by Steffan Browning
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.