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The John and Kim show; other GCSB oral submission highlights

I'm not sure if it will change the course of the GCSB Bill

But the tail end of Kim Dotcom's appearance before the Intelligence and Security Select Committee was hugely entertaining.

Following a surreal suggestion from the PM that the GCSB was outsourcing work to other agencies in the same way companies "outsourced" file storage to Megaupload (don't ask), Labour leader David Shearer asked Dotcom if he thought John Key "was aware of your activities before the raid took place."

"Oh he knew about me before the raid. I know about that," Dotcom replied.

Then he turned to the PM.

Cue the following exchange (see a TVNZ clip of it here): 

Key: I didn't know.

Dotcom: "You know I know."

Key: "I know you don't know. I know you don't know, actually, but that's fine."

Dotcom: "Why are you turning red, Prime Minister?"

Key: "I'm not. Why are you sweating?"

Dotcom: "It's hot. I have a scarf."

Key: Well, go and check what you filed*

Sadly the Prime Minister, who was chairing the committee, decided to wrap it up moments later (saying to Dotcom's back, "See you later, it's been fun").

A majority of committee members voted against giving Dotcom a second extension (he had already spoken an extra seven minutes for 22 total.).

The PM perhaps looked a touch keen to get things over with.

I was watching the livestream (TVNZ also livestreamed; dibs to both broadcasters). As the screen blanked as Dotcom left, John Banks could be heard saying, "If we'd given him another 10 minutes, that would have ended in abuse."

Perhaps he had already forgotten the past two minutes.

Earlier, Dotcom proved he was an equal opportunity sparrer. In a zinger aimed at committee members Shearer, Dunne, and Banks, he said the "spy cloud" (shared intelligence with other countries) meant "You can know everything about your opponents instantly. How much money someone has in their New York bank account; who leaked secret a secret government report to the media, or who called one of their donors to thank him for a political donation he later declared anonymous."

"Lied to all New Zealanders"
In a standup press conference immediately afterwards, Dotcom said he had evidence the PM did know about him before the raid, saying John Key had just "lied to all New Zealanders."

It was a bold accusation, but nothing knew. The giant German has long maintained the Prime Minister knew about him before his January 20, 2011 arrest.

The PM says there is no such evidence; Dotcom says it will emerge at his extradition hearing.

Like East Germany or China
Although Dotcom offered the most theatre, it was almost inevitable his appearance would sludge into an argument over his own case, as it did.

Earlier submitters were at times more articulate in critiquing the GCSB Bill.

Among them was Tech Liberty's Thomas Beagle, who said the legislation, which would expand the GCSB's brief to do domestic spying, goes beyond minor tweaking.

"We see it as a moment that changes New Zealand from being a society that investigates bad guys... to being a surveillance state where the Government is always watching and recording everyone just in case they are thinking about doing anything wrong" he said.

"We believe that this bill is a serious threat to New Zealand’s democracy. It enables the GCSB to engage in mass surveillance of the New Zealand people in a matter more fitting to East Germany or China"

Key said the GCSB Bill's cybersecurity provisions would help all New Zealand companies.

ABOVE: InternetNZ's Chalmers and Carter make their submission.

ABOVE: Mega CEO Vikram Kumar.

Tech Liberty's Thomas Beagle submits. 

Entrepreneur and software developer Michael Koziarski.

Kim Dotcom's full submission.

Another submitter, newly-minted InternetNZ CEO Jordan Carter, told the committee the GCSB was the wrong agency to deal with cybersecurity.

Beagle said on this point, "The GCSB’s new purpose of protecting NZ’s cybersecurity being used as an excuse to give them broad oversight and control of the country’s telecommunications networks." (Read his submission notes here).

Carter, joined by policy lead Susan Chalmers, also focused on the negative economic impact of the bill as the government sought to move more services online.

Chalmers also raised the issue of metadata, or anonymised data about data (for example, not recording a phone call, but capturing where you are when you make it, and who you call).

"Metadata should not be dismissed as something less important under privacy norms than the actual communication," Ms Chalmers said.

"Metadata can be more revealing about a person and their life than the person’s actual communications."

