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New Zealand Cyber Spies Win New Powers

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the mmm-new-powers dept.

Privacy 132

caeos writes "New cyber-monitoring measures have been quietly introduced in New Zealand giving police and Security Intelligence Service officers the power to monitor all aspects of someone's online life. 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. The New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS or SIS) is an intelligence agency of the New Zealand government."

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132 comments

Warrants (4, Informative)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 4 years ago | (#30627794)

At least in New Zealand they still need a warrant.

Re:Warrants (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30627860)

Indeed they do. This simply extends the existing wire tapping laws to internet/mobile comms

Re:Warrants (4, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30627866)

Police and SIS must still obtain an interception warrant naming a person or place they want to monitor but, compared to the phone taps of the past, a single warrant now covers phone, email and all internet activity.

In other words, they no longer have to specify which form of electronic communication they wish to monitor; one blanket warrant covers them all...

Re:Warrants (3, Interesting)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30627924)

Doesn't that kind of make sense? Before phone was the only possible electronic communications device. If there's a need (real need) to tap on to someones phone, it should include all electronic communications.

Re:Warrants (4, Informative)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30627988)

In the USA, search and seizure powers were specifically limited by the fourth amendment for among other reasons, reducing the liklihood of fishing expeditions. Here you can't use the power to search something specific eg. someone's car to justify searching someone's house, mail etc. as well.

Re:Warrants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30628044)

...or you just ask nicely: http://games.slashdot.org/story/10/01/02/0310211/Man-Tracked-Down-and-Arrested-Via-WoW

Re:Warrants (1)

kallen3 (171792) | more than 4 years ago | (#30629478)

In the USA, search and seizure powers were specifically limited by the fourth amendment for among other reasons, reducing the liklihood of fishing expeditions. Here you can't use the power to search something specific eg. someone's car to justify searching someone's house, mail etc. as well.

and i have a bridge to sell you too.

Re:Warrants (4, Interesting)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 4 years ago | (#30629698)

Maybe so, but over the last 10 years the government has made some changes to it's interpretation of the 4th amendment. Specifically, what constitutes an expectation of privacy as defined by Rawlings v. Kentucky, 448 U.S. 98, 104.

Beyond even the 4th amendment and 5th amendment, the US government has shown a willingness to ignore the constitution and even international law altogether if they feel national security interests are at stake. The somewhat recent case of an extraordinary rendition of a Canadian citizen while on US soil to Syria poses significant opposition to commonly held beliefs about constitutional protection. After being tortured and returned to Canada, in 2007 he came back to the US to testify before congress about his experience and as far as I know, nothing has ever come of that hearing.

The Alien Terrorist Removal Provisions of the Omnibus Counterterrorism Act of 1995 allows for the FISA court to deport an alien suspected of terrorism based solely on classified evidence, to which the target cannot try to suppress evidence or intervene in any way including having representation at any hearings. Whether they are deported or not, they receive very little(if any) information about the proceedings or how any decision was reached. Oddly enough, after reading the entire bill, I could not find any reference anywhere describing where the persons can be deported to. In essence, our government formally legalized extraordinary rendition 15 years ago, although I doubt in many cases of extraordinary rendition that they follow the appropriate steps(however rudimentary they may be) through the FISA court. All they have to do is call it a deportation instead of rendition. And since the target cannot intervene in any proceedings of the process, they cannot suppress any evidence gathered via illegal means.

If anyone was hoping for "change", you didn't get it the way you thought you would. The Alien Terrorist Removal Provisions of this bill were sponsored by your very own Joe Biden. Clinton formulated the bill but it wasn't until the Oklahoma bombing that the political will to pass it existed.

So here we sit, 15 years later. The government now has the PATRIOT act on top of what was considered in 1995 to be necessary to stop terrorism. We have broad spectrum warrantless wiretapping without FISA approval based on a shady interpretation of an AG. Are we safer? In some respects maybe. Would any of these laws prevent a bomber such as Timothy McVeigh from repeating what he did? Probably not. Would these laws prevent someone from hijacking a plane and ramming it into a large bulding? Perhaps.

But at what cost? It seems to be the question that no politician has the fortitude to ask. Where do we draw the line? Terrorism is evil, but at what point do we say "this is the line we can't cross". If we enact further privacy and liberty restrictions every time someone manages to strike America, what will be left in 20 years? 50 years?

Re:Warrants (1)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 4 years ago | (#30629780)

As a follow-up, Gregory Nojeim(then a counselor for the ACLU) testified before congress in 1995 about their new terrorism law and described in great detail the damage it does to 1st amendment protections. In essence, he described how the new law could create guilt by association and give the government broad selective prosecution powers.

It's a really interesting read.

