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Posts Tagged ‘Pak N Save’

I spy with my multitude of Eyes

13 September 2018 Leave a comment

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Several pieces of legislation enacted under the previous government saw a vast increase in State surveillance. The GCSB  – first created in 1977 by former National PM, Robert Muldoon, – was initially set up to provide overseas surveillance during the Cold War era.

By May 2013, the powers of the GCSB were extended to permit domestic surveillance of New Zealanders by former National PM, John Key.

A variety of  state “security” and extensions of surveillance powers have been enacted over the past sixteen years;

Labour:

Terrorism Suppression Act 2002

National:

Search and Surveillance Act 2012

Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Act 2013

Government Communications Security Bureau Amendment Act 2013

Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill (aka Customs and Excise Amendment Act 2014)

Not to be outdone, the private sector also dabbles with surveillance. On most occassions, that surveillance is subtle.

In other instances, it is overt and in-your-face.

An example of this is the recently (and currently on-going) re-developement at Kilbirnie  Pak N Save supermarket in Wellington’s Eastern suburb.  The store’s internal up-grade has included the sprouting of dozens of security cameras. In some areas, the high-security of CCTV cameras, descending from the ceiling on poles – eerily like some mutant upside-down mushroom – would be more appropriate for a top secret military installation.

Upon entering the store, the first camera is apparent;

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Foyer at Kilbirnie Pak N Save

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Walking through the turn-styles, into the first part of the super-market – more cameras;

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The Fruit & Vege section;

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Meats…

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Chilled goods, heading toward the Deli and Bakery;

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The Bakery section…

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Down the side of the building (greeting cards, breads, et al)…

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And a close-up of the all-seeing eyes…

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Until  we reach the check-out – and the ubiquitous cameras become a parody of surveillance as their numbers become apparent;

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Frank Macskasy Frankly Speaking blog - The Daily Blog fmacskasy.wordpress.com Kilbirnie Pak N Save - security cameras - cctv - surveillance - nz

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In case the reader has difficulty making out the individual cameras, they are highlighted here;

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Even banks don’t have as many cameras.

In an age of tracking by online corporations like Google and Facebook; by the apps in our smartphones; by CCTVs in buildings, streets, offices, etc – we have reached a surveillance state far surpassing anything envisioned by George Orwell.

Some of us will recall the days of the friendly corner grocer;

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Acknowledgement: Wairarapa Times-Age

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Once upon a time, retailers functioned with not a camera in sight;

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Acknowledgement: NZ Herald

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Those days now seem long gone.

Perhaps this is the price of “progress”?

Ironically, the advent of the Surveillance State and Surveilled Society has been long foreseen by academics, writers, activists, etc. As surveillance increased – both State and commercial – the public became more and more inured to every-present prying eyes.

The constant warnings of encroachments into our privacy; against increasing State power; alerting us to the perils of Big Data held by offshore (and domestic) corporations have become a Cry Wolf! to most of the public. Unless you are a left-wing blogger or investigative journalist who become an irritant to The Established Order, the public perceive no threat to their glacial erosion of our privacy.

Couched in terms of “preserving law and order” and/or “fighting terrorism”, people will think little of our own country as a Surveilled Society. Especially if they perceive no “down side” to their personal liberty. Previous warnings of a Big Brother State have – apparently – not become reality.

Like the frog-in-the-pan-of-heating-water fable, fears gradually gave way to blasé acceptance. We have arrived to a society where the presence of literally dozens of  overhead surveillance cameras in a supermarket now barely raises an eyebrow.

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References

Wikipedia: GCSB – History

Parliament: Government Communications Security Bureau and Related Legislation Amendment Bill

Wairarapa Times-Age: First class First St grocer

NZ Herald: (story removed from website)

NZ Law Society: Privacy Commissioner issues guidance on personal information and transparency reporting

Fairfax media: Police apologise to Nicky Hager over Dirty Politics raid as part of settlement

Previous related blogposts

Surveillance laws, Strikebreaking, & Subversive groups

2013 – The Year We Became a Policed Surveillance State

The Growth of State Power; mass surveillance; and it’s supporters

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This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 9 September 2018.

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Awash with alcohol and lies in the Internet Age

3 August 2015 3 comments

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Kilbirnie Pak 'n Save in booze ban after selling to pair of 16-year-olds

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Our country has been described as “awash by alcohol” by more than one observer. In New Zealand, buying alcohol is easier than buying a car fuse at a petrol station. (I know this, I’ve tried.)

On Tuesday 29 July, I noticed the following signage at Kilbirnie’s busy Pak’N’Save supermarket;

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Indeed, the entire liquor section at the supermarket – a not inconsiderable area of the complex – had been blockaded by a Great Wall of Loopaper,  chippies, sugary soft-drinks, and other highly-processed, salted snack-foods;

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20150728_160707

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Perhaps what really caught my attention was the wording of the yellow signage, at regular intervals adorning the Great Wall;

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Liquor products are currently unavailable.

Liquor products are currently unavailable due

to an issue with our liquor license. This will be

resolved by Thursday  30th July.

We would like to apologise for the inconvenience

this issue has caused and we appreciate your

understanding.

Pak N Save

Kilbirnie

 

Really?

Breaking the law and selling liquor to sixteen year olds is defined as an “issue” by Pak N Save’s management?

The term “issue” has supplanted the previous terms that might also be applicable in this case; “problem”; “stuff-up”; or simply, “breaking the terms of our liquor license by illegally selling to young people under 18”.

Any one of those terms would be more honest than a hazy veil of euphemism, referring to losing a liquor license for five days as an “issue”.

Forgetting to reapply for a liquor license might be deemed an “issue”. Selling to under-age kids is a major screw-up. (Also somewhat illegal.)

I wonder if the supermarket’s owner would be as forgiving of a shoplifter caught with a dozen Whittaker’s chocolate bars (Whittakers being better quality than Cadbury, any day) down her blouse, casually apologising for the “issue” of not paying for the goods?

There seems to be a casual – almost dishonest manner – by which the supermarket has presented their transgression to the public. As if National had loaned Pak N Save a couple of their spin-doctors, to minimise any public disapproval of the “issue”.

Our government has the very best of spin-doctors, and we are daily mis-informed; distracted; deflected; and outright lied to by Ministers who have been caught engaged in questionable activities.

John Key’s assertion that a prisoner at Mt Eden Prison “fell” of the balcony, rather than being pushed by fellow in-mates, was his version of Pak N Save’s “issue” with their liquor license;

“One of the claims that had been made, I think, was that someone had been thrown off a balcony – in fact, actually, Serco say that the person jumped off the balcony, or tripped, or fell.”

It is ironic that in the Age of the Internet; of near instantaneous communication and super highways of information, that we have more misinformation; half-truths; “spin”;  and sheer lies thrown at us than ever before.

It is not just alcohol we are awash with – it’s lies.

In the case of politics, the irony is that we, the tax-payer, pay spin-doctors to help government ministers, to lie to us.

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References

Fairfax media: Kilbirnie Pak ‘n Save in booze ban after selling to pair of 16-year-olds

Fairfax media: Corrections Minister looking at options for Serco-run prisons after allegations of ill-treatment

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key's credibility takes a hit

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This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 29 July 2015.

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