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Aardvark Daily

New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 19th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

Content copyright © 1995 - 2015 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at aardvark.co.uk



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Rights? Just a memory

5 March 2015

We know the Prime Minister lies, he's proven that time and time again during his time at the top.

His assurance yesterday that he could guarantee Ed Snowden's imminent revelations would be wrong was almost certainly just another in his long list of nasty deceptions aimed at duping NZers and covering up some nasty dealing on the part of government.

What has surprised me is that he even dared to be so bold as to expect people to believe him. Even more surprising is that so many actually have fallen for his assurances or think it's quite acceptable to engage in wholesale spying on our neighbours and then share that information (calling it intelligence would be too kind) with the USA.

I wonder if he'd be so enthusiastic if the neighbours in his street were bugging his bedroom and reading his mail -- I suspect not.

But wait... it gets worse!

NZ Customs are now lobbying government to give it a right to demand passwords and decryption keys from hapless travelers.

I have no doubt that this power will be given to them without hesitation and when it is, there goes another right to privacy.

Of course we'll be told that being able to read every bit and byte on a traveler's laptop, smartphone or other electronic device is essential if we're to prevent more violent terror attacks on NZ soil. After all, there have been so many of them haven't there?

However, if you stop and think about it, it's probably a sensible move -- since Key's decision around the sending of troops to train fighters against ISIS has almost certainly just bumped NZ significantly higher on the "list of important targets".

I did hear a very smart commentator on NatRad a week or so ago talking about this issue of our troops training fighters against ISIS. They made the very relevant point that in that part of the world, everyone (even kids) already know how to fire an AK47 and what's required is not military training but political reform. Without the latter, the former is a complete waste of time and unnecessary risk to Kiwi's lives.

So how do readers think of having to surrender the access and decryption codes for their electronic devices when passing through Customs?

Only those with something to hide have anything to fear?

Or... do you believe that the right to privacy is an inalienable human right that should not be dismissed so quickly by governments who very actions have created the situation where such moves are required to ensure the safety of the nation?

I was walking down the street the other day and I realised just what we, as citizens and people of the planet, have lost.

It's starting to look as if there is no end in sight for the list of losses we must incur in the face of a war against commonsense and rights that governments of the world are currently engaged in.

To be honest, I'm increasingly happy that I'm getting old. With luck, I'll be long-gone before the disenfranchised peoples of the world rise up against their oppressive governments and the excrement hits the rotary air agitator.

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