Amnesty International spy poll slanted to support anti-spying campaign

David Fisher, spy reporter at NZ Herald, writes about an Amnesty International New Zealand and global survey on spying – Most Kiwis reject Govt spying – survey:

Kiwis have rejected government surveillance of their own communications – and that of people in other countries, according to new survey.

An Amnesty International survey of about 1000 people shows 63 per cent of Kiwis surveyed are opposed to the government monitoring and storing their own internet and mobile phone use.

It’s not surprising that most people don’t want their communications monitored and stored.But they weren’t asked if they supported the monitoring of communications of possible criminals and terrorists.

Prime Minister John Key has rejected the claims, saying there is no mass surveillance of New Zealanders here or abroad.

Key also keeps emphasising that New Zealand law forbids mass surveillance of New Zealanders.

And it’s also not surprising to see Amnesty International do a global survey that shows opposition to spying. They publicised the poll in a press release yesterday – NZers part of global opposition to mass surveillance (Scoop).

New Zealanders part of global opposition to USA big brother mass surveillance

“Big brother mass surveillance” is a fairly loaded statement indicative of Amnesty International’s feelings.

The United States’ mass surveillance of internet and phone use flies in the face of global public opinion, said Amnesty International as it published a major poll to launch its worldwide #UnfollowMe campaign.

So the poll is part of a worldwide anti-spying campaign. That doesn’t give confidence of an impartial approach.

The poll, which questioned 15,000 people from 13 countries across every continent, including New Zealand, found that 71% of respondents were strongly opposed to the United States monitoring their internet use.

That’s not surprising, apart from it being only 71%. But it depends on what is meant by ‘monitoring their internet use’.

I don’t want a spy in the US monitoring everything I do on the Internet. But I don’t have a problem with the scanning of data looking for potentially dangerous intent.

“Today’s technology gives governments unprecedented power to watch what we do on the internet. We need independent scrutiny to watch the watchers so that power is not abused. Yet today there is little or no legislation in any country that really protects our human right to privacy against indiscriminate mass surveillance. Indeed, more countries are actually considering laws granting wider surveillance powers, at the expense of people’s rights.”

That’s blatantly misleading in a New Zealand context. We have laws that prohibits surveillance without having a specific warrant for a specific target, so it prohibits mass surveillance.

And we have an independent scrutiny via the Inspector General who’s job is specifically to “watch the watchers so that power is not abused.”

“Yet today there is little or no legislation in any country that really protects our human right to privacy against indiscriminate mass surveillance” is false. We have legislation for this in New Zealand.

Here’s some of the YouGov / Amnesty Survey Results.

Sample Size: 1008 New Zealand Adults
Fieldwork: 4th – 13th February 2015

Do you think the New Zealand Government should or should not intercept, store and analyse internet use and mobile phone communications of…
…all New Zealand citizens living in New Zealand
Should intercept, store and analyse internet use and mobile communications 22
Should not intercept, store and analyse internet use and mobile communications 63
Don’t know 15
…all foreign nationals in New Zealand
Should intercept, store and analyse internet use and mobile communications 43
Should not intercept, store and analyse internet use and mobile communications 40
Don’t know 17
…people living in other countries
Should intercept, store and analyse internet use and mobile communications 22
Should not intercept, store and analyse internet use and mobile communications 53
Don’t know 25

According to our law the New Zealand Government is forbidden from intercepting or storing communications of all New Zealanders. So our law is supported by the first question.

Thinking about the United States government, do you think the US government should or should not intercept, store and analyse internet use in New Zealand?
Should intercept, store and analyse internet use in New Zealand 13
Should not intercept, store and analyse internet use in New Zealand 75
Don’t know 12

I’d prefer not, but it’s a risk of communicating on a public Internet. However we can’t do anything about what other countries monitor on the Internet – not just the United States government. Why just target one country?

Some people think that any surveillance of internet use should have to be subjected to transparent and independent judicial and parliamentary oversight, whereas others say some surveillance such as that conducted by government intelligence agencies is too sensitive for such oversight.
Which of the following comes closest to your view?
Any surveillance of internet use should have to be subject to transparent and independent oversight 49
In some cases, it is acceptable for internet surveillance to take place without oversight 40
Don’t know 11

That’s a fairly vague question with a split response. It depends on what level of oversight is involved. There’s insufficient oversight of what Google and Facebook and Twitter et al monitor. They have more impact on most individuals than Government surveillance.

Please now assume that New Zealand’s intelligence and security agencies are intercepting and storing the data collected from the use of your internet and mobile phone. Please say whether you would be more likely or less likely to…
Criticise the government on social media, email or private messaging applications
More likely 15
Less likely 7
Make no difference – I would do this anyway 34
Make no difference – I wouldn’t do this anyway 34
Don’t know 10

“Please now assume that New Zealand’s intelligence and security agencies are…“...doing something that is illegal and we have had repeated assurances by the Prime Minister and the Inspector General that they can’t and don’t do.

Please now assume that Amnesty International has used this poll for slanted opposition to spying.

I’d be interested in a poll on spying that was impartial and balanced, and genuinely attempts to determine opinion on spying.

This poll isn’t and doesn’t. It is being used as a campaign tool. It seems to have been designed with that in mind.

Amnesty International have been misleading and dishonest.

If the NSA published a poll in the launch of a campaign to promote spying I’d be just as sceptical.

And why is David Fisher (a senior reporter for the NZ Herald) writing an article based on a campaign associated poll without critical analysis?

The GCSB has been operating under a questionable legal basis for more than three years.The GCSB has been operating under a questionable legal basis for more than three years.

That’s an odd statement with a curious timeframe without anything to support it, especially considering the legal basis was changed half way through the last three years.

The report didn’t mention the fact that the poll is being used to promote an anti-spying campaign.

Fisher has been reporting under a questionable agenda basis.

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1 Comment

  1. Mike C

     /  19th March 2015

    David Fisher has been Kim DotComs under the table paid employee aka “Paid-Puppet” for several years now.

    Nicky Hager is also in the same category.

    Reply

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