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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 25. 6 October 1972

The Computerised Grey Meanie

The Computerised Grey Meanie

Those of you who do read Salient from cover to cover may have noticed in the (Number 21 2 September 1972) story a brief mention that Security Service Files arc to be computerized. The story however, incorrectly alleged that they were going to be computerized on the D.S.I.R. computer up in Easterfield. According to Dr. Vignaux the D.S.I.R. computer is just not big enough to do the job. In fact the government at present has no computer system large enough to process the files of the 18,000 people the S.I.S checks each month. A few private computer firms such as I.B.M. and I.C.L. do have systems big enough, and we all know where I.B.M.'s parent company is based. Not only that, but the U.S. Embassy is on the Terrace the same building as I.B.M.

The new computer being built at Wanganui for the Police Department (at a reputed cost of $6 million) is more than adequate to process S.I.S. files. This new government computer assumes more sinister proportions, when one remembers the S.I.S. was formerly the Special Branch of the Police Department. Also the Special Branch is still alive and well and operating clandestinely in the shadow of the S.I.S.

The D.S.I.R. computer at Victoria has always been freely available to staff and students for research work, and it is felt that it would be a retrograde step to have to protect it. So if you were thinking of bombing the Vic. computer, think again. Bomb I.B.M. or the new Police computer at Wanganui, you would be doing the country a real favour then, if you are that way inclined.

It has been commonly believed, that in N.Z. there is one Security Service, the S.I.S. which is headed by Brigadier Gilbert. Recent events arc helping to dispel that particular illusion. Earlier this year the S.I.S was placed under the jurisdiction of the Defence Department. Previously it had been under the ostensible auspices of the Justice Department and reported directly to the Prime Minister. Defence, of course, runs its own intelligence services, the Military Intelligence Bureau and the Joint Intelligence Bureau. So closer intelligence liaison would be expected to result from this move. It is very probable that the S.I.S. is just a front for a more efficient and until now secret intelligence service located in either the Internal or External Affairs departments.

N.Z. also runs a security network in Singapore, where we have what is for us, a large military base. This would not be of great moment, except the C.I.A. at present is quite unwelcome in Singapore after they tried to buy off Lee Kuan Yew a year or so ago. The N.Z. security network's probable purpose in Singapore then, is supplying information to the C.I.A.

— Randall A. Coombe