Re:Warrants (1)

Admiral Ag (829695) | more than 4 years ago | (#30629100)

Why should it? These folks have a warped understanding of privacy. How bad does it have to get? What if someone produced an accurate mind reading device? Then thoughtcrime would become a reality. I imagine people would have a problem with that. Well, I have the same problem with government spooks being able to access my private telephone calls.

Nobody ever asks us if we are willing to give up our privacy in exchange for security.

Re:Warrants (1)

hughperkins (705005) | more than 4 years ago | (#30629604)

> Then thoughtcrime would become a reality.

Not so. At least, not on it's own. Search warrants are to collect evidence. So you could be arrested for thinking 'That was a fun murder yesterday!', since that might be interpreted as strong evidence for having physically carried out a murder yesterday. That doesn't directly mean that thinking something is the crime, although inevitably it might become one. It is two distinct things though: a crime, and evidence of having committed a crime.

Re:Warrants (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#30629942)

Funny how the summary posted fails to reflect what TFA is all about. I opened this discussion in my browser, prepared to condemn New Zealand for infringing on the rights of it's citizens. However, after RTFA, I have to go along with them. If we assume that a wire tap is ever justified, for any reason, then it makes little sense to make SOME electronic communications subject to the tap, but others are immune.

I see nothing wrong here: the cops still have to get a warrant, and go through channels. There should be oversight somewhere, which I don't see mentioned. But, if that oversight is lacking, then it's up to the New Zealand citizens to demand it, and have it installed.

I still see a problem, in identifying all the electronic methods of communication that a particular suspect or subject might be using. Again - what good is it to tap his phone, his home internet connection, but he has a cell phone that the cops don't know about? Here in the states, I can get a net-10 phone for cash money, with no paper trail, use it for however many days, and throw it away. (reactivating that phone leaves a credit card trail - if I were determined to cover my tracks, I wouldn't do it) The cops aren't going to monitor THAT very effectively, are they?

Re:Warrants (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30629986)

If they discover additional places they have probable cause to search then they should not have any problem getting a proper warrant specifying as such. If they can't get a warrant for those formerly unknown devices then they really shouldn't be given a blanket warrant for said devices!

Re:Warrants??? (0, Troll)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30627888)

Judge: Why should I issue a surveillance warrant for this guy?

Cop: Well, we think that he and his pals got dressed up like Santas, go all liquored up, and then ran through the streets, yelling, "Ho, Ho, Fucking Ho!"

Judge: Warrant granted!

Good grief. (3, Interesting)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 4 years ago | (#30627824)

New cyber-monitoring measures have been quietly introduced in New Zealand giving police and Security Intelligence Service officers the power to monitor all aspects of someone's online life.

Who in the world thinks their "online life" can be kept secret from anyone? Good grief, you don't need to be the New Zealand Secret Service to dig around online to see what people are up to. Once again, if you don't want people to know what your doing, don't put it online for everyone (including the spooks) to see. The Interwebs are by their nature not private. And really, no one really cares what's on your Facebook except your uptight potential employer.

Re:Good grief. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30627870)

But video surveillance is starting to blanket the civilized world, for a variety of reasons having to do with security, science/engineering, and business (Google). Tie it all together (and they will), and once again Mr. George Orwell is looking incredibly prescient. Apart from the date, 1984 was perhaps the most amazingly accurate forecast of the past 200 years.

Re:Good grief. (4, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30627892)

Encrypted communication such as that between your self and your bank would be considered private. Do you really believe that the government tapping someone's communications is no big deal?

Re:Good grief. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30627932)

Maybe you shouldn't be banking online if you don't want everyone to know what your doing?

Re:Good grief. (4, Interesting)

vux984 (928602) | more than 4 years ago | (#30628270)

Maybe you shouldn't be banking online if you don't want everyone to know what your doing?

So your theory is that people should have to physically go out in public if they want something to be private? I hope i don't have to point out the obvious flaw in this.

Online banking, and any other encrypted communication should be private by default.

Privacy from the government is not enough. (1)

Jenming (37265) | more than 4 years ago | (#30629000)

If your encrypted communications are not private then you are doing them wrong. A law can give someone the legal right to look at your communications, however if you understand encryption you can still send private communications.

Don't get me wrong, I value my privacy. But the government is only one of many possible people who could be eavesdropping and if I am doing something I really want private having it be illegal to eavesdrop really isn't enough, you need to make it prohibitively difficult for someone to eavesdrop.

When Eve contracts with VeriSign (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30629052)

however if you understand encryption you can still send private communications.

Not if Eve has compromised the the trusted third party introducing you and your bank.

Re:When Eve contracts with VeriSign (1)

Jenming (37265) | more than 4 years ago | (#30629304)

I guess I should clarify. I am not saying that all encrypted communications are secure. But if you and the person you are talking to understand what you are doing then a secure private message can be sent without too much trouble, even over a completely open channel such as a wire tapped email or a slashdot post.

