Friday, June 12, 2015

"Nothing to hide? Nothing to fear." Unless you're the Prime Minister

Well this is interesting. Apparently the Prime Minister disposes of his cellphone every three months because he's concerned about people snooping through his text messages.

The irony of this is palpable, given his government has previously passed legislation which allows our own security services to wiretap just about any text-message they please ... while those wonderful American "allies" and friends of his have apparently been doing exactly that to the vast majority of txts sent in New Zealand anyway.

So it's little wonder the Prime Minister's feeling a bit concerned about his own privacy. He knows EXACTLY how violated the privacy of our digital communications is for the rest of us.

Because he's the one that allowed it to happen.

Now I've been in this position before, myself. And I can tell you that there are few things more terrifying than having a detective from the counter-terrorism division of the Special Investigations Group of the NZ Police, accompanied by a spook from the state's intelligence services (who insists on wearing sunglasses and a hoodie even while *inside* your house) ... sitting directly across from you in your living room and telling you that you've been under wiretap surveillance for the previous 18 months.

You suddenly realize that your *entire* life has been laid bare to the state.

Every fight with your parents down a phone-line; every flirtatious text you've sent your then-girlfriend; and every dodgy joke or emotional crisis you've flicked through facebook to a mate.

They've read it all. Archived it, and logged it.

And then it hits home. You've been targeted by that security and surveillance apparatus - not because you're a bad person, or some evil ISIS recruiter ... but because your politics and your personal beliefs were seen as a "Threat to National['s] Security".

The very edifice of state which we've built to keep us safe - to protect us, and to look after us - has turned into some gigantic glowing Eye of Sauron capable of peering into the deepest, darkest and most intimate corners of your private life.

And it's aimed itself at you.

So I'm glad that Key gets a small taste of that. And I'm especially glad it's been big enough to ensure he has to take countermeasures to protect himself from the possibility it's happening to him, too.

Because he's made it so that all the rest of us have to deal with that paranoia every day and with every text message, ourselves

Serves him right.

I can't help but wonder if there's anything more interesting than a string of texts to Cameron Slater that'd turn up if you were to bug his phone...

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