On encryption: point ...
The mood of submitters, and social media observers, was generally against the bill, but not exclusively.

Cloud computing consultant Ian Apperley (author of the recent post "How I learned to stop worrying and love PRISM") tweeted at one point: "John Key just slammed this. And he is absolutely bang on. if you don't like it, encrypt it. You can opt out of being spied on."

He later expanded to NBR, "One of the most interesting parts of yesterday’s submissions was when Internet NZ [CEO Jordan Carter and policy lead Susan Chalmers] were talking about the impact on the ICT Industry of the proposed legislation. One of the issues raised was that encrypted data is less able to be compressed than regular data and so we would use more of our bandwidth - a tenuous argument. The reason, they said, was that more and more people in New Zealand would choose to use encryption to protect themselves from spying.

"John Key seized on this, or had been very well briefed prior, and asked, 'Are you saying if people encrypt their communications the GSCB and other spy agencies can’t spy on them?'

"The answer was, 'Yes.' This led John Key to point out that people could then effectively opt out of spying by installing encryption tools. This is true, though of course not for everything."

... and counterpoint
Or maybe nothing. "The point that the that Mr Key made with respect to encryption failed to take into account the TICS Bill," Ms Chalmers later told NBR.

"Sections in the TICS Bill would require network operators and service providers to decrypt communications when they intercept them at the direction of the Prime Minister and the GCSB."

The two BIlls relate to each other quite significantly, the InternetNZ policy lead points out.

Apperley counters: "Decrypt communications? What with? A quantum computer and a decade of time?"

Well under the bill, all the major phone companies are deemed network operators - but the definition can also be extended to so-called over-the-top providers like Google and Microsoft, with their various services like Chat and Skype. But whether they would yield to a government request to decrypt - or leave a back door open - is another matter. Google and Microsoft were broadly hostile to the GCSB bill in their submissions. Some fear it's more likely they would give NZ a swerve rather than change their whole operation to meet an NZ law change.

* "What you filed"? "What you fold"? The last word of the PM's enigmatic quip in inaudible. Suggestions welcome. It's 20 seconds into this clip.

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Comments and questions

Wonder will the German make it to USA v ECUADOR.or will he go straight to Ecuador v Cuba.

Perhaps the President of Bolivia will give him a ride

"Red John" - bit of a stretch but "Pink John" might be a better summation of the state of the National Party now a days.

Well done Prime Minister.
Now for goodness sake just feed him to Uncle Sam and let's get on with life.

Wonder whether all MPs of opposition parties of the National Party like Labour, Green, Mana and your good self will be under surveillance once these proposed laws changes of the GCSB are passed... eh, John?

@John Morrison

So you think NZ should be the US's lap dog, do you?

John, Dotcom is trying to save you from yourself. You may not appreciate it now, but if corruption is legitimised by Key and his new bill, you soon will.

What absolute insanity. Allowing the FBI to try to extradite someone extra-judicially is accepting criminal behaviour that puts all people's liberty at risk. The entire FBI case is a farce and anyone in the NZ police force who acted on the supposed warrant from them without checking its validity legally should be fired and the arrested.

But you obviously like kowtowing to foreign powers in breach of what is right or legal.

Either he is calling the PM's bluff or he is merely setting the stage.

When's his extradition hearing?

It is scheduled for August, but has already been postponed three times, so don't hold your breath.

Given Dotcom has the resources to appeal all the way to the Supreme Court, the proceedings will drag on for some time.

Of course he is innocent, isnt he?

It is not whether he is guilty or not, it is whether the US has a case. They have failed in their own courts, and all charges fail to reach the 5 year threshold required for extradition. Ipso facto no extradition is legal. Thank you US government for wasting NZ taxpayers money, all for Obama to show support to his corrupt Hollywood backers. And remember mention Hollywood and JK will get all star struck and be willing to overturn NZ law just to get a photo op.

It's not Dotcom who is delaying it - it's the US and Crown Law

This is likely to drag on past the next election, at the request of this government.

