Google
 

Aardvark Daily

New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 24th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

Content copyright © 1995 - 2018 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at aardvark.co.uk



Please visit the sponsor!
Please visit the sponsor!

Welcome to New Zealand Comrade!

19 March 2018

No tech stuff today but further evidence that we live in a country which, at times, is as bad as the former soviet union when it comes to respecting the rights of its citizens.

I'm talking about this story that ran last week on Stuff.

I doubt that any sane, thinking person is surprised by the decision of the IPCA and the Privacy Commissioner in respect to this case but what does beggar belief is the total lack of censure being handed out in the wake of this event.

Both the Privacy Commissioner and the Independent Police Complaints Authority have slammed the actions of police in this matter -- yet we do not hear that those responsible are being fined, imprisoned or punished in any measurable way.

Why the hell not?

If I set up a road-block and demanded (with menaces) that people give me their names, addresses and other information, I would be locked up for sure.

If I fraudulently represented myself as having the legal right to stop you on the highway and demand such information without having any such authority, I would also surely be dragged through the courts and suffer some form of punishment for my offending.

Yet, when the police, an organisation that relies on the trust and respect of the public to better carry out its role, chooses to do exactly this, they're effectively given a "get out of jail free" card.

Personally, I see little point in having the IPCA or the Privacy Commission or any regulatory authority investigate the actions of police or other government agencies if, even when they're found to be acting "unlawfully", there are no consequences for those who made the conscious decisions that resulted in such actions.

We have seen, time and time again, that there is no censure for those who operate under the protective cloak of a "government agency" so why are we engaging in the ridiculous charades that have surrounded:

  • the unlawful raid on Kim Dotcom's mansion
  • the unlawful surveillance of NZ residents by the GCSB
  • the unlawful detention of NZ residents during the Ururewa raids
  • the unlawful stopping of those attending a euthanasia meeting
  • etc, etc, etc

So long as there are no consequences to such "unlawful" actions then we're just wasting taxpayers' money engaging in these investigations and judgments.

And surely, in a free democracy, we as the people who are inevitably the victims of such "unlawful" actions on the part of the state, have a right to demand that those who dare to break the laws are subject to punishment for their crimes.

Why is it that when members of the public break the law it's deemed an "illegal act" but when government agencies do exactly the same it's redefined as an "unlawful act"?

Why does "illegal" often involve a stiff fine or custodial sentence but "unlawful" rarely if ever involves any punishment for those who made the decisions and carried out the acts?

Sorry... but I believe that this simply isn't good enough.

If the Nuremberg defence wasn't good enough for the post-WW2 trials, I don't think it should be good enough for civil servants here in NZ and those who gave the orders to carry out an illegal act should be dismissed from their job, at the very least.

Sadly however, I see nothing changing any time soon.

The average Kiwi really doesn't give a damn about his fellow citizen and lacks the empathy to say "that's bad, we must do something". The government of the day isn't going to take the bold move of sorting this mess out either -- because they're far too beholding to the mountain of civil servants who would then lose their "get out of jail free" card as a result.

So we will just continue believing the myth that we are protected from the excesses of the state and some of its more rogue elements -- something that is patently untrue because we do not punish the worst offenders.

The Soviet Bloc may have been bad... but at least there was no fake pretense of protection from the state there. Here in NZ, we just refuse to admit that on occasion, we're every bit as bad as 1970s Russia was.

Please visit the sponsor!
Please visit the sponsor!

Have your say in the Aardvark Forums.

PERMALINK to this column


Rank This Aardvark Page

 

Change Font

Sci-Tech headlines

 


Features:

Beware The Alternative Energy Scammers

The Great "Run Your Car On Water" Scam

 

Recent Columns

What is wrong with Elon Musk?
Everyone knows of Elon Musk...

Are we being LED astray?
LED lights are the future... right?...

Court: Kodi streams OK, caching not
Some time ago, SkyTV took a case to court claiming that preloaded Kodi boxes were illegal and breached copyright...

Proof that politicians are idiots
I've written several columns on this whole issue of the "Amazon Tax" and in each one I have suggested that the government is dreaming if it thinks overseas companies will play ball...

DIY tech projects... still a thing?
At present I'm scoping several tech projects for featuring in my YouTube channels and I'm hoping that the spirit of tech-DIY is still alive and well...

Blurring the line
One advantage of being a bit under the weather is that it has given me time to get more familiar with the new editing and compositing software I'm recently purchased...

A matter of taste
One of the least-mentioned but most annoying aspects of having Parkinson's is that you lose your sense of smell...

Dotcom, a victim of our justice system?
The Court of Appeals has thrown out an attempt by Kim Dotcom to overturn a lower-court decision that he be available for extradition to the USA on charges of copyright infringement, fraud and such...

What did I miss?
Woohoo... I finally got a proper night's sleep! ...

First! (again)
I had to laugh this week when I read a news story claiming that the first ever trans-Atlantic drone flight was about to take place...

Has Google just bricked its devices worldwide?
Do you have one of those new-fangled "Google Home" speaker things (like Alexa) or a Google Chromecast?...