Re:When Eve contracts with VeriSign (1)

The Wild Norseman (1404891) | more than 4 years ago | (#30629584)

But if you and the person you are talking to understand what you are doing then a secure private message can be sent without too much trouble, even over a completely open channel such as a wire tapped email or a slashdot post.

The chair is against the wall.
John has a long moustache.

Re:Good grief. (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#30629044)

Online banking, and any other encrypted communication should be private by default.

Well the thing is that it isn't. You can trust that it is private, but you will never know

Re:Good grief. (3, Insightful)

ickleberry (864871) | more than 4 years ago | (#30627900)

I always think that privacy went out the window for a large percentage of the population (though more for young people) once they realised they could exchange privacy for attention or the illusion of getting attention on sites like Facebook

there is also a distinct lack of support for good old shared secret and one-time pad encryption in modern email/IM standards so that isn't helping either. maybe even if things like PGP and 'off the record' plugins were standard then it might be used outside the realm of nerds.

Re:Good grief. (1)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 4 years ago | (#30628722)

A lot of e-mail clients (Thunderbird, OS X's Mail.App, and I believe Outlook) come with support for encryption and signing of e-mails using X.509 certificates and RSA keys. It's a chain of trust (so you have to get a certificate from a certificate authority of some kind) rather than a web, but until recently Thawte was doing free e-mail certificates. The real problem is... no-one seems to care. Why aren't e-mails from my bank signed cryptographically? Do they even know it's a possibility...

Re:Good grief. (1)

arminw (717974) | more than 4 years ago | (#30629296)

...Why aren't e-mails from my bank signed cryptographically?...
Because my bank never, ever sends me an e-mail, so it doesn't matter. I have to log securely into my account, in order to see any communications from them. I can also send them information securely via the web when I am logged in to my account. All communications to/from my bank account are encrypted.

Re:Good grief. (1)

Titoxd (1116095) | more than 4 years ago | (#30629504)

My bank does. However, their email essentially amounts to "we sent you a message, log in at our site to see it." They don't put a direct link to the bank's site, they just tell me to go there, so I know that anything that has a bank URL is trying to phish my info. A certificate would still be a helpful addition in that case, though.

Re:Good grief. (4, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30627922)

You may not realize it but your argument could also be used to justify massive surveillance programs outside of peoples' homes like that in London. After all, what you do outside isn't terribly private either; people can see you all the time but that doesn't make the surveillance mundane and not worth mentioning...

Re:Good grief. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30628086)

...surveillance programs outside of peoples' homes like that in London.

As it happens, the CCTV situation in London doesn't bother me. I certainly am not doing anything that might cause "them" to come and get me. But if someone breaks into my house / car, I think it would be swell to have footage of it.

Re:Good grief. (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30628314)

uptight potential employer

Sorry, but that’s mutually exclusive. Either he’s a potential employer. Or he’s uptight, in which case I’d not see him as a potential employer anyway.

OK, on the other hand, in my business model, there are no employers or employees. There are business partnerships. (Nearly the same thing, but without any enforcement of exclusivity or who gets to hire someone. Also the relationships are equal. Not king & slave.)

Re:Good grief. (1)

thpdg (519053) | more than 4 years ago | (#30629742)

If you're snooping with plans to present it IN COURT, you'll still need permission.
If you're doing it just to be a joker or a pervert, yeah, you can do it already.

Re:Good grief. (2, Informative)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 4 years ago | (#30629886)

If you're snooping with plans to present it IN COURT, you'll still need permission.

Time and time again, the courts have accepted evidence that was improperly collected, with a "don't do it again, wink, wink, nod, nod..."

Re:Good grief. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30630366)

New cyber-monitoring measures have been quietly introduced in New Zealand giving police and Security Intelligence Service officers the power to monitor all aspects of someone's online life.

Who in the world thinks their "online life" can be kept secret from anyone? Good grief, you don't need to be the New Zealand Secret Service to dig around online to see what people are up to. Once again, if you don't want people to know what your doing, don't put it online for everyone (including the spooks) to see. The Interwebs are by their nature not private. And really, no one really cares what's on your Facebook except your uptight potential employer.

A troll named FrostyPiss, how appropriate.

NZIS? (4, Funny)

toriver (11308) | more than 4 years ago | (#30627834)

I mean, you can't make that shit up. Didn't they at least consider the acronym before deciding on a name?

Re:NZIS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30627862)

Took me a while for it to click... I imagine many more Aussies and Kiwis will take a while as well.

Re:NZIS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30628384)

But its NZSIS...or SIS..

NZIS is the New Zealand Institute of Sport....

Re:NZIS? (3, Informative)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30627952)

Considering that the operations in Iraq were once referred to as Operation Iraqi Liberation, it shouldn't surprise you that another government put minimal thought into the naming process for its new surveillance program.

