Metiria Turei and state surveillance

Let them who are without sin cast the first stone…..

Over the past month I think we have been shown a great example of why state surveillance is a bad idea.

On the 16 of July Metiria Turei revealed she had lied to stop her benefit being cut while raising her daughter.

This led to a media frenzy and relentless pressure on not only her but her family, investigation by WINZ, admitting she had used a false address, and finally her resignation on the 9th of August.

It looks like she is a horrible fraudster, until you start putting things in perspective.

This is a woman who has served the people of New Zealand as a Member of Parliament with distinction and honor for 15 years. The most recent ‘dodgy’ thing that she has done was 22 years ago. The false address was so she could support a friend in an election. The most she could have benefited from this was $6000.

There have been accusations that the ensuing media and social bloodbath was because she is female and Maori and there is some evidence of this. If you look at the way the media and law treated John Key  Bill English and compare the situations it is disturbing. Even more so for it being recent history, not 25 years ago.

Metiria Turei

Perhaps one of the better quotes was this from 1 NEWS Maori Affairs Reporter Yvonne Tahana;

“I have nothing more to add to the screeds of vitriolic, smug and know-it-all epithets that have already been penned by journalists, bloggers and Twitter-ites on that issue.

But, in my opinion, her resignation as co-leader of the Green Party sends a clear message to Māori.

People who’ve done dumb things in their past, or who have struggled, are in no way suitable to make a contribution at a government level.”

And it is with the end of that quote in mind that I want to turn to mass surveillance.

Give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest…

In New Zealand nearly everything is being recorded sold,  bought and stored around the world. I am not just talking about the GCSB and NSA, but also Google, Facebook, and Vodafone.

Everything this generation says and does, where they go, what they do, who they talk to, their drunk txts, fights, the things they thought were normal that will turn out to be social no-no’s in the future. All these things will be on record and available to the government of the day for political gain. We know this. We have seen it before.

So in the future there will be no-one in opposition to the government of the day who is not ‘squeaky clean’….or very, very powerful, or working for the powerful.

But let’s not be paranoid. Let’s stick with ‘squeaky clean’, never broken the law, nothing to hide at all, no texts, never said a word out of place, looked at the wrong things……

The problem with this is that just about everybody does break the law. It is estimated that 70% of Americans have done something that could put them in jail. A survey on the Telegraph found the average Briton broke the law once every day. The ‘squeaky clean’ are such a small number that in terms of the majority they are abnormal.

A world in which we are run by the incredibly small amount of people who are somehow ‘squeaky clean’ will be an incredibly abnormal world.  And any who speak against it must either be part of it, or they will be removed like Metiria.

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