(Original post July 2013, for some unidentified reason WP re-dated this post when I edited a couple of typo’s during the summer.)

I realise that many readers of this blog will think that I am merely an artsy, stroppy feminist with too many opinions traversing policy areas across the spectrum. This is a deliberate strategy that I have undertaken for this stream of publication.

So to ‘break the fourth wall’, I am now going to give you a little of my IRL specifics, in order that what I say about the GCSB Bill now before the House in New Zealand, has a little more validity.

I have been around the IT industry in our country since my early university days. Yep, I failed Comp 101, because it bored me rigid, rather than not understanding how to write binary code. I didn’t want to end up working with those kinda people, doing that kinda work. My sister is of a different personality type, and she loved it, and has had a twenty-five-year career (and counting) in IT, as has my ex-husband. It was during my marriage that I learned most of what I know about the internet, due to contracts my then-husband was working on for his employer, a major MNC which operates in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

Don’t kid yourselves that there is anything ‘private’ about what you do on the net.

Don’t buy into the idea that you are ‘a consumer’, the internet is ‘a product’, nor that it is there to entertain you.

What we now call the internet began as Arpanet and DArpanet, projects of the USA Department of Defense, in collaboration with research projects at hand-picked Universities in the USA. It was originally an IT research program to create a secure way of transmitting and collecting data for the DOD. These days, we’d call that an intranet, similar to the kind of WAN that operates inside most corporations for administrative purposes.

The Bill going through our Parliament at the moment is a stage of DOD ‘taking back’ the internet from public use. Surveillance and transmission of surveilled data was always the primary purpose of the net; the Patriot Act in 2001, followed by Terrorism Suppression legislation in most global jurisdictions, was a first attempt to ‘plug the holes’. Creating crimes of knowledge, of dissemination of information, was the beginning of a global campaign by DOD to regain domination of the medium of internet traffic.

It is obvious in the trial of Chelsea Manning, the attempts to smear and discredit Julian Assange of Wikileaks, the hunting down of Edward Snowden (still on-going), that the DOD is very serious about extending its’ capacities to control activities outside the borders of the USA.

This is a breach of the sovereignty of every other nation on earth, and most people are just going to sit by and watch as it happens, not making the connections to totalitarian control of their own lives.

So, on these grounds, I urge every thinking citizen of Aotearoa/New Zealand to join in the protests against the GCSB Bill that is before the House. There is a nationwide protest organised for Saturday 27th July 2013, all events beginning at 2pm.
Because this is only the thin end of a wedge that will see a totalitarian surveillance society established in every nation in the world, if we, the people, do not stop it. It’s too late to make submissions, but this is something anyone can do.
Events in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Dunedin, Napier are listed on FB and there is also a general group for discussion. (outlinks)

Our MP’s have spoken out against this Bill – here on frogblog and here and here on the main Greens website.

If you want to access the submissions that went to the Select Committee hearings, they can be found here (pdf to download).

If you want to view the submissions made during the hearings, video has been uploaded to You-tube. (outlinks)
Submitters Thomas Beagle, from Tech Liberty, Susan Chalmers and Jordan Carter from Internet NZ, Micheal Koziarski, Vikram Kumar, Simon Terry, all made submissions as working professionals contracting in the IT industry.
Keith Locke and Kate Dewes and Robert Green (nuclear disarmament activists) made submissions on the political aspects of the Bill.

Keith with Damian and Wallace

Keith with Damian and Wallace

Wednesday night at the Back Benches pub across from Parliament is turning into a bit of a regular affair for the youth wings of most of the parties – last night was no exception as Young Greens (and a few older folk) turned out to support Green MP Keith Locke, who is leaving Parliament at this election after twelve years of service as a Member. The panel consisted of Labour Deputy PM, the Hon Annette King, and National’s MP for Wairarapa, John Hayes, along with Keith. Minor cameo to Labour candidate for Wairarapa, civil liberties lawyer Michael Bott, who propped up the bar while enjoying John Hayes increasingly uninformative responses.

It’s been an interesting week in politics – Suffrage Day on Monday, 19th September got a mention, along with our figures for gender pay inequity; there is of course the rushing through of the Search and Surveillance Bill under urgency, which got quite a bit of time; and lest we forget, Rugby was a winner on the night too, especially for Tonga up in Northland Stadium. Sex education had been a hot topic over the weekend papers, so convicted paedophile Graham Capill’s former colleague from United Future party, now the leader of the Kiwi Party, was dragged in to discuss the ‘christian’ position on just how much adolescents going through puberty need to know about what the changes in their bodies mean. I wonder if he supports the concept that children should have the right to tell an adult not to sexually abuse them? Oh, that’s right, if they don’t know the words to use to name sexual acts, they can’t complain about them? Yeah right …. Young Labour supporters were sensible and coherent by comparison, speaking very well about what kind of sex education adolescents need.

Police Association president Greg O’Connor got his fifteen minutes to defend the illegal actions of Police officers, to the noisy disapproval of a large proportion of the crowd. Got very close to contempt of Court by criticising the Supreme Court decision, but then pulled himself up when asked for clarification by Damian Christie. Fascinating. The arrogance of sworn officers who maintain that their criminal activity is different to any other citizen’s criminal activity is mind-blowing.

But don’t take my word for it, feel free to watch the episode on TVNZ On-demand here.

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