Re:NZIS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30628222)

You're going to have to explain. I don't get what's so funny.

(I tried pronouncing the letters : En-Zed-Eye-Ess, but that's nothing. Pronouncing 'Z' the American way almost sounds like NCIS, but that's not funny. I just honestly don't get it... Please take pity on me, and explain the joke?)

Re:NZIS? (3, Funny)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 4 years ago | (#30628252)

It sounds threateningly close to 'nazis'.

Yours truly,
Captain Obvious.

Re:NZIS? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30628296)

Thank you :)

I feel stupid now.

Re:NZIS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30629214)

Don't. It's just the US way of pronouncing the letter 'Z' that makes it sound odd. Pronounced by a New Zealander, it seems okay.

Anyway, isn't the acronym NZSIS?

Re:NZIS? (2, Interesting)

twosat (1414337) | more than 4 years ago | (#30629528)

As a Kiwi (New Zealander), I always thought of it as being watched by Big SISter rather than Big Brother!

Re:NZIS? (1)

geezer nerd (1041858) | more than 4 years ago | (#30629574)

No need to feel stupid. The comment was pretty lame in the first place. I did not *get* it either, and would just as soon not have bothered to find out. The agency is NZSIS, not NZIS, anyway. And in NZ, it is always just referred to as SIS.

Re:NZIS? (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#30629856)

It sounds threateningly close to 'nazis'.

I don't think it sounds anything like 'nazis' although it may look somewhat similar when written. I'm not sure how one would actually pronounce this, other than "N-Z-I-S."

And the burning eye on that tower ... (3, Insightful)

meist3r (1061628) | more than 4 years ago | (#30627856)

Is just there to help light the streets at night.

Oh Welcome, my dear friends, to the future: Where even the worst crimes against humanity are "worth it".

Re:And the burning eye on that tower ... (3, Interesting)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 4 years ago | (#30627896)

They need a warrant, just not multiple warrants. This is how it's supposed to work. They prove to a judge that they have reasonable grounds to monitor a persons communications, and only then to they do so.

Re:And the burning eye on that tower ... (1)

meist3r (1061628) | more than 4 years ago | (#30628056)

Well I'd agree with you, then again, look at some of the "reasonable grounds" that lead to a warrant. Can't say much about NZ but here in Germany it's pretty ridiculous what some judges will sign (preferrably when on emergency standby right before a long weekend with several dozen suspects, some offices have stamps for that -signature and all-).

Also, was meant as a sarcastic post so tough luck. I'm not really surprised on how tough security is getting, I'm actually more surprised how lightly people seem to take it. Think about it: Ruining someone's life has just gotten easier for New Zealand authorities and we're arguing about how much of a good thing that is.

Oh please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30627910)

Would you rather that new frontiers to never be policed or surveilled ever? The fact is that criminals and other evildoers are using the internet and other technology for nefarious purposes as well as the good guys.

I for one am glad for police and law enforcement agencies having the same powers as they would have in the offline world.

Re:Oh please (5, Interesting)

meist3r (1061628) | more than 4 years ago | (#30628026)

Would you rather that new frontiers to never be policed or surveilled ever?

I would rather people started fixing that fucked up thing we call a "society" instead of trying to stomp out the fire even harder. Our societies are at war with each other because we're still ruled by ignorance and greed. No one installs monitoring systems in the offices so why the hell wonder about terrorism? To take your "frontier" analogy a bit deeper into reality. Instead of building a fence thousands of miles long and trying to "monitor" what goes over it you could try to seolve the issues that drive people over such a barrier. But you're probably right, monitoring is way less dirty and can't be pinned to individual responsibility.

The fact is that criminals and other evildoers are using the internet and other technology for nefarious purposes as well as the good guys.

Oh come on, evildoers? Really? Where are we? Kindergarten? I had hoped that this word vanished with the imbecile who introduced it. There are more "evildoers" in public positions and among the ranks of history than ANY terrorist group will ever hire in the entire existence of the planet. Sure we all use the technology for what we can and to prevent our antagonists from beating us to it. The problem here is that we subject millions of people all over the world to ridiculously inept means of what we call "prevention" and "preemptive measures" that the tiny amount of actual victims is far outweighed by the hysteria riddled members of the public who are easily manipulated. How many Al Qaida operatives do they actually catch in New Zealand? Isn't this just another excuse to find means to control your population? I seriously don't know but as of late ... I'm more worried about the finding out the truth part than about what they claim to protect us from.

I for one am glad for police and law enforcement agencies having the same powers as they would have in the offline world.

Then you, for one, don't understand that there is a difference between the "powers" in the offline world and the ones in the "online" world. Even if you wanted you need to put lots of effort into pinpointing someone's location in real life. The combined data from all our real world tech appliances on the other hand seem to erradicate that effort and give us instant access to whatever you need to know. At least in the olden times to find someone's hidden stash you would at least have to actually go to his place and break it open.

