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New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

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Government digs deeper into our privacy

1 August 2019

If you're worried that the government has eroded much of your privacy in the name of security then be prepared to get a whole lot more concerned.

If this story is to be believed, the NZ government seems keen to get a backdoor and a right to spy on Kiwis using otherwise secure messaging services such as as WhatsAp and iMessage.

I'm sorry Jacinda but you can stick that idea where the sun doesn't shine (excuse the visuals running through your head after reading that).

When you take away people's right to privacy, you take away their humanity.

We are not objects in a test-tube to be constantly watched, listened to and observed. We are individuals with the right to freedom of expression, freedom of thought and the right do do these things without behing accountable to a bunch of suits in a room somewhere who somehow believe they deserve to be "in" on every conversation we have.

But if our politicians still think they have a right to snoop on our every thought, word and movement, I've got an offer to make them.

Jacinda, Mr Little and all the other pro-snooping politicians. I'll gladly let you monitor my activities, conversations, thoughts and movements on one condition.

You let us, the public, do the same of you.

Let's see webcams in your bedrooms, toilets and bathrooms.

Let's see microphones catching your every word and let's have all of your emails posted to Facebook so that everyone can savour each and every golden word and nuance.

What's that?

This is not acceptable to you?

Then why the hell do you think that we, the public of NZ who you are elected to SERVE, should find it acceptable that you wish to do this to us?

I'm sorry but in a free and democratic society (as opposed to the socialist, facist dystopian world we seem to be drifting into), individuals should have the right to choose whether they wish to surrender their human rights (such as privacy) in order for the promise (often undelivered) of security.

And no, the granularity of a general election does not count as giving us a choice in the matter, since our "rainbow" of political parties consists really of little more than slightly differing hues of the same basic colour.

Perhaps, if our MPs are so scaredy-cat that they can't handle the risks that are associated with protecting the right to privacy, then THEY should consider finding a different country in which to live. China, North Korea or perhaps some Middle Eastern nation would better suit their phobias and misguided belief that surrending privacy produces greater security.

I'm pretty sure that there isn't a single, solitary person out there who doesn't have at least one private thing they would rather the world (or its leaders) didn't know about -- not because it is illegal, immoral or even distasteful, but simply because privacy is an inalienable part of humanity. We must not let our political overlords strip this from us under the false claim that they're doing it for our own good.

As they say in the song: "I'd rather die on my feet than live on my knees"

What do readers think?

Are these recent moves which demand that "big brother" has access to our most private conversations a step too far? I see that in the USA there is a move afoot to demand that *all* encryption systems have a government-accessible back door and that users will have to accept this inevitable imposition.

Fair enough, if we are to resist the forces of terrorism and religious fundamentalism?

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