27 responses to “John Key’s NZ spying on Pacific neighbours

  1. Elizabeth

    RNZ National – Morning Report, Thu 5 Mar 2015
    Hager reveals NZ spies on neighbours
    The investigative journalist, Nicky Hager says New Zealand is spying on its Pacific neighbours on a scale never seen before.
    Audio | Download: OggMP3 ( 6′ 38″ )

    Who’s who (via NZ Herald)

    GCSB: The Government Communications Security Bureau. This is New Zealand’s electronic surveillance agency, which is tasked with collecting foreign intelligence. It is New Zealand’s contribution to the Five Eyes network.

    Five Eyes: The Five Eyes are made up of the intelligence agencies of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. Its roots go back to a post-WWII pact between the US and UK, which included three Commonwealth nations. The US is the lead partner – the others, “secondary” partners.

    NSA: The United States’ National Security Agency. This is the US electronic surveillance agency and the lead partner in the Five Eyes network.

    XKeyscore: An NSA computer program which is able to search through the majority of communications around the globe which have been harvested largely by Five Eyes partners.

    Ironsand: Codename for the Waihopai GCSB base, at the top of the South Island in New Zealand. It is a signal intelligence base.

    Edward Snowden: The former NSA contractor who walked out in 2012 with a massive number of files, citing concerns about the extent and style of US-led surveillance. He is currently living in exile in Russia.

    The Intercept: An online news site, largely led by journalist and lawyer Glenn Greenwald. It was Greenwald who Snowden approached with his trove of data.

    Nicky Hager is a New Zealand-based investigative journalist and an internationally recognised expert on surveillance since the publication of his ground-breaking book Secret Power in 1996. Ryan Gallagher (@rj_gallagher) is an award-winning Scottish journalist whose work at The Intercept is focused on government surveillance, technology and civil liberties.


  2. Elizabeth

    ### radionz.co.nz Updated at 5:54 am today
    RNZ News
    Customs seeks to extend powers
    Demanding the password to travellers’ cellphones and laptops is just one of the things Customs is asking for to extend their powers. The paper on changes to the Customs Act was released yesterday afternoon.
    One of the things Customs want is the explicit power to make people give them the password or encryption key to their electronic device.
    Minister for Customs Nicky Wagner said the current Act was passed almost 20 years ago and needed an update. “The current Act, passed in 1996, is based on the 1966 Act and still contains elements of 1913 Act. It’s time to update the Act to ensure Customs can best serve New Zealanders.”
    Ms Wagner said it was important for Customs to be able to access electronic devices to stop objectionable material like child pornography and weapons designs from getting into the country. She said the move was not about the mass surveillance of travellers, and that it would likely be a rare occurrence. Public consultation runs until 1 May.
    RNZ News Link

    • Hype O'Thermia

      How hard is it to change one’s password? I’d have thought it would need to be possible, because of cases where someone has hacked into or borrowed one’s computer or there are other reasons to believe one’s system has become insecure.

  3. Mike

    Of course John Key swore black and blue that there would be no mass surveillance of Kiwis, in fact a couple of years ago he publicly promised he would resign if the GCSB did so.


    Now it seems that not only was the GCSB doing it all along, taking copies of every phone call to/from an island in the Pacific made by a Kiwi, even while he was making that promise, but he was sending them to his American mates so they could be stored and snooped on at their leisure.

    I think it’s time to take John up on his kind offer of resignation, and if he renegs on his promise he should be booted out for lying about the GCSB’s mass surveillance and for breaking his promise.

  4. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Thu, 5 Mar 2015
    Samoa PM: We have nothing to hide
    Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi has spoken out in support of any monitoring happening in his country, saying Samoa has nothing to hide. Tuilaepa – known for his controversial statements – slammed the media for sensationalising the issue and said those involved in any intelligence service or system reporting back to their governments were well-trained professionals. “Samoa doesn’t have anything to hide. Our daily lives are an open book. We follow good governance principles of transparency and accountability.” NZME
    Read more