I wish you a happy 2010 and hope that you'll take a lesson in what people call "sarcasm". Getting it makes life on the interwebz much easier you know?

YOU HAVE BEEN TROLLED (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30628074)

Nothing more fun than baiting and getting a pathetic sniveling, whining liberal pissed off. You people are just so clueless it is funny.

Checkmate, I win, you lose.

I DID BEEN TROLLED ME (3, Interesting)

meist3r (1061628) | more than 4 years ago | (#30628190)

Oh wow and everyone will see from your clear wording and the intricate responses you took to my writing what a superior and ultimately better person you are. May the Lord set a place in heaven for you good Sir, for you've made your point with such swift eloquence that I would be but a fool to argue with it. To hell with the hippies and man was that game good or what? Miss anything? Am I now right wing and "real America" enough for you now?

Can someone write me a more appropriate list to detect ignorance please? Mine just blew off the charts.

1. Don't answer to arguments no matter how easily they can be interjected with your own
2. Call your corresponding recipient a A) Leftist B) Liberal C) Nutjob or D) Tinfoil Hat or a combination of all
3. Use adjectives like "pathetic" or "whiny" to distract from you lack of discussion value or opinion
4. Calling an individual "You people" after having had one (in numbers 1 -ONE- O N E) written anonymous exchange over the internet underlines your differenciated approach to the world and people in General
5. Make a reference to a board game you probably never played but value because of it's binary black-and-white-ishness
6. Using the wrong board game analogy to imply an ultimate state of "decidedness" to superimpose your own self worth in spite of no mentionable arguments whatsoever
7. Post anonymously to give power to your non-researchable untraceable remarks
8. Consider the state of the world a "one sentence, you suck, I rule" kind-of-problem
9. Take pride in trolling, nothing is valued more online that someone giving his "honest-to-god-uninformed-you-liberals-will-all-burn-in-hell-agenda"

Re:I DID BEEN TROLLED ME (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30629260)

Can I just say I love you. Never stop doing your thing. I wish more people were like you!

Re:I DID BEEN TROLLED ME (2, Funny)

meist3r (1061628) | more than 4 years ago | (#30629622)

But you're not supposed to understand me ... I'm like totally broody and dark and shit. My generation is full of anguish and fear ... why can't you see my true face?? WAAAAaaaahhhhh

I'm so going to write a Haiku with my own blood once I figure out how to break this ladyshave.

Re:Oh please (1)

arminw (717974) | more than 4 years ago | (#30629382)

...Oh come on, evildoers? Really? Where are we? Kindergarten? I had hoped that this word vanished with the imbecile who introduced it....
So what would you call the guy who tried but failed to blow up an airplane full of people recently?

There are different kinds of evil doers. Some of them get themselves elected to public office or become so after they are elected. That isn't the same as someone flying airplanes into buildings or blowing them out of the sky. Besides, do you really expect anything on the Internet to be private? If you want your messages to be private, learn to securely encrypt them, or whisper them into the ear of the recipient in a remote forest.

If you are not an evildoer, then it is unlikely that any law enforcement officer would have the remotest interest in your mundane life. They have better things to do to keep track of you and your life, unless of course you are involved in sex with minors.

It is sad, but evil is very real in this world.

Re:Oh please (2, Interesting)

meist3r (1061628) | more than 4 years ago | (#30629612)

So what would you call the guy who tried but failed to blow up an airplane full of people recently?

How about: A criminal? How about that word? Last time I checked, trying to kill hundreds of people was a crime. In his weird and sad way what he tried to do was probably not evil. So since evil stems from the perception/perspective of the one being submitted to it I think the entire word has to go out the window in discussions like this. Good and Evil are fairytale words that normally don't do reality justice in any way.

There are different kinds of evil doers. Some of them get themselves elected to public office or become so after they are elected. That isn't the same as someone flying airplanes into buildings or blowing them out of the sky.

How exactly is it different? If a strange person chooses to commit murder-suicide for religious reasons and goes on a plane to do it I can see little difference to an elected official sending other people to die for his religious beliefs. It's both wrong but supposedly done for the "good" cause.

Besides, do you really expect anything on the Internet to be private? If you want your messages to be private, learn to securely encrypt them, or whisper them into the ear of the recipient in a remote forest.

Agreed. The question is just: How much right will you grant a government to snoop on everyone? When does it stop? Following your argument I'd assume you'd say "Never" since there is always the possibility of some other "evil" deed to be done so that ordinary people can't live their lives in privacy anymore because we care too much about the few dozens that snap in a spectacular fashion. After all someone driving his car dead on into traffic or shooting their family is nothing better or worse than a planejacker only that it's more prominent to show us the bomber and make everyone panic. Ever thought about how your neighbor could stab you to death at any given moment? No? Why aren't there laws prohibitting my neighbors from owning knives? They're potential death threats to my community.

