NRT: Key admits the GCSB has broken the law

Written By: - Date published: 4:45 pm, September 17th, 2014 - 17 comments
Categories: law, Spying - Tags: , ,

no-right-turn-256Reposted from No Right Turn

When on Monday Edward Snowden alleged that New Zealand data was held in the NSA’s XKEYSCORE database, and that the GCSB had access to it, Key refused to comment. Now he’s come clean and admitted that Snowden “may well be right”. But its all OK because (according to Key) the information wasn’t gathered by GCSB. Except then he says that it is:

“However, what I can say in terms of those kinds of Five Eyes databases… yes New Zealand will contribute some information but not mass, wholesale surveillance as people might say.”

Parsing this, John Key is clearly saying that the GCSB is collecting (some) information on New Zealanders for intelligence purposes. The problem? That’s absolutely illegal. While Key inserted a nice little loophole allowing metadata spying for cybersecurity purposes, his spy law still explicitly bans the GCSB from spying on New Zealanders for intelligence purposes. Which raises the obvious question: are the GCSB breaking the law by spying on kiwis for intelligence purposes, or are they breaking the law by spying for cybersecurity then using the information for intelligence purposes anyway? I think we deserve some answers on this.

Also note: if the GCSB has access to XKEYSCORE, and XKEYSCORE has information on New Zealanders, then arguably they’ve intercepted it even if that information has been collected by another agency, as they have “acquired” it. And if they actually look at it, there’s no “arguable” about it. Acquiring or receiving a communication, or acquiring its “substance, meaning, or sense” (meaning a summary or translation) is legallyintercepting it, and if done without a lawful warrant (and again, no warrant on a New Zealander for intelligence purposes is lawful) is a crime. So, GCSB staff trained in XKEYSCORE: congratulations, you’re all criminals.

17 comments on “NRT: Key admits the GCSB has broken the law”

  1. Tracey 1

    Does it though?

    Rod Harrison was suggesting back during the debate of this that the new Act enabled spying on us all, took it from illegal to legal?

  2. philj 2

    Dancing on the head of a pin again Pinokeyo.

  3. Kaplan 3

    Are we certain it’s not actually being stored here:

    No one has ever adequately explained why the chinese wanted to look at our weather predictions.

  4. Sable 4

    There is no legitimate law in this country anymore. Its becoming a tacky little US satellite state along the lines of Puerto Rico. Run by craven quislings whose only job is to keep the people poor and desperate for any work whilst they and their foreign masters milk them for all they are worth.

  5. karol 5

    Selwyn Manning’s latest article is very informative. It’s on the NSA’s use of PPPs, and the possibility that NSA’s operations in NZ are run by a corporate front eg Palantir.

    He draws on the Snowden documents (about NZ and elsewhere) plus other research, mostly done online.

    Has the Prime Minister been outplayed by the deep state, the true masters of the great game? And while we are searching to locate the NSA’s base in New Zealand, could it actually be that the US spy agency has deployed the perfect mask, a PPP like no other?
    The NSA’s PPP arrangements permit the state-aligned entity to avoid laws, regulations and statutory controls on what it, and other Five Eyes members like the GCSB, can and cannot do.

    Long, detailed, and a must read.

  6. Tony 6

    It’s just a matter of semantics! Of course the GCSB is not undertaking mass surveillance on NZers – they simply don’t have the resources. But mass information gathering, ah, that’s another matter. Then they can access any of that gathered information to look at anyone they wish to investigate.

    • Steve 6.1

      Of course it’s semantics and slippery is now wriggling big time and what has been going on is indeed mass surveillance. If there’s a “security” camera set up in a street to monitor the comings and goings that is what we would commonly refer to as surveillance. Completely irrelevant as to whether it’s being watched or not.

  7. Wolfram Alfalfa 7

    Cybersecurity = mass surveillance of subsets of the main set (the Main set being all NZers) using Algorithims analysing data from Overseas that was not gathered in your country (but still stolen). Use taps for local data connections (key point is you need to get local NZ data out to 5 eyes partners) then bring the 2 data sets together.