John Banks might be able to lie to the public, but it's a crime to lie under oath. He will need have to hand his MP pass in, and Key will no longer have the numbers to pass legalisation; which is boarding on treasonous.

Ever wonder about NZ's democracy? You shouldn't now. It's a banana republic, controlled by the elite; and its plain to see.

We can only hope as innocent bystanding NZ citizens, that what goes round comes around.

Wow, his killer defence is that "the Prime Minister knew who he was before his arrest".

"Don't you know who I am". Actually, no I don't. You look like just another big-noter I don't really give a stuff about. Have you tried the restaurant at Hanmer Springs -you should fit right in.

I agree with John Morrison.

Airlift the German and his wife out - I'm sick to death of him and his ego. ...and send Norman with them!

How about you join them? Ignorant pontification with no knowledge of the facts helps no one

Riiiiight. Like you have a monopoly on facts? Actually, no. The man is as entitled to his opinion as anybody. You just get abusive because you don't like his opinion.

It's the fact that the comment alludes to Kim's ego when clearly the ego of your PM is the one that presents the greatest risk. Kim Dotcom owes NZ nothing. Key, on the other hand, owes us honesty and a more worldly view than comparing the outsourcing of our "security" to another agency to the outsourcing of file storage. It betrays his wilful ignorance, or worse - not so wilful...

Can't argue with that. The facts of the matter are, of course, yet to be borne out. When the facts are out there we will know who has and hasn't been honest.
In a sense that honesty component is a bit of a sideshow in that, no matter how you cut it, the government and it' departments have made a complete ballsup of the whole afair - and, yes, JK will need to answer for his bit of it.
Don't think Annonymous's comment added anthing or made any point other than to be abusive because he didn't agree with the point of view.

Hear, hear that good person. And if you're sending Russel, why not a few more like Hone, etc. Keep Winnie - he is good for a laugh.

John Key, please keep your kids off the NRB comments section.

What a farce. John Key might think he is the ringmaster but he is coming across as the clown.

Amazing to see and hear a convicted felon in Germany. Convicted under the name of Schmidts.Y et stand in our Parliament now, Mr Dotcom,and call our PM a liar. That being the case when he finally goes to America, as he is innocent of any wrong doing, the Americans will fast track him back to NZ. Only surprise is why does he continue to fight his extradition?

Don't forget most descendants of Kiwis and Aussies are actually ex-convicts....think before writing.

Perhaps you should think before you write. The word you should have used is "ancestor" not descendants. Take some history lessons -- not many convicts were sent to NZ.

Only the Aussies, NZ was never a penal colony. Though now it's a colony for US special interests...

Ah, actually, no, not correct at all. You are confusing NZ with Australia. Only a very small percentage of this coming from the UK to NZ were deemed to be convicts and certainly not "most" of either country. But, like you say, "think before writing".

"Most descendants of Kiwis ... are actually convicts"? Speak for yourself! The earlier Kiwis were not convicts, nor are their descendants. Don't confuse emigration to NZ with the Austalian penal colony. Besides which, your comment is clearly intended to refer to the term "ancestors", not desecendants. Think before writing yourself.

Sorry and correct, "ancestors" instead of "descendants", thanks again..

Why ... because you didn't. What a ludicrous statement.

The vast majority of Kiwis are not descendants of criminals. However, I cannot speak for the Australians.

What does his conviction have to do with whether or not JK is lying? Irrespective of any convictions, I would suggest that Dotcom is well qualified to comment on GCSB measures, and even more qualified to comment on whether JK is lying about the facts of his arrest.

Heard the media spokesperson say Dotcom was thinking of going into politics the year after next. Wonder what part of the world he will be living in then. A rule in NZ, no import should be able to be a NZ MP for at least 10 years after holding a NZ passport.

Both john & Kim are good men.
Good to see discussion between the two of them take place.

John Key has to be the most normal PM ever, love him.
Why are you sweating?
Gonna miss him when he goes back to his real job, cos he has been top drawer.

In that little Q&A it was Dotcom that answered the question honestly.


I refuse to take anything seriously from a man sweating that much and still wearing a scarf

Are we all back at primary school here?