If you are not an evildoer, then it is unlikely that any law enforcement officer would have the remotest interest in your mundane life. They have better things to do to keep track of you and your life, unless of course you are involved in sex with minors.

How about you're a minor yourself? What if your telephone says you've had consentual sex with a girl/boy of the same age and because people in robes think that you should go to hell for that you will be subject to criminal prosecution. Or say, you have not paid your taxes in full, or sped over a red light, or took phone calls from the wrong people once, or used the wrong email host, had a website in the wrong place, wrote a displeasing text on the internet, made copies of music/movies and gave them to friends.

Law enforcement has LOTS of interest in you. After all, the smart criminals take a while to get caught. Someone has to employ the rest of the staff to get "something" done. Doesn't really matter what but once you read up on how surveillance is actually used in many cases you'd be surprised.

It is sad, but evil is very real in this world.

Sure it's real, unfortunately most people have forgotten what true evil actually looks/feels like. A desperate spoiled idiot with religious megalomania who gets on a plane single-handedly to blow himself up in martyrdom is not evil. If the same person got chosen (by democratically elected officials) to go to his bank job an blow up the economy for fast revenue ... to me THAT is evil. And yes, it's sad and very very true.

Re:Oh please (1)

williamhb (758070) | more than 4 years ago | (#30630496)

Then you, for one, don't understand that there is a difference between the "powers" in the offline world and the ones in the "online" world. Even if you wanted you need to put lots of effort into pinpointing someone's location in real life.

That's nonsense. For starters, 90% of the time you are either at your home address (which the government has a record of) or your place of employment (which they also have a record of). And for the remaining time, an ordinary police constable knocking on your door and asking your partner "Hello, we're looking for Mr Bloggs. Do you know where he is right now?" usually reveals the answer. "Pinpointing someone's location in real life" is only hard if that person is already on the run from the law and their friends wish to help them hide and won't answer questions -- and even then it rarely takes the cops that long to catch up with you. "Ooh, what a surprise, he was hiding over at his best mate's house". It's only for the really hard cases they need to look at things like your cell phone signal, number-plate recognition from your car passing tollways and congestion charging zones, or tracing your movements from CCTV camera to CCTV camera (as was done to retrace the movement of the 7/7 bombers).

Re:And the burning eye on that tower ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30628010)

I never thought about it until you mentioned other uses for unemployed floating evil eyes, but imagine how many moths and mosquitoes Sauron must have attracted every night.

Don't worry! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30627904)

Obama will change everything!

Re:Don't worry! (3, Funny)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#30627958)

I, too, am outraged at his failure to rein in New Zealand. Aren't they a subsidiary of Australia, which is in turn the Oceania subsidiary of the USA?

Re:Don't worry! (3, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30627980)

Aren't they a subsidiary of Australia

We don't want'em but they can have Tasmania if they want it. Come on guys. Its going cheap.

Re:Don't worry! (3, Funny)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30627986)

Which means as soon as Obama solves the kangaroo problem in Oz, he'll take care of the hobbit humpers.

Re:Don't worry! (1)

JackieBrown (987087) | more than 4 years ago | (#30629036)

Well, he was going to solve the world financial problem on Christmas until the Master deleted his plan.

Same shit as always (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30627940)

Police association vice-president Stuart Mills said ... that people who weren't committing criminal offences had little to fear.

That's what everyone says who wants to violate privacy. They forget that the privacy itself has value. I fear that my privacy will be violated, for no reason other than that I want privacy. Why do I want privacy? I don't have to justify that - wanting privacy is like wanting happiness. Why do you want happiness? There is no reason. Happiness and privacy are end-wants. People want other things, only because those other things provide happiness and privacy.

Well, it is for me anyway. Other people may have sensitive things that they want to do anonymously, without anyone finding out who they are, like criticizing a dictator. That's also a valid reason for privacy.

Re:Same shit as always (4, Insightful)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30628140)

Right. Taking away privacy is not necessary, in fact it's damn dehumanizing.

It's like being in a zoo, where you know everybody is pointing and laughing at you while you shit behind a wall of glass.

Imagine this: you're a soldier serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. You may be a colonel with 20 years of service or a lowly grunt with 2. You're a married man who obviously can't have sex, so you and your wife arrange to have a little private "pillow talk" over the phone. NSA agents pull up your private conversation [boingboing.net] for the "lulz", laughing their asses off at you even though you might die tomorrow for the very same government who is paying for them to watch you like a zoo exhibit and e-mail each other details of your sex life just as office workers do the latest jokes.

Fuck that, man.

Re:Same shit as always (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#30629902)

It's like being in a zoo, where you know everybody is pointing and laughing at you while you shit behind a wall of glass.

