The John and Kim show; other GCSB oral submission highlights

Dotcom fronts for his 15 minute submission
A full-court PR press from Dotcom saw family, flying and fueling photos ...
... as he and wife Mona made their way to Wellington by chopper.
Re-fuelling bill in Whanganui: $500.

KeallHauled

Chris Keall

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 TV3.co.nz 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.

ckeall@nbr.co.nz

* "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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87 Comments & Questions

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

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Perhaps the President of Bolivia will give him a ride

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

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

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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?

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@John Morrison

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

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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.

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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.

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

When's his extradition hearing?

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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.

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Of course he is innocent, isnt he?

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

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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.

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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...

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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?

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

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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.

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

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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".

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"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.

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

Bam!

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

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Are we all back at primary school here?

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The comment of a school yard bully

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Top draw is where I keep my undies.

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They'd make a good Laurel & Hardy.

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I was thinking more of the two Ronnies.

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

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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.

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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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How can you get the facts so wrong?

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