USA NSA Surveillance Ruling Has NZ Link

A USA Federal Judge has just ruled that mass surveillance of the phone network by their National Security Agency (NSA) is legal. This contradicts another recent ruling where another Federal judge said such surveillance was ‘indiscriminate’ and an ‘arbitrary invasion.’

In New Zealand the head of the GCSB Ian Fletcher at a public Security and Intelligence Committee hearing at Parliament would not rule out pick up of New Zealanders communications by the NSA mass surveillance PRISM program which has been linked with the Waihopai Spy Base near Blenheim. The GCSB head was responding to questions by Russel Norman and was referring to communications that were routed through servers in countries such as Singapore or the USA but the GCSB head avoided reference to the spy base at Waihopai.

Following exposure of illegal spying by the GCSB on over 80 New Zealanders the Nation Government introduced new GCSB and telecommunication surveillance laws. These laws are supposed to restrict surveillance of New Zealanders to that approved by a warrant, just as previously expected in the USA, even though a warrent could be for a “class” of person – all people who are spending their holiday in the Coromandel for a seasonal example.  However, while NZ law is supposed to protect the privacy of New Zealanders on one hand, our electronic communications are still able to be collected for use and storage by the USA’s NSA at the Waihopai GCSB facility.

NSA defector Edward Snowden has exposed the use of PRISM and the Waihopai spy base link with 5 Eyes, the USA, UK, Canada, Australia and NZ intelligence alliance. Interestingly the new laws that restrict GCSB surveillance of New Zealanders to that warranted and ensures that all network providers can allow full access by our spy agencies to our private communications, fails to deal with the use of the GCSB Waihopai spy base by the NSA or New Zealand’s involvement with 5 Eyes.  I have previously described the new legislation as a veneer over the New Zealand’s part of international mass surveillance.

The Green Party wants a thorough independent review of all New Zealand’s security and intelligence agencies and for Waihopai spy base to be closed down. I will be speaking at Waihopai protest events in Blenheim and at Waihopai January 25.

11 thoughts on “USA NSA Surveillance Ruling Has NZ Link

  1. Correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t believe these court decisions were ever about phone data mining of “people”. They were about phone data mining of “Americans”.

    It’s all very well for Americans to argue over their own civil rights in this instance, but I’ve not seen much to cheer about, including after the original court decision which had (briefly) ruled the phone metadata mining unconstitutional.

    These discussions in the USA are very self-serving and self-centric. The US constitution protects the rights of Americans, not of anyone else. If the NSA is told that it can’t collect mass data on Americans for constitutional reasons, it’s unlikely to matter a jot about how it treats citizens of every and any other country in the world, including New Zealanders.

    And having so many globally popular cloud services (gmail, facebook, twitter, skype, the list goes on) centered in the USA, all that data and metadata is sitting there in a largely consolidated way for the NSA and related entities to suck out and analyse and draw connections between whenever it chooses to do so.

  2. Following exposure of illegal spying by the GCSB on over 80 New Zealanders the Nation Government introduced new GCSB and telecommunication surveillance laws.

  3. Personally I find the fact that any gov’t feels they have a natural right to spy on citizens (either domestic or foreign) outrageous. It must be stopped across the board. NZ needs to pull itself out of the ‘five eyes’ agreement and cut off the USA completely, IMO. USA has already shown in flying colors how they’re willing to treat their own citizens. How can we expect them to treat us ‘foreigners’?

    You make a point MikeM, but it’s missing the bigger picture. It’s complex (especially given the relative size of NZ comprared to the USA), so you could be forgiven for your own short-sightedness on the issue.

    The GCSB is spying on Kiwis here at home, on at least the same scale as the NSA spying on Americans. How does that make you feel? If I were to tell you that the GCSB were spying on foreign countries, how would you feel? You’d care much less.

    You honestly can’t deride Americans for raising a stink that their own government is spying on them. Good on ‘em, I say. Now why aren’t Kiwis raising a furor over GCSB domstic spying? Sad state of affairs how we seem to just lay down and accept it.

  4. I just want to add that it matters very much to us how the issue is handled in the USA because as we all know, NZ will follow their lead. The issue of domestic spying in the USA is a watershed case that will affect the whole world moving forward, for better or worse.

    We cannot criticize Americans for being self-centered here, we need to support their efforts in order to maintain freedom for the rest of the world, NZ included! I, for one, do not welcome the authoritarian overlords.

  5. There is a bigger issue at play here, Steffan, and it comes down to the nature of New Zealand’s relationship with the USA, and to a lesser extend, the other five-eyes nations.

    If we want to stay part of the five-eyes party, then firstly, this means that we are part of the world’s intelligence problems, just like the USA, and we need to stand up and admit that, and secondly, all the existing cloaks, daggers, and spy bases will remain.

    To argue for “a thorough independent review of all New Zealand’s security and intelligence agencies and for Waihopai spy base to be closed down” is just masturbationary politics. We are either in five-eyes, or we’re out. If we choose to be out then we can have our own house, and with our own house we can then start to put said house in order.

  6. NSA defector Edward Snowden has exposed the use of PRISM and the Waihopai spy base link with 5 Eyes, the USA, UK, Canada, Australia and NZ intelligence alliance.
    That is a goof fact

  7. As a european living in the US, it is amazing to me the how the American people are not more interested or have the ability to stand up and fight for their privacy rights. It opens the doors to pretty much zero privacy. And only the NSA has access to this information, although Im sure its passed on to various other government agencies etc. Where does it stop?

  8. I’m not an expert but what I’ve seen of American Federal politics is that it’s such a big and diverse country the what’s happening at the federal level will always be disconnected from most people.

    I expect many people do care about their privacy, but they’re either dominated by issues closer to home, or resigned to believing there’s nothing they can do that will make a difference.

    After all, the system ensures there are only two realistic choices and that anything else will be a wasted vote by most people’s definitions. Even within those two choices, for politically pragmatic reasons of the politicians (aiming to be the least worst option rather than the best), there are very few actual differences.

  9. Interesting article. It stirs up the debate on the ethics of all these “intelligence” programs. Personally I think Canada NZ and the like should quit being the USA’s whipping boy and not partake in such programs.

Comments are closed.