The comment of a school yard bully

Top draw is where I keep my undies.

They'd make a good Laurel & Hardy.

I was thinking more of the two Ronnies.

My money is on DotCom. The PM's bungled this right the way through, and his coverup hasn't been any smarter.

News just out that Key performed a stunt only usually seen at Treaty of Waitangi submissions. If the chair doesn't like what's coming they cut the time slot short. So much for democracy.

He extended the time, not shortened it. When dot come moved to topics of his own piracy case issues the stopped him.

Rubbish - Dotcom was sent an email (copy available on twitter) that told him he had 25min. You can see on video Dotcom's surprise when sitting down and Key announces he has 15min starting now!

Wrong. The time alloted to Kim Dotcom was from 5.05 to 5.30. That was emailed to him in late June. Then, a couple of hours before his scheduled appearance, it was cut to 15 minutes. No reason given. All at the direction of the PM. All Kim Dotcom wanted was the 10 minutes given back, not a new 10 minutes.

It was shortened from his originally allocated 25 minutes, to 15 minutes. Anonymous is correct.

In the end, they let him go to 22 minutes.

How can you get the facts so wrong?

How can any fact be wrong?

What, I have to spell it out?
How could he represent something as a fact when clearly it is wrong?

Wrong fact = oxymoron.

If any in NZ believe John Key's claim that he had no prior knowledge of the raid on Dotcom, then no doubt you'll also believe in fairies at the bottom of the garden. He knew all right and his body language gives it all away. However, by the time of any extradition hearing (of which I doubt will ever happen), Key may well have left politics behind and/or, by that time, the public won't care when they are finally exposed to the truth. It is in the interests of both of these two individuals that this matter drags on for as long as possible. Key, because it will save his political backside, and for Dotcom, the longer it drags on the less likely he will be extradited, and the higher the payment coming his away, gratis of the NZ taxpayer.

JK says a lot with his body language and it's not good. The GCSB bill is clear violation of human rights. Terrorism is overstated and terrorists might think about not using computers. So all this will do is erode the individual's rights and their assumptions about privacy. And that's a biggie. If everyone knows an organisation is "watching" you, people will start to lose their individuality. They will behave differently. That is not something a government should dictate in a supposed democracy.

I noted re Twitter all thru the committee hearing, and see it again reading above, people getting mixed up with the charges Dotcom is facing, piracy, and what his appearance at yesterday's committee was about, which was nothing related: that is, GCSB, the abuses of the GCSB, and government spying on us.

On the piracy I've not got a lot of time for him. On issues regarding my privacy from the state, he was spot on.

Dotcom said he wouldnt sue remember.
"Let me out , Ill be good, I wont sue..."
Remember that when he calls Key a liar.

Right, because Kim Dotcom is our Prime Minister, so they are basically the same.

And I believe he said damages, not costs, which by the time this is over for him will be tens of millions likely.

I was at the Mega launch were Dotcom was asked if he would sue the government. He actually avoided directly answering the question. But on several occasions he has strongly implied he wouldn't sue, including his tweet that "We love it here & we don't want to burden tax payers."
Soon after, he pushed for and won the right to sue the police and GCSB over illegal spying and the bungled, illegal raid.
I guess he could argue the GCSB is a government agency, not the government, but it's splitting hairs. If he does win damages, tax payers still pick up the tab.

Chris you are right I believe but as New Zealand is a compensation driven society at every turn. It is only reasonable that the huge injustice done to Dotcom must be paid for. I hope then the taxpayer then demands reimbursement from the yanks for starting it all. Dotcoms goodwill for his new home has been stretched beyond all reason and he now deserves reimbursement for a ruined business.

I asked DC whether he would sue the NZ Government when he was aquitted. He suggested that he would to cover his massive legal costs and that he would donate anything in excess of this to NZ charities.

I sincerely hope that our new government, which will be office by the time that this happens, will as you suggest, go for the Yanks to recover said monies. It would be great to think that the good ol' US of A indirectly contributed 'MEGAbucks' to NZ charities!

Not likely, it's the GCSB that stuffed up here, not the US. If anyone will be footing the bill it will (and should) be us.

