Friday, July 12, 2013

Submarine Bells

It was well worth rooting the data cap to watch the Nethui panel on state surveillance the other day. Big bang for buck was also had with Campbell Live's long form look into the time line, hard power, and soft targets behind the GCSB Bill.

Stuff covered the Nethui revelations with the Koru Club angle. On them, even if Ferguson was stating the bleeding obvious there. Hospo is a great way to meet the movers and shakers and check the vibe. That's how I bumped into Ferguson, after all. Long live the tolerable level of chaos known as food and beverage, lest the Soccer Mum puritans shut them all down.

One thing is clear from the panel debate, and reinforced by the Campbell Live piece. There needs to be a review of the security services before any expansion of their powers. They have lost public confidence.

This began long before John Key fucked the dog for Hollywood, although that certainly didn't help. As with any secret squirrel department, only the really stupid security screw ups make it into the public arena. All the rest get buried deep. The public is left to judge SIGINT incompetence over the stuff that can't be hidden, such as the Munchausen fantasist Stephen Wilce, or the creative enhancement of Maryanne Thompson's PhD going under the radar.

The Kitteridge Report backed up what Ferguson said about Wolfensohn, a spymaster overburdened by mission sprawl, and marooned by singular knowledge. Sage counsel is sorely needed. Any oversight panel should remain in the Judiciary, and not be subject to the prime minister's whim as the current Bill wishes. I would suggest not only a retired High Court Judge, but a current Supreme Court and High Court judge sit on any oversight panel. Hell, I'd even be happy with District Court Judge and IT wonk David Harvey helping keep an eye on things.

Paul Buchanan's comments over the dangers of NZ withdrawing from or reforming Five Eyes are worth bearing in mind. His comments regarding NZ having a bob each way over the US China thing is relevant too. Having gone through the Cold War experience, neutrality might be worth a go in the future. Dithering is not going to be an option.