Dealing With A Number of Organisations Concerning These Data For More Than A Year.
Several days ago Database Administrator Barry Young emerged as the Ministry of Health whistleblower. Mr Young had appropriated more than a terabyte of Covid vaccine data and released it to selected contacts in the vaccine sceptical community within New Zealand and overseas. The data was presented alongside excess mortality rates to draw startling conclusions.
Subsequently it emerged that Mr. Young had been dealing with a number of organisations concerning these data for more than a year. Sacrificing whatever little credibility he might have enjoyed, Mr. Young decided to use the NZ Loyal political party as his vehicle to announce the data release.
It is information pertinent to the health and well-being the vast majority of New Zealanders who got vaccinated against Covid.
NZ Loyal is a party founded by the journalist Liz Gunn, with a policy agenda consisting of a typical grab bag of poorly considered responses to conspiracy theories. Garnering a mere 26,000 votes at the recent general election, NZ Loyal is the epitome of a ‘fringe political movement’ – anti-globalisation, anti-international institutions, fluoridation is a conspiracy to keeps the population docile, and vaccines turn people into WiFi terminals.
Party leader Liz Gunn interviewed Mr. Young in the ludicrously titled Mother of All Revelations podcast. It was anything but: Mr Young squandered the opportunity to appear as a dispassionate analyst of the data and revealed himself to be a partisan acolyte of the Church of the Holy Mother of Idiotic Conspiracies. Compounding his error, Mr. Young issued a variety of highly suspect pronouncements concerning the causality (conflated with correlation) between the vaccine and excess mortality rates in New Zealand; pronouncements simply unsupported by the data and so tenuous and tangential as to be laughed at by anyone who cared to look.
Which of course the conspiracist community, revelling in confirmation bias, refrained from doing. Mr Young became the overnight sensation of vaccine sceptics worldwide, conducting interviews with such bastions of empirical evidence, the scientific method and dispassionate enquiry as Alex Jones of InfoWars and Steve Kirsch. Even Russell Brand got in on the action as the news of the leak spread around the world, amplified and exacerbated with salacious detail.
Three days after the disclosure Mr. Young was arrested by New Zealand police and charged with accessing a computer system for dishonest purposes, an offence which carries a sentence of up to seven years in prison. He had his home ransacked and electronic equipment seized and, doubtless to keep him in communicado, was remanded in custody for several days.
(Such is the New Zealand justice system: murderers awaiting trial typically do so on home detention and serial rapists have been sentenced to home detention instead of prison. Potentially embarrassing the state through misappropriating information is a far more serious offence.)
The data itself was subject to injunction and many websites complied with the New Zealand court’s ruling notwithstanding it was ultra vires, further piquing the curiosity of the conspiracist community.
The data was presented alongside excess mortality rates to draw startling conclusions.
New Zealand’s whistleblower protection laws are weak. To enjoy their protections (such as they are), a whistleblower must follow the disclosure policies of the organisation concerned in the first instance and subsequently, a suitable authority such as the office of the ombudsman. Mr. Young maintains that he followed this procedure, raising concerns with the Ministry of Health and then the Deputy Prime Minister. He has not so far released any documentation to provide corroboration, as he will require if he is to mount a robust defence against the charge he now faces.
One would hope he mounts such a defence. Losing his employment and gaining the opprobrium of those capable of critical thinking ought to be punishment enough for this fantasist who, in the final analysis, is little more than a distraction from the real issues.
Because he is, fundamentally if accidentally, correct.
There was an unexplained increase in excess mortality rates in New Zealand during the pandemic response and vaccine roll-out. The New Zealand authorities should be releasing the data they hold for independent analysis, suitably anonymised. Hiding behind commercial relationships with pharmaceutical companies and spurious interpretations of privacy provisions is improper, bordering upon malfeasance.
These data should be the property of the New Zealand people. It is information pertinent to the health and well-being the vast majority of New Zealanders who got vaccinated against Covid, and to the decisions taken by the authorities on our collective behalf. In the interests of both public health and the democratic body politic it should be available for scrutiny.
Never mind the distraction of useful idiots, the data must be released.
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Simon Anderson is a technology consultant from Auckland, New Zealand. He believes in the fundamental right of all people to exercise their democratic rights peacefully, particularly with regard to free speech. Simon came into public consciousness as a video-documentarian during the trans rights counter protests in Auckland during March 2023.