I don't think the animals in the zoo care one bit about shitting in front of people, or whether the people are laughing. Not being able to get out, or be in their natural habitat is an entirely different matter.

Re:Same shit as always (1)

arminw (717974) | more than 4 years ago | (#30629464)

....wanting privacy is like wanting happiness...
The United States Constitution says you have the right to PURSUE happiness, but it does not give you happiness itself. You have to work on that yourself. Why do you expect privacy is any different? There is no such thing as absolute privacy, if you're going to not live as a hermit in a forest somewhere. Law enforcers always have had the power to inspect communications, even in the days when snail mail and special couriers were the only means. Why are you upset that the same technology that has made it easier for you to communicate also has made it easier for your communications to be intercepted? If it can be done, it most likely will be done.

At least they don't have secret police (5, Insightful)

mc6809e (214243) | more than 4 years ago | (#30627984)

Re:At least they don't have secret police (2, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#30628206)

A more reasonable take is here [volokh.com]. Especially since The Volokh Conspiracy is a conservative-leaning libertarian blog, staffed mainly by law professors, that generally dislikes Obama, I'm going to suspect they have a better take on it. Also, a site mockingly named after a conspiracy is probably better than one like patriotroom.com that is deadly earnest about it.

Re:At least they don't have secret police (2, Interesting)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 4 years ago | (#30629196)

I hope no one reminds them about foreign embassies on US soil and diplomatic passports. No search and seizure there either, nor coming or going.

On a side note it is interesting that Interpol looks to be taking on a new role in providing policing capability and education in regions where military peace keeping activities are under way. It is wildly inappropriate to use military in a policing role for two reasons, the lack the proper training or the appropriate psychological profile and secondly they will bring home bad habits they pick up should they take up domestic policing (a growth in brutal and violent law enforcement where subservience is demanded with threats of violence).

When it comes to monitoring and surveillance a big shift is required with regards to what is kept and what is selectively edited out. All surveillance information should be kept, included that material counter to the case being investigated, not just selected for the prosecution edited highlights. 3 months of surveillance should produce 3 months of surveillance not just a few minutes worth that when edited and cut serves the prosecutions case, this should be considered as tampering with the evidence, tainting it and rendering it inadmissible.

Re:At least they don't have secret police (1, Interesting)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 4 years ago | (#30628212)

Why Does Interpol Need Immunity from American Law? [nationalreview.com]

Obama exempts INTERPOL from search and seizure on US lands [patriotroom.com]

Frankly, I wouldn't trust anything on either of those sites: The National Review of William Buckley's old magazine, which these days is just a neoconservative mouthpiece. As for patriotroom: sorry, but the word "patriot" is forever tainted with teabagger idiocy.

To me, those sites have as much credibility as Sesame Street.

Re:At least they don't have secret police (1)

legojenn (462946) | more than 4 years ago | (#30628342)

Were either of the National Review or patriotroom.com brought to you by the letters A & W, and the number 4?

Re:At least they don't have secret police (3, Funny)

witherstaff (713820) | more than 4 years ago | (#30628534)

Sesame street has a lot of real world politics subtly hidden within it. Kermit [wikipedia.org] was the CIA's man that disposed of the democratically elected government of iran to put in a puppet government. People don't appreciate how much a geopolitical fan Henson must have been.

Robert Newman [google.com] has a far funnier bit on Kermit and puppet governments.

Re:At least they don't have secret police (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30628538)

http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/genetic-fallacy.html

Hope this helps, have a nice day.

Re:At least they don't have secret police (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30628558)

Sounds like someone got teabagged by Elmo. (just spit that red fur out).

Re:At least they don't have secret police (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 4 years ago | (#30629204)

Since when is Sesame Street a fountain of lies? I always regarded Sesame Street as eminently credible. Their staff includes many leading figures in children's education. Sorry, can you provide citations of dishonest behavior on their part? I have no idea why you brought them into a discussion of vile politics and mudslinging.

Secondly, one of the things I learned from Sesame Street was that all ideas are equal, everybody is the same, and there are no right or wrong viewpoints, only different life experiences. Maybe you need a bit of that, as well.

Police versus Society (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30628262)

Is there *any* wonder that the citizenry and the Police are in utter disconnect in every single "Western Democracy".

What a pisser....I remember when it was nice to see a cop on the beat....now....well, I can't say lest I get anally raped for not showing "sufficient deference" :(

Scary Stuff (1)

koan (80826) | more than 4 years ago | (#30628394)

Wouldn't VPN or TOR make this sort of surveillance moot?
One wonders if all the home wireless networks whose owners never put a password on, would be a good place for "terrorist" to surf from (LOL sorry it's funny)...well...funny until interpol kicks in your door because the terrorist next door used your unsecured wireless networks.

"but I didn't do it"

Guilty until you can buy your innocence.

