Wednesday 31 July 2013

The GCSB: Big Bro Is Watching You

In a direct follow-up to my previous post, my latest print design is out now on CafePress:

And what better way to kill two birds with one stone? Both the reality TV series The GC, and the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) are right now prime objects of scorn. The former, because it's a Jersey Shore rip-off at heart. And the latter, because the New Zealand Government is extending the powers of the cyber-snooping agency onto its own citizens.

The revelation that investigative journos have been placed on a Defence Force list of subversives can only pour petrol on an already burning issue - the issue of mass surveillance, which seems to be getting to the point where it's breaking out of the beltway and into the public consciousness. With enough momentum, it could even become the No Nukes of the Smartphone Age.

There are genuine terrorist threats to chase after - but the beefing up of the GCSB's powers is less about countering terrorism, and more about senior political figures trying to save both their arses and their faces at once. The sinking of the Rainbow Warrior by French secret agents - the first and only international terrorist attack in NZ - was quickly solved with good old-fashioned police detective work. Some degree of beefed-up security agencies was a given in the wake of 9/11, but there comes a turning point where temporary states of emergency become permanent ones, and that's where the misuse and abuse starts.