Chasing shadows in the dark

The spy watchdog will investigate allegations that New Zealanders’ communications were caught up in the GCSB’s intelligence and surveillance activities in the South Pacific.

The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Cheryl Gwyn on Thursday announced she was launching an inquiry following a number of complaints.

It follows recent claims that the GCSB was spying on some of New Zealand’s closest neighbours and passing the information on to the United States.

That prompted concerns about whether New Zealanders were caught up in the so-called “full take” collection of information in the region.

Ms Gwyn said the complaints, along with the public revelations, “raise wider questions regarding the collection, retention and sharing of communications data”.

“There is also a clear need to provide as much factual information to the complainants, and to the wider public, as is possible,” she said.

Earlier this month, responding to questions from Labour leader Andrew Little, acting GCSB director Una Jagose told parliament’s intelligence and security committee that there “isn’t anything untoward going on, or just the collection of information for collect’s sake”.

She said the law the GCSB operates under sets out in detail the criteria that must be met before the collection or interception of information is authorised or warranted.

Asked about the meanings of “mass collection” and “mass surveillance”, Ms Jagose said neither of the terms are used in New Zealand’s legislation.

“We do not do that. What we do is lawful and authorised and necessary and proportionate.”

This is an odd situation really.

We have spies that are spying.

Then we have someone to oversee them to check if they are doing it legally who can see if they are, or are not, but then can’t report on it in any detail either way.

Then we have people that don’t actually know if they are spying legally making suggestions they may not be.

This leads to an investigation. ?An investigation based on the idea and supposition something might be theoretically wrong.

And when?Cheryl Gwyn says nothing is wrong, will the people believe her? ?I mean, what’s the point?

In the mean time, any questions and accusations can be deflected by the government by saying “we can’t comment, it’s currently under investigation”.

Talk about a shadow puppet show….


– NZN via 3 News