New Zealand Government Admits That Order To Suppress Illegal Spying On Kim Dotcom Only Such Order Issued In 10 Years

from the oops dept

You may recall that, back in September, the New Zealand government admitted that the GCSB (Government Communications Security Bureau), the local equivalent of the NSA had illegally spied on Kim Dotcom to aid American DOJ investigators. New Zealand's Prime Minister, John Key, apologized and ordered an investigation. Many were asking when Key actually knew about the illegal surveillance, which covered domestic communications, despite GCSB's mandate being focused on foreign communications. It's now come out that the order to "suppress" the information about GCSB's activities, signed by acting prime minister Bill English (normally the Finance Minister) while Key was abroad, was the only such document in 10 years:
The spy agency has stated that the certificate signed by Finance Minister Bill English as Acting Prime Minister was the only one found in "a thorough search of our files".

Mr English was asked by the GCSB to sign the "ministerial certificate" while Prime Minister John Key was overseas in August. The certificate said knowledge of the GCSB's involvement in the Dotcom investigation would damage its ability to detect or prevent serious crime.

The fact it was the only ministerial warrant in 10 years was discovered by the Green Party under the Official Information Act. Its rarity has led Green Party co-leader Russel Norman to question how Mr Key stayed ignorant of its existence until a month after it was signed.
Beyond the concern of who knew what and when, there should be continued outrage in New Zealand at its goverment's willingness to bend over backwards to break the law just because the US entertainment industry was putting pressure on the DOJ to "do something" about Megaupload. The fact that they appear to have not only broken the law, but then issued a one-of-a-kind order to try to hide the fact that they broke the law really says something about the lengths the NZ government were willing to go to please Hollywood.

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  1. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    out_of_the_blue, 4 Dec 2012 @ 4:53am

    Idealist Mike seems to be discovering how world works.

    Yot, Mike, "capitalists" (plutocrats) don't just use their power and money to provide the public with goodies, but to secure and extend their power regardless of "law". That's why to keep all corporations from becoming too big, and all persons from becoming too rich.

    But anyhoo, I can't get excited by a rather quaint NZ story about its techno-backwater: in the US, NSA (plus its commercial front, Google) are already doing surveillance on that level as matter of routine. Your foreign items don't worry me at all: but I am worried when you're apparently blind to worse in the US. Where are your anti-NSA pieces, Mike?

    And as I've said, the Megaupload case is a rare exception where "law enforcement" is on the right side of morality. I'd say should go ahead on this line -- though I'm not blind to the fact that gov't will at same time inflict tyranny through this and other ways -- but on the narrow case of Megaupload, a totally grifting site using other people's products, it's doing fine.

    A legend on his own site! Mike "Streisand Effect" Masnick!
    Take the link now! It's actually better than here!

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