US commentators praise NZ over Key’s Dotcom apology

By Toby Manhire In The Internaut

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The Young Turks on John Key and Kim Dotcom

A couple of takes on the John-Key-GCSB-Kim-Dotcom fiasco from the US present the episode in a rather brighter light to that of most of the coverage in New Zealand.

At the online magazine Slate, “Future Tense” blogger Ryan Gallagher goes with the headline “In a Surprisingly Transparent Move, New Zealand Admits Unlawful Surveillance in Megaupload Case”.

He writes:

Most governments are unwilling to own up to unlawful surveillance. But not in New Zealand. The country’s prime minister this week admitted that one of its spy agencies illegally intercepted Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom’s communications for a full month—prompting an inquiry into how it was allowed to happen …

In response to the revelation, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has apologized to Dotcom. Key has also ordered the GCSB to review all cases dating back to 2009. That Key has apologised is commendable, as is his handling of the illegal spying generally. There are few governments in the world willing to candidly publicly acknowledge wrongdoing by their intelligence agencies, especially when it comes to high profile cases. When authorities commit wrongdoing the tendency is often to keep it under wraps in a self-interested bid to protect reputations. In this case, despite knowing it would cause controversy and a storm of negative reaction, NZ’s government chose disclosure over secrecy. A rare example of transparency more countries could do well to follow.

And this, from the popular online news channel The Young Turks (note the auto-subtitle reference to “John Keats”):

Arguably, however, these perspectives on New Zealand’s behaviour might be changed somewhat by knowledge of the surveillance legislation that has just come into effect.

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