  5. Elizabeth

    Dear John…

    ### NZ Herald Online Updated 1 hour ago 2:35 PM Thursday Mar 5, 2015
    Snowden revelations / PM John Key tight-lipped on why spying claims are ‘wrong’
    By David Fisher – Herald senior reporter
    John Key says new claims around intelligence collection are wrong – but he won’t say why. He also says the GCSB is acting legally – but won’t say how. And he says we are spying – but won’t say on who. The Prime Minister has fronted media after a day of controversy caused by the publication of documents taken by whistleblower Edward Snowden while a contractor for the United States’ National Security Agency. He refused to talk in specifics but said: “Some of the information was incorrect, some of the information was out of date, some of the assumptions made were just plain wrong.”
    The documents were published in the Herald today in a collaborative reporting effort with investigative journalist Nicky Hager and the US news site The Intercept, which has access to the Snowden documents. It showed New Zealand’s electronic eavesdropping agency, the GCSB, was moving to “full take collection” of the Pacific in 2009 with a British intelligence document saying by 2012 “we can access both strong selected data and full-take feed” from the GCSB’s Waihopai satellite dish base. […] Documents released today show the electronic eavesdropping agency, the Government Communications Security Bureau, used an online shopping-style system for partner intelligence agencies wanting access to computers which held intercepted email, internet and phone traffic from the Pacific.
    Read more + Video

    • Mike

      Well we heard from the GCSB’s previous head about why he thinks their mass surveillance of kiwis is legal on Morning Report this morning – it’s because they collect all the information and pass it to the Americans without looking at it – Kafka would be proud!

  6. Elizabeth

    ### radionz.co.nz Friday 6 March 2015
    RNZ National – Morning Report with Susie Ferguson & Guyon Espiner

    Former GCSB director unfazed by spy revelations
    07:19 Government leaders from both Tonga and Samoa say they are not that concerned about the intercepting of their communications.
    Audio | Download: Ogg MP3 ( 7′ 35″ )

    Spying on Pacific Islands a grey area
    08:11 The former director of the Government Communications Security Bureau has confirmed to Morning Report that there is mass collection of personal communications in the Pacific.
    Audio | Download: Ogg MP3 ( 5′ 39″ )

  7. Elizabeth

    ODT editor dragging his heels with a lot of speech mark emphases. A long preamble to the last sentence.

    ### ODT Online Fri, 6 Mar 2015
    Editorial: The question of spying
    So New Zealand is “spying” on some of our “closest”, “friendliest” and most “vulnerable” neighbours. Those are the emotive words being bandied about in the wake of the supposed “revelations” in documents released by former American National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden, the “whistleblower” now living in exile in Russia.
    Read more

  8. Elizabeth

    Kamal Hothi (@kamal_hothi) tweeted at 2:48 PM on Fri, Mar 06, 2015:
    All of the Snowden NZ files are up on document cloud now and embedded in a more readable format now in the story. http://t.co/12jkROTmvP

  9. Elizabeth


    Morning Report (@NzMorningReport) tweeted at 7:27 AM on Mon, Mar 09, 2015:
    .@johnkeypm won’t say whether there is mass surveillance of NZers data. Listen back to @GuyonEspiner with the PM.

    John Key: ‘The law is very clear about what it allows us to do when it comes to New Zealanders, and all the advice I’ve had is that we are 100 percent compliant.’

    ### ODT Online Mon, 9 Mar 2015
    Key on mass data collection – ‘I don’t know what you mean’
    Prime Minister John Key has refused to respond to claims by the former GCSB director of “mass collection” of data on New Zealanders. Mr Key, speaking to Radio New Zealand this morning, said he didn’t understand what former GCSB director Bruce Ferguson meant by the term. NZME
    Read more

    • Mike

      So before he swore we weren’t being spied on, now he won’t tell us – what changed?

      • Hype O'Thermia

        Completely by-the-bye, how many instances of memory “glitches” does it take before a person is given a thorough health check for other signs of dementia?
        There are many causes of dementia besides Alzheimers. “Mini strokes” is one of them, small episodes that may not have been noticed by the patient or anyone else at the time.

    • Elizabeth

      At ODT Online, brilliant:

      Maintaining radio silence
      Submitted by L8Show on Mon, 09/03/2015 – 9:58am.

      […], or bracketed ellipsis, does not work on radio unless it is spoken as open three dots, close. The description is now ‘systematic monitoring’, rather than mass collection. Over.

  10. Calvin Oaten

    Nothing’s changed. It’s just the PM as usual, “running with the hares and hunting with the hounds”. That way he gets to be seen as everybody’s friend, that is until they wake up. As the saying goes, “Oh what tangled webs we weave when once we practice to deceive.”

    • Elizabeth

      {The early editions of Marmion use Scott’s original spelling of “practice” (still used in the USA). Later editions, compiled without Scott’s oversight, usually favour the modern standard British English spelling of “practise”. -Eds}

  11. Hype O'Thermia

    He had another memory issue?

    • Mike

      Really I think he’s realised that people are calling him on his promise to resign if there’s mass surveillance, now there’s evidence corroborated by the previous head of the GCSB it’s all “I know nothing ….”