What we taxpayers should be demanding is higher standards and performance from all the various arms of government (of any colour) and the politicians we elect. I thoroughly believe that when all is said and done, we get the government and politicians that we as an electorate deserve. In the most part that leaves me feeling ptretty concerned for what that says about the NZ electorate.

I don't think it's an injustice. I think the police raid was entirely reasonable, given all the facts.
Let's say it went differently and his armed guards got narly and now we have some mums with lost sons? Would you still be going on?
We have an extradition treaty which we need to honour.
I don't believe we are doing that by prevaricating.
"Cast out the scorner and contention will cease."

Agree. To begin with, I never had much time for KD because I saw his business as a slick form of pirating; he was making his fortune on the backs of others. But, that all changed when the government -- yes, the government -- launched the massive police op against him. We now know the military-style invasion was made at the behest of US State Dept using the FBI.

Remember: the case against Dotcom is of a commercial/civil nature; it wasn't one that involved conspiracy to subvert or any global criminal enterprise. This was about the very grey area of what constitutes copyright infringement regarding file sharing of movies.

And that's why the proposed amendments to the -- fanciful -- GCSB needs close examination in the public arena. After all, its genesis lies with Robert Muldoon. And we now know why Muldoon established this -- redundant -- clandestine agency that was to be separate from the SIS: to dig up the dirt on his political enemies and those activists who he felt represented a threat to his hold on power.

Kim Dotcom needs to be compensated, big-time, for the wholesale -- and wholly unjustifiable -- seizure of his vehicles, the storming of his home and the psychological trauma suffered in being confronted by gun-toting half-baked Ninja turtles.

The bottom line is this: NZ does not need the GCSB. Whatever function it is engaged in can be performed by the SIS and/or a specialised police intelligence unit. Deploy the resources to tackling the drug manufacturers, importers, dealers, etc, not chasing spurious trench-coated spooks out to steal our latest dairy farming technology.

It's called strategy. Win the 'right' to sue and you can keep the animals in their cages and on the back foot. Doesn't mean you will sue.

JK looked very uncomfortable throughout the session with DC. You would think that with all the practice he has had, lying, he would be better at it than he is. Anyone who trusts this man with the power that he is seeking through the proposed changes is totally mad.

Thankfully, he has John Morrison to defend the undefensible and enough stupid, blind and ignorant Nat supporters to prop him up for a bit longer. If we had an effective opposition, he would be gone by now!

Yea, well, I guess I am one of those you just labelled as totally mad.
Point is, there isn't a viable opposition and National is the best we have got at the moment.
I trust JK more than bumbling Shearer (right, like you believe he didn't know he had over $US50k in an overseas account? Really?) or disengenuous Russel. I'd suggest that if you trust either of those two more that JK, it is you who is barking.

Agree re Shearer. I can't imagine not remembering $50k is an offshore account, either - totally incredible! But that is not the point. Shearer is not PM and is not trying to implement a change in the law. GCSB broke the law and changing it to accommodate their actions under the supervision of a very shonkey John Key is!

The shonkey donkey show continues. Johnny Boy will have face the real world one day and man up to his BS.

The encryption point needs to be seen in the context of the TICS legislation, where encryption systems generally will be required to be intercept-ready or similar. And as I pointed out at the hearing, we may be able as end points to secure our communications - but that leaves the whole problem of meta-data unaccounted for.

Not sure why the chap thought the encryption/congestion issue is tenuous - perhaps based on the volume assumed to be being low. That's as may be, but depends on how much people's behaviour changes.

So all you righteous Dotcom disciples and America haters, if your man is the paragon you think he is, explain to me why he doesn't go to the US, face the music, perform his circus tricks for the media over there, win his court battle, sue them for gazzilions in various types of damages, and then wing his merry way back to NZ. If he is so innocent, and principled, that would seem the obvious thing to do, wouldn't it?


1. Treatment of Bradley Manning
2. Likely coming treatment of Snowden
3. Ongoing attempts to get Julian Assange
4. The whole shenanigans that resulted in the FBI being involved, lobbyists pressuring Washington for action, and helicopters swooping into Coatesville over ... of all things ... copyright infringement?

