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A Way Through Cybersecurity Thickets – Open Letter to the New Zealand Government

 

Minister Amy Adams with Prime Minister John Key

(Source: Amy Adams’ website)

 

 

 

An Open Letter To

Rt Hon John Key, Prime Minister of New Zealand

and

Hon Amy Adams, Minister of Communications

 

Dear Rt Hon John Key and Hon Amy Adams,

This is to let you know that I have recently posted two blogs on the GCSB Bill.

They suggest a way through for the Government on the Bill that I believe could have the potential to first garner the support of all political parties in New Zealand, and then also international support from the United States, China, and other nations.

The blogs propose that the Government facilitates constructive discussions about international cybersecurity, starting out by getting together a consensus of New Zealand political parties willing to support such discussion. I find it hard to imagine any parties holding back from giving their support in principle to such a move.

The blogs then suggest that your Government consult with the United States, Chinese and other Governments about statements they have made about wanting mutually acceptable rules about the use of cybertechnologies. The blogs propose that you could very usefully follow up on these expressed desires by suggesting relatively low-key discussions and seminars, and latterly perhaps conference(s), could be developed through relevant embassies in Wellington as something of an “antipodean diplomatic village” (with the support of relevant and interested academics).

Generating world-wide antipathy, or good will?

Like others, I also particularly draw attention to the problems for burgeoning trade with China and other nations entailed in having a strong cyber-alignment with its major rival, the United States. Such alignment implicates New Zealand in massive programs of intrusion into the everyday lives and vital interests of countless ordinary people and their governments, businesses, universities and other institutions in China and numerous other countries.

Instead, New Zealand could seek to act as a facilitator of discussion and consensus between diverse interests about their concerns and how these might be best addressed.

By acting constructively in such a way New Zealand could, instead of finding itself having to make invidious choices between large and powerful rivals, help them to resolve issues and generate a lot of good will all round.

Towards bright technology-supported futures for all

Included in the second, most recent of the two blogs I have written are some tentative agenda items for discussion about a much more viable new international cyber-technology order than now exists, one that can get beyond the kinds of problems that are currently appearing in the news week-by-week.

The two blogs are:

From the Edward Snowden case to a new Switzerland of the Southern Hemisphere?

and

Fulfilling the promise of new technology unencumbered by security agendas

In a very practical vein, a New Zealand that helped to facilitate such discussion might also be able to develop new roles and a significant niche as a secure and universally trusted site for data storage, processing and consultancy services from its location, here, in a part of the world that is geographically removed from areas more susceptible to instability and conflict.

I am also writing to other political parties about these proposals.

Very best wishes

Antipodean Village Blogger

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