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Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Privacy settings

Funny how when you do something against someone you don't like it's OK and right and proper and justified and when someone else you don't like does the same sort of thing it's wrong and bad and rotten and awful and mean and unlawful and illegal... The "Teapot tape" is a wonderful example of this.

Anyone who was listened to it will recognise that it is only the brief few (I think two) moments within the conversation (held in front of clicking press photographers, media and cafe patrons) - in which the two parties break into a whisper - which could even approach the threshold of arguably being a "private" conversation. In that situation I had no problem with publishing parts of that and a link to it. It is of public interest and no sensitive issues of state or otherwise were disclosed so no harm was done. The content was purely political - related to the election and the campaign. So the PM's reaction of setting the cops onto the media in an attempt to suppress it was foolish and heavy-handed. Given the PM is the one who appoints the Police Commissioner and Deputy Commissioners the move was also constitutionally dubious as they were bound to over-react to save their boss.

The police over-reaction was wrong, however it is the reaction of the media in cowering to the threat that is shameful. The big media organisations still haven't published anything. Pathetic.

The National Party's blogger-in-chief is just as bad, he says of the tape:

The recording is on You Tube (uploaded by 2Johns2Cups), plus two other locations. I’m not providing a direct link due to the questionable legality[...] we await the Police decision on the legality of making the recording.

Please do not post a direct link in the comments.

Helping the boss out. Very cautious about breaching John Banks' and John Key's privacy. Very diligent. Very caring.

Now contrast this with the wholesale, wanton way the media dutifully published all the private information that Paula Bennett unlawfully released to the NZ Herald from her department as part of her personal political vendetta. A blatant breach of privacy with no defence available (as Bennett was fully aware the two beneficaries in question would not consent to such a release). What treatment does she get for acting like a latter day J Edgar Hoover? How did Farrar react to that situation?

And apologies in advance for linking to this shit but it's purpose is for verification not to continue the breach or perpetuate the abomination.

28/07/2009: First he quotes the NZ Herald article with all the private details, then lamely says:

I think it is good the Government is disclosing the relevant information, after Labour again put case studies up.

Incidentially Labour Ministers used to do this also sometimes, and I supported them doing the same.

And then he goes on to restate the private information just in case his readers didn't look at the Herald quote!

I don't think Farrar would normally use the 'Labour did it' defence (like for forging paintings and all the other misdemeanors they were accused of), but why not use something that flimsy if the core excuse is as floppy as a slinky?

29/07/2009: Farrar quotes everyone possible who is circulating the private information, then concludes with:

The Commissioner will rule in due course no doubt. If she does rule there was a breach, then Bennett will get considerable stick, and of course have to apologise.

Ah, yeah and he'll have some apologising himself to do too - although that hasn't dawned on him as with most people who align with the establishment and the ruling party they assume the rules don't apply to them when kicking society's lower orders are concerned - they think they are exempt and they know that the elites will cover their own arses and protect people like him (which sadly they do).

This post was follwed up a day later, 30/07/2009, with more personal revelations - this time from other sources that were not private - in order to undermine the two. Purely political. No quarter was given; it was open warfare on the beneficiaries.

But now, when it comes to Banks and Key, those two are somehow deserving of having their privacy upheld!? File under hypocrisy.

Just ask yourself what would happen if Peter Dunne (the Revenue Minister) got sick of Farrar whining about tax and wanted to score a political point by releasing Farrar's IRD returns. It would be a different story then wouldn't it. How far would Farrar's 'but he asked for it/he had it coming' defence get Mr Dunne or the IRD officials responsible for the disclosure? But beneficiares are of a lower, lesser class so they aren't to be compared to normal people... let alone the PM and his chum.


At 1/2/12 4:20 pm, Blogger Frank said...

Indeed, Tim.

There was also a case, last year (which I was going to Blog about, before getting distracted by demands of quasi-Christian/Pagan rituals) about WINZ employees being dismissed (in Auckland?) for releasing private information.

I was going to make the none-to-subtle comnnection between Bennett releasing private details, and WINZ employees doing likdewise.

The only difference is that Bennett was rewarded with a ministerial pay increase last year...

Definitely file under "H".

At 1/2/12 6:56 pm, Blogger macdoctor said...

You are comparing apples and oranges, Tim. Farrar only blogged information already in the public domain. Bennett was entitled to have the information she had, though it is questionable whether she was entitled to release it. I say questionable here because the privacy commissioner was somewhat ambivalent and Bennett was not forced to apologise. Personally, I thought the release of information dubious and not particularly relevant politically.

The teapot tapes, otoh, we're obtained without permission in circumstances where it was clear that there was no tacit approval. this may not have been illegal as the lack of police action may indicate, but it was certainly unethical.

At 2/2/12 10:16 am, Blogger Tim Selwyn said...

Comparing different sorts of apples, but still apples.


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