Really, does he really think he will be treated fairly in the US? Do you?

MD, what do you think will happen to anyone, innocent or not, who has embarrassed the obscenely wealthy movie moguls and corrupt officials of the US?

That's fairly naive. The major flaw in your thinking is that you assume Dotcom can get a fair trial in the US or fair dealing with the NZ government.

NZers have had their eyes opened by this saga of corruption and deceipt at the highest levels in little old NZ.

Labour will be back in power after the next election. Johnny Boy will resign in disgrace before the next election, after further revelations get revealed.

God forbid!

I've gotta say, I really don't care if Key knew of Dotcom or not. Frankly, who cares?

So Dotcom has just figured out the spy agency can work out what people have in their bank accounts - so why is it that my accountant reminds me to provide what I have in my bank accounts that I have in a number of countries where I work. Well, apparently the IRD have been able to do just that for a while and regularly share information internationally. As to who leaked documents, why ask the spy agency? Just ask David Shearer or your friendly journalist, or just watch your TV.

it is quite easy to find information about a given person when you know who they are - quite a lot more difficult to find people you don't yet know who they are but suspect there are people out there up to no good. Which is exactly why they want to capture a lot of info and only use it when they have a specific target who is putting us at risk. A bit like the bombers in London - they could track their movements after the fact - but this is still valuable.

Dotcom is a wealthy individual up to games for his own purposes and certainly has no interest in our welfare.

It is a difficult thing to balance our individual freedoms with our collective protection.

If Labour, instead of calling "inquiry, inquiry" like a bunch of Mullahs inciting America flag burning, set out to contribute and help build a law that meets requirements we might get somewhere.

Sometimes I would just wish Parliament did things for us collectively. Especially these difficult things.

John Key: People can opt out of being spied on by encrypting their communications.

Seriously, did our prime minister really utter such words?

Big problems:

1. He believes the government should by default spy on its citizens' communications, and citizens should have to opt out of this if they don't want to be spied on. What the? How is this a good thing?

2. The NZ Herald recently ran a feature noting that some major messaging platforms (e.g., Apple) could become illegal because the provider is not able to decrypt the communications for the NZ government. So, is this true, and what John Key has said is effectively untrue, or what?

3. Does John Key seriously believe that those looking to undertake criminal activity will not encrypt their communications and "opt out" of being spied on? If he does not believe this, he's a bit thick. If he does believe criminals will opt out, then effectively the bill is intended much more to enable spying on everyday New Zealanders, because they will be the only ones affected.

Key's argument makes no sense.

Does anyone still believe that this prime minister is good at telling the truth?

Good to see him meet his match - as all the National Party MPs do is touch their forelocks.

John Key rules, OK?

Isn't it about time we simply stopped pretending we have a democracy?

As Nick Smith proudly said..(it's on record) when the PM says "Jump.." he asks how high...

I thought John Key showed arrogance and was ill-mannered when confronted by Dotcom. I expect more from a leader who is comfortable when challenged publicly.

The issue is trust and I perceive public trust in politicians generally is in decline, which makes it harder to convince electors on controversial issues.

On checking out Dotcom's track record, everywhere he has lived he has created controversy. Or, in a nutshell, he is bad news.

Controversy is the spice of life. Refusing to be bullied by illegal government actions and standing up to the NZ justice system takes some balls. If NZ had more Dotcoms the country would be far stronger for it.

Quite right. Of course, the whinger must have plenty of money and a police record. Seems Dotcom qualifies on both counts. He has plenty of practice all around the world as a self-righteous pest.

Check out John Key's track record, broadly, his sounds much the same.

Re "...if people encrypt their communications the GSCB and other spy agencies can’t spy on them?"

The spies can still get the meta data and store that in big databases forever, mixing it with other meta data. That's what makes meta data potentially worse than decrypting a single communication.

Secondly, why should people have to opt out in the first place? Why aren't we questioning the fundamental assumption that it is OK to spy on everyone all the time "just in case" it is required sometime in the future? No probable cause required.