GCSB Protest Meeting

The Herald reports:

Auckland’s Town Hall filled with hundreds of supporters to hear legal experts and Opposition politicians speak out against the bill tonight.

The Government Communications Security Bill is expected to pass its committee stages and third reading this week with a one-vote majority.

Speakers took to the stage for seven minutes at a time to explain why they believed the Bill was flawed and unnecessary.

“Well this is what democracy looks like”, MC Martyn `Bomber’ Bradbury told a Town Hall at full capacity.

“Tonight we hear the other side of the argument.”

It’s impressive to fill the town hall up. I was in Auckland yesterday and saw posters all around town for it.

I wouldn’t say that people haven’t heard the other side of the argument though. I’d say most people have only heard the “other” (anti) side of the argument. Interesting that TVNZ did a live stream of the meeting. Would they also live stream a protest meeting against say a carbon tax?

Orcon founder Seeby (EDS: correct) Woodhouse said the National Party mistook George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984 as a guide book.

While New Zealand was rated as the “free-est country in the world” that would change if the GCSB bill passed, he said.

“We must lead the world … we must do it again.”

With respect to Seeby, I doubt our rating will change at all.

The remainder of the committee stage will be debated this afternoon and evening, and I expect the third reading will occur tomorrow.

Also of relevance is:

Prime Minister John Key said last night that Opposition members of the Intelligence and Security Committee would be able to find out how many times the GCSB spy agency had received warrants to intercept the content of communications under its cyber security function.

Mr Key said that under changes to the bill, every year the number of warrants issued in categories would be declared to the Intelligence and Security Committee, which included the leader of the Opposition, David Shearer, and his nominee, Greens co-leader Russel Norman.

“At that committee, somebody would be able to ask the very obvious question – ‘when it comes to cyber security, have any warrants been issued that sought to look at content for New Zealanders?”‘ he said.

What I’d find useful is someone doing a side by side comparison of what would the law be if the bill did not pass, and did pass. People may be surprised by what such a comparison would show.

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