Editorial: Definitely too much information

By Andrew Austin


Don't get me wrong, I am all for national security.

I want the country, our communities and my family to be safe and for this part of the world to be free from terror and mayhem, but I am worried about the Government Communications Security Bureau Bill before Parliament.

Prime Minister John Key says the legislation is "absolutely necessary to make sure that we have national security at the level I'd like to see it".

He may want it at a level he would like to see it, but I certainly don't. It seems intrusive and could give the state far too much access to our private lives.

The old line of "If you don't have anything to hide, then you have nothing to fear" also does not cut it.

This piece of legislation, if it becomes law, will extend the powers of the spy agency and allow certain information to be provided to the New Zealand Police, Defence Force and the Security Intelligence Service.

I grew up in a country that used to spy on its citizens and used information obtained as a reason to torture, terrorise and even kill its opponents. Now I am not suggesting New Zealand will ever get as bad as apartheid South Africa was, but it does make me wary of a government having unlimited access to information about us.

Recent revelations that emails and text messages of two journalists in New Zealand were obtained by government agencies may not be directly related to the proposed legislation, but they are an example of just how vulnerable we as citizens of this country could be if wide ranging powers are given to the spy agency.

The government may have the noblest of intentions with this legislation, but the simple fact is that it does not need to know everything about us.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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