.

David Swanson says:

The way to do it

Poor NZ.
In Australia, we’d just get the military to do it under the Defence power in our constitution.
As long as it’s for a Defence purpose, legally they can spy on anyone they want, any time they want, anywhere they want, any way they want.
It’s a very helpful loophole we use all the time.

Fentex says:

In Australia, we’d just get the military to do it under the Defence power in our constitution

That is the likely outcome of this review. The government will just conclude, as their mouth pieces are currently arguing, that the GCSB is our eavesdropping tool so ought be allowed to assist others in doing their eavesdropping.

What happened was there was a law change that made it clear GCSB should not spy on NZ citizens in it’s capacity as our signals intelligence service.

GCSB ignored that when requested to help other agencies that are allowed to do it because they think that’s also their job – to wear a different hat and provide such abilities to others, and they didn’t think themselves responsible when asked by other agencies to do the eavesdropping.

There’s also a lot of uncovered lax behaviour that’s typical of spooks that have no effective over-sight due to their secrecy.

What’ll happen is the government will swear it’s all cleaned up, pass legislation allowing GCSB to provide eavesdropping capabilities to over agencies and business will proceed as usual.

What they won’t, but should do, is instigate real effective accountability.

Corrupt NZ government says:

Corrupt NZ government

If the NZ government doesn’t go after those who broke its laws on spying and prosecute them, they have no right passing any laws. Something tells me nothing will be done; meanwhile if you or I did the same thing, we’d be in prison. Sounds like a corrupt NZ government, including their Attorney General.

Anonymous Coward says:

‘ Shocking, isn’t it, that such conditions would lead to abuse of power and illegal surveillance, huh?’

cant imagine who else is in mind.

what this shows more than anything is that governments and law enforcement agencies think they have the right to do whatever they please, whenever they please, against whomsoever they please and will not get called out for that behaviour, let alone anything else. they have the opinion that they are answerable to no one and the people do not matter. every country in the so-called democratic world is within a whisker of being a Police State that it is absolutely terrifying! the power that corporations and industries have over governments is equally as terrifying if not even more so!!

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