New Zealand has direct access to US surveillance
The news that the Organised and Financial Crime Agency New Zealand (OFCANZ) requested assistance from the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) was revealed by blogger Keith Ng on his On Point blog.
He discovered that the police provided the GCSB – the government’s signals intelligence unit – with a list of indicators for scanning emails and other information traffic generated by Kim Dotcom and his colleagues and co-founders at Megaupload.
New Zealand and Australia use a ‘selector’ categorization
system akin to the NSA’s XKEYSCORE, revealed recently by
whistleblower Edward Snowden in his set of PRISM revelations
about unsanctioned US spying on people across the globe.
PRISM is an all-reaching computer surveillance system run by the US government and the NSA.
Some of these selectors have been redacted in the documents, but
others remain – such as Kim Dotcom’s email addresses and the
names of proxy servers he uses to access various accounts and
Last year, Dotcom’s mansion was raided by the police for alleged
rights and piracy-related breaches, all based on indictments
filed in the US.
There is clear indication of the surveillance system monitoring live traffic. The reports reveal communications interspersed with terms such as ‘CONFIDENTIAL’ or ‘NEW ZEALAND EYES ONLY’, or even ‘SECRET…REL TO NZL, AUS, CAN, GBR, USA,” which speaks for itself.
However, while this is certainly a new revelation, it may not be
surprising to many. The NSA sometime shares information with NZ,
as part of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance, which
also includes the UK, Australia and Canada.
Moreover, New Zealand passed a new bill in August, which radically expands the powers of its spying agency. The legislation was passed 61 votes to 59 in a move that was slammed by the opposition as a death knell for privacy rights in New Zealand.
The new amendment bill gives the GCSB powers to support the New Zealand police, Defense Force and the Security Intelligence Service.
Polls have shown that three quarters of the Kiwi population are
opposed to the law. And Kim Dotcom promptly gave his reaction on
Twitter with the words “RIP Privacy”.