26 Jul 2013
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Privacy scare? NZ govt should grow a pair

Kim Dotcom led protests over GCSB Bill proposals in Auckland yesterday, demanding the New Zealand government abandons the plans before it's too late.

Speaking at the Mount Albert Memorial Hall, the Megaupload founder again voiced concerns regarding government proposals to enhance the powers of the Kiwi spy agency.

Claiming he was a "living, breathing example of why the GCSB must not be given greater powers and limited accountability," the internet mogul was his unusual outspoken self in front of over 400 members of the public.

"What can New Zealanders expect from the GCSB when rules are broken without consequences" he asked. "You can expect the rule breaking to continue.

"There is a cultural problem within the GCSB. They appear to view themselves as above the law."

Dotcom, who previously branded "mass surveillance as morally indefensible", claimed the new BCSB Bill is akin to raising the speed limit after you've been given a speeding ticket.

"If we do not seize this unique moment to reform our spy law and practises we will live to regret it," he warned.

"I think that [this bill] is more dangerous to New Zealanders than any national security threat."

After the GCSB was found guilty of illegally spying on Dotcom, the internet giant met Prime Minister John Key for the first time two weeks ago in a bid to “expose” him and the GCSB in Parliament.

But with Key branding the meeting a "circus", Dotcom has still managed to become the figurehead of opposition to the plans, "resisting the notion that the government always acts in the best interests of its citizens.”

Echoing Dotcom's beliefs, Dr Rodney Harrison QC was also in attendance, and was quick to stick the boot into Key and his government, claiming that MPs needed to "grow some backbone."

"If you are going to increase the powers of the GCSB you have to apply much greater scrutiny because most of what they do will never come to public attention," he said.

"Legislation dealing with their powers has to be carefully and tightly drawn. This legislation is not. It is hopelessly broad.

"History tells us that once enforcement agencies and spy agencies are clothed with power it is never taken away from them it is only ever increased.

"This is ill conceived and downright dangerous legislation... our democracy is seriously in danger."

Taking a slightly more subtle approach than his previous methods, such as defacing the US embassy in Berlin, Dotcom's calls to change the Bill have so far fallen on deaf ears.

But as history tells us, a few stalled attempts will not stop Dotcom from continuing his protests - protests which continue to cause Key and his government an unwelcome headache.

Will Dotcom's protests make a difference? Tell us your thoughts below

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