In contrast and in line with what Ben said:
If a system is evil, it hardly matters that no one along the way will take a bribe
Reminds me of an incident I experienced back at the China border earlier in the year. Despite signs everywhere explicitly warning against filming and taking photos there, I pulled out my DVD camera to shoot a couple of guys who looked like plain clothes officers. They immediately notified their badged counterparts who came to confiscate and delete.
Forgetting my copy of Isobuster which can retrieve data from damaged and formatted discs, I took a stand, arguing that formatting it would not only delete that portion but everything else I’d captured on the camera up to that point.
Long story short, no bribes were paid, they simply relented, letting me keep all the footage (including the sensitive stuff) if I waited 10 minutes for the shift change.Respecting the discretion shown I deleted the customs footage when I got home, after exporting the rest.
Only tangentially relevant given that it’s The People’s Republic of China not some isolated authoritarian oligarchy. Still, an interesting comparison.
The justification could raise even more alarm bells than the confiscation itself:
his equipment was confiscated because of a website accessed from a shared internet connection at a student flat in 2007.
As I understand it, it is quite common for New Zealanders to share accommodation, and it is not altogether unusual for objectionable/ illegal material to be accessed on shared internet connections. I’ve seen it done, I’ve done it, I’ve never had my name on an internet connection. What are the implications here? If objectionable material is accessed at a location you are associated with then you are put on a watch list? Was Mr Blackman one of the 88 NZ citizens illegally spied on by the GSCB, or is this another matter, part of a much larger list of historical transgressions?
Are all our future media devices, anything that may hold information, ours, only for safekeeping at the Authorities’ leisure?
Assuming the information accessed has even been construed as a danger to society i.e. The Anarchists Cookbook, then why not also confiscate Mr Blackman’s books? why not also confiscate his coded clothing? Why limit this to stuff that ticks?
Given the allegations and the handling of the matter, customs has deemed it highly likely that Mr Blackman not only accessed an objectionable website,but most likely did so with malicious enough intent to assimilate information therefrom, malicious enough intent to warrant the confiscation of his entire digital arsenal 6 years later.
So why too, did customs not also confiscate his brain?
The partial sale of Genesis Energy will go ahead as planned, despite a referendum pointing to public disapproval of asset sales.
Quite naturally I’m furious.
John Banks found guilty!