Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Story of Surveillance

Charles Ives only fitfully found an audience. His was a life of rejection, struggle, redemption. His big break: being weaponized in the Cold War... Velvet Tevolutions

The Transparency Trap

Why trying to make government more accountable has backfired

As time runs out. Rarely does a writer knowingly record his last words. And yet writing does tend to focus the mind on posterity... Scholars

Kim Dotcom, Glenn Greenwald, and New Zealand’s Intelligence Service, GCSB

As New Zealanders will know, Kim Dotcom, a resident of New Zealand, is a very, very imposing German tech entrepreneur with a shady past, who has lately been the subject of much official attention from the US and NZ authorities (including jail time), for his facilitation of large scale worldwide copyright breaches via the file sharing service, “megaupload”, now expropriated and closed down.
Here’s the sort of place one saw megaupload in its heyday; along with many other file sharers, it provided a great way to knock off bloggers’ e-books, such as Econned, by one Yves Smith:
Megaupload CaptureYou may assume that “Naked Capitalism” is not a massive fan of Kim Dotcom.
Dotcom, who now has a major bone to pick with the New Zealand authorities, has been promising election-influencing revelations about John Key, to be released on the 15th September. Just now, the pre-publicity went up many, many notches, with a huge assist from the redoubtable Glenn Greenwald, who is attending the Dotcom shindig on the 15th:
The Prime Minister has admitted for the first time that New Zealand spies did look into a form of mass surveillance on Kiwis, but never actually went through with it.
John Key was responding to the arrival of journalist Glenn Greenwald, with thousands of documents taken by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden that he says prove New Zealanders have been subjected to wholesale spying by the Government.
Mr Key has always said that he would resign if that was proven, but tonight he’s launched a counterattack.
Mr Greenwald claims he will produce evidence that could take down the Prime Minister, but just a short while ago Mr Key hit back and upped the ante big time, promising to get ahead of Mr Greenwald and declassify top-secret documents that will prove him wrong.
Key is on the record with the resignation promise here. I suppose it’s not terribly surprising how suddenly the national security rationale for having those documents classified in the first place can evaporate, when a Prime Ministerial career might be at stake. Realistically, though, if there’s anyone left in New Zealand who thought national security issues ranked way ahead of party politics, they probably have funny ideas about Santa Claus too.
We now have a handy equivalent for the verb “leak”, as well: “declassify”.
In a day or two, New Zealanders will get to see whether they think John Key’s hasty declassification trumps Greenwald’s leak, and whether it matters. Greenwald, in this interview, sounds very confident, but then, that’s his style:
United States journalist Glenn Greenwald says there are serious questions about whether the New Zealand Government was truthful about the GCSB law change.
“What I can tell you is that the statement that the GCSB made to New Zealand citizens last year — ‘We do not engage in mass surveillance of New Zealanders’ — is one that is not truthful.”
The Government engages in “extraordinary amounts of analysis of metadata – meaning who’s talking to whom for how long, where they are when they speak – on a massive, indiscriminate scale, not just internationally but of New Zealanders as well”.
He says New Zealand is an active member of the Five Eyes Alliance and spends an extraordinary amount of resources on electronic surveillance.
“…Every single thing that the NSA does that we have been reporting on over the last year and a couple of months involves New Zealand directly.”
Eyes down for the 15th, then.
Updates: Clever interview with Greenwald in New Zealand.  TVbarnstorming about the Internet, the TPP, NZ democracy and Kim Dotcom, by Dotcom’s lawyer.