Re:Scary Stuff (1)

t0p (1154575) | more than 4 years ago | (#30628624)

Wouldn't VPN or TOR make this sort of surveillance moot?

It would make surveillance more difficult. Which makes this crap even crappier. You'd think that the people who really are up to no good are busy covering their tracks. So who are the spies spying on exactly?

Re:Scary Stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30629960)

Sure, until they decide that every encrypted connection needs a MITM, which I heard rumours of for the Australian Internet censorship stuff.

Also, the TOR network becomes much less useful if 90% of the nodes are run by the NSA or and the NZSIS has free access to the NSAs data.

Modern Laws for a Modern Society (3, Insightful)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 4 years ago | (#30628582)

I'm perfectly aware of the argument about privacy and why it's a good thing. I'm not sure others are aware of why privacy is a bad thing.

This kind of technology and power in the hands of a certain historical figure from 1930's Europe is indeed something that would worry many. In this day and age, conspiracy theorists aside, a majority of law abiding citizens should have no problem with this technology, provided they are educated and informed on its use.

This is no different than the conversation I had with my girlfriend's brother the other night. He recently got off probation and we were having the talk about cops and stuff while driving to a concert. He, of course, hates cops, and if he's doing things that are illegal, he should. If you aren't breaking the law, fear of law enforcement borders on irrational. And instead of a response coming back to me mentioning things like Rodney King, cli-Che Guevara, or some martyr of an oppressive militant dictatorship, why not spend some time reading about the countless times when some honest, moral, and ethical person's life was dramatically improved because of modernized laws in the hands of an honest, moral, and ethical society.

You see, there are idealists on the other side of the argument as well.

Re:Modern Laws for a Modern Society (1)

arminw (717974) | more than 4 years ago | (#30629546)

....improved because of modernized laws in the hands of an honest, moral, and ethical society....
I would like to know if there still is such a thing on this planet? I certainly would not think there is, judging by the 10 o'clock news every night. In fact I wonder if there has ever been such a thing on earth.

Re:Modern Laws for a Modern Society (1)

williamhb (758070) | more than 4 years ago | (#30630570)

This kind of technology and power in the hands of a certain historical figure from 1930's Europe is indeed something that would worry many. In this day and age, conspiracy theorists aside, a majority of law abiding citizens should have no problem with this technology, provided they are educated and informed on its use.

Normally I would agree with you, except for another very modern -- looking for "indicators" of future illegality rather than convictions for past illegality. This isn't just an issue of "terrorism", but anywhere that "safety" is a concern -- positive vetting for working with children, with the elderly, money, etc. UK legislation will very soon require a very large proportion of the population to be vetted as to whether they are safe to work with children -- possibly right down to the plumber who fixes the school toilets. It is not only convictions that would show up in that vetting, but also unproven accusations. That's right, in the UK you are no longer considered fully "innocent until proven guilty", but must be above reproach to be allowed to work in many roles. And some teachers' careers have been ended by false accusations. The same may soon be true for working in any job involving money. Now consider if those vetting organisations have access to your internet history, together with some statistics about the "surfing habits of registered offenders", and can see who has visited adult pornography sites (is that an indicator of risk to children?) or gambling websites (it that an indicator of potential fraud in the future?). For me personally, you're right and I probably don't have anything to fear -- I happen to lead as socially conservative a life as you're likely to find (just not interested in gambling, etc). But that doesn't mean I have no problem with surveillance inside the home -- the growing trend for the innocent being ruled out of society as "potentially guilty in the future" is something I do have a political problem with.

Not Big Brother anymore.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30629288)

So now we have to worry about Big SISter?

I'm suprised there isn't a tag for that by now :)

Re:Not Big Brother anymore.... (1)

twosat (1414337) | more than 4 years ago | (#30629550)

You read my mind. I just posted a reply further back along the same lines.

Waihopai spy base probably doing this already (4, Informative)

twosat (1414337) | more than 4 years ago | (#30629588)

New Zealand also has a major satellite communications spy base Waihopai, said to be part of ECHELON, a worldwide network of spy stations. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GCSB_Waihopai

Because everyone knows... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30629684)

Because everyone knows those Kiwis are a bunch of sheep-loving terrorists.

better start acquiring some extra man-power kiwis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30629830)

What a bunch of morons over there. They just oversaw the 1 major flaw in that scheme; how are you gonna deal with an excessive amount of information being sent over the interwebs? Certainly not using some fancy-schmancy heuristic algorithm; those are easily frustrated by some political incorrect keywords like CIA FBI DEA DoJ US AL Quada ACAB Fidel Raul Castro Mossad MI5, or using good ole PGP.

NZSIS? I have a suggestion for the service name (2, Funny)

MSBob (307239) | more than 4 years ago | (#30630010)

Grand Expanded Search of Telecommunications And Providers Online
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