  12. Calvin Oaten

    I stand corrected Ed, and the memory ain’t that hot either. Bummer!

    {Your usage of ‘practice’ is still technically correct. -Eds}

  13. Elizabeth

    Prime Minister John Key chaired the committee which comprises the Minister Responsible for the GCSB and SIS Chris Finlayson, Justice Minister Amy Adams, Opposition leader Andrew Little and Labour foreign affairs spokesman David Shearer.

    ### NZ Herald Online 2:14 PM Wednesday Mar 11, 2015
    ‘Transparency is not an easy matter’ – GCSB director
    By Audrey Young – Herald political editor.
    The GCSB acting chief, Una Jagose, said the answer to the real tension between her bureau’s need for secrecy and the public’s demand for greater transparency lay in the independent oversight of the agency, New Zealand’s foreign intelligence agency.
    The post of Inspector General of Intelligence and Security is held by Cheryl Gwyn, a former deputy Solicitor- General. “She is entitled to and does, come into the bureau at any time and she can look at anything she likes. She can question any of us under oath. She can ask for any document or explanation.”
    The job used to be a part-time job held by a retired judge. It is now full-time, with a full-time deputy and five investigators.
    Ms Jaose, who was also deputy Solicitor-General before stepping into to Ian Fletcher’s role last week, was appearing before the Intelligence and Security Committee at Parliament ostensibly to discuss the annual report of the Government Communications Security Bureau, alongside Rebecca Kitteridge, who is director of the Security Intelligence Service.
    Read more

  14. Elizabeth

    At his blog, Chris Trotter probes John Key PM’s mastery of the dark arts of “mass deception”. One of our better Kiwi political writers and observers.

    Not understood
    The Prime Minister doesn’t know what “mass collection” means. This is surprising – given that the Prime Minister has spoken English all his life. http://bowalleyroad.blogspot.co.nz/2015/03/not-understood.html?m=1

    • Cars

      Perhaps he’s of catholic pursuasion! Or alternatively as a non- catholic he does not understand mass. He’s not a scientist. Anyway mass (doesn’t) matter!

  15. Elizabeth

    NZ Herald gets to the guts of it, GSCB scooping data on Solomon officials…. this news via Nicky Hager and the Intercept, release of documents. How will our PM respond ???

    GCSB spied on Solomon Islands PM’s aideshttp://m.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=11417445

    [updated comment, predictive text said Samoan….]

  16. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Tue, 19 May 2015
    Editorial: An investigation into integrity
    OPINION Intelligence and Security Inspector-general Cheryl Gwyn has started an inquiry into the way the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) undertakes its foreign intelligence activities.
    Usually, there would be nothing unusual about the inspector-general undertaking such an inquiry. After all, it is her job. What makes it interesting is the nature of the inquiry. Ms Gwyn initiated the investigation in response to issues recently raised around Trade Minister Tim Groser’s bid to become Director-general of the World Trade Organisation.
    Read more

  17. Elizabeth

    ### NZ Herald Online 2:55 PM Saturday May 23, 2015
    Leaked documents show NZ and spy partners planned to hack smartphones
    By John Weekes
    New Zealand and its spying partners exploited weaknesses in one of the world’s most popular mobile browsers and planned to hack into smartphones, according to top secret documents leaked this week. The Five Eyes partners are accused of targeting links to Google and Samsung app stores in a project civil liberties activists have denounced. The spy agencies deliberately sought security vulnerabilities, but failed to inform companies or the public, leaving the private data of millions of people at risk, civil liberties group OpenMedia said today. The leaked Top Secret document was posted on the Canadian CBC News site, in conjunction with The Intercept, after whistleblower and fugitive Edward Snowden acquired it. Apart from discussing how to propagate surveillance software, the newly-revealed document also described efforts to place messages and other communications data on smartphones. NZME
    Read more

    The Intercept: NSA planned to hijack Google App Store to hack smartphones

  18. Elizabeth

    Big Data Published on Nov 17, 2014
    Big Data – “Dangerous (feat. Joywave)” [LYRIC VIDEO] (NSFW)
    The internet is a many-splendored thing. It is also the subject of the “Dangerous” lyric video. (NSFW)
    Video by SCANTRON and Greg Yagolnitzer.

  19. Elizabeth

    Tue, 5 Apr 2016
    ODT: Hager taking police back to court
    Nicky Hager has filed more High Court proceedings against police, less than a month after his last successful court case against them wrapped up. Mr Hager’s legal team today announced that documents released to him by police under the Privacy Act on February 29 allegedly reveal that police also obtained his travel information from airlines.

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