    When does a set become a subset (i.e. mass surveillance becomes targeted, scaled down)

    1.Government + Corporate (risk + probability – who you are, what data you could have accesses to, skill, knowledge, degrees,.your background, “unusual behavior”, social net work analysis GPS phone/car, facial + number plate recognition (basically anything that makes sense to measure, you measure accurately, particularly physical (location/who you talk to) as harder to fake). Typically by who you associate with. Tap computers at source/home, get round vpn, tor or already present in hardware brought from source etc……

    2. Same as above for any other subset of people (operation 8 or anti TPP)
    Algorithm = warning = activation = look at data = look at someone, track them….(question is if an algorithm sees, is it accessing the data, are people seeing = analogy = full body security scans US airports, you only see a generic profile, not the body, if something dodgy, then alarm, note CCT computer analysis at airports…. checks body movements etc.

    Note majority of people probably do have petty crime to hide (i.e. illegal downloads etc), essentially not interested in that…. its political thought crime or if you like anything that can destabilize the system. Particularly Government workers, security, military and or big business.

    The KEY Question, though, is whose system. The system that backs up TPP…..and at what point does mass surveillance become scaled down?

  8. karol 8

    Just found a couple of articles showing there were questions asked last year about NSA tapping the Southern Cross Cable.

    I see someone else has just found this one too – being retweeted around the place: Southern Cross Cable company offered spy acces to the cable so Telecom could keep the costs down: David Fisher article August 2013.

    Last month Denis Teggg had discovered an NSA engineer had been in NZ in 2013:

    New Zealand lawyer Denis Tegg found a reference to the engineer’s visit in unclassified NSA papers saying he was in New Zealand for technical discussions regarding a future Government Communications Security Bureau SSO site.

    SSO stands for Special Source Operations, which have the ability to tap countries’ fibre-optic cables so phone calls, internet and email use can be intercepted.

    Green Party co-leader Russel Norman said on Friday the revelation about the meeting in Blenheim, where the GCSB has its Waihopai spy base, is extraordinary. He said the Government needs to be honest with New Zealanders about whether they’re being spied on using powerful US technology.
    Russel Norman.

    “This is about establishing an interception point on the Southern Cross cable that connects New Zealand to the rest of the world, he said.”

    John Minto had raised questions about the possible tapping of the Southern Cross cable in May this year.

  9. timbo 9

    Do you think we could get Cheryl Gwyn a warrant to use XKEYSCORE to have a look at Jason Ede’s emails, and those sent from the Level 9 photocopier? That’d leave Mr Key with a few questions to answer…

    • Wolfram Alfalfa 9.1

      Hey Timbo, hold that thought…

      How about using XKEYSCORE to sort out if the Dotcom e-mail is real or not, also any of Keys comms as well.

      e-mail: Purporting to be from Warner Bros’ the head of home entertainment Kevin Tsujihara to MPAA’s Asia-Pacific president Michael Ellis claiming that “John Keywas keen to grant Dotcom residency despite pushback from officials about his criminal past.

      Or worse still, is the USA Dept of Justice a bit like Crusher collins? i.e. allegedly pushing agendas for certain companies?

  10. Wolfram Alfalfa 10

    Sorry, just thinking out of the box;

    In New Zealand, Lockheed Martin employs over 200 people in its project ALEXANDER logistics management and warehousing solution, which supports the New Zealand Defence Force, Police and other emergency and essential services organisations?

  11. rich the other 11

    Well Well , A big day for Key , justification that everyone will understand .

    Ausse spy agency’s have foiled a terror attack in Sydney .
    It seems a random BEHEADING was one of the planned acts .
    By the end of today , any of this anti spying /GCSB rhetoric will be put into perspective by voters , like it or not spying is here to stay .

    • One Anonymous Bloke 11.1

      If it’s all about spying on would-be violent criminals why is all the private conversation focussed on economic espionage?

      It will be interesting to see if the Aussie allegations yield guilty verdicts and how any evidence has been gathered.

      Key is in the gun because he lied and lied and lied; as Greenwald says, this (ubiquitous surveillance) is a decision for the New Zealand public, not lying Prime Ministers.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 11.2

      By the way, there is no number of beheadings that will help you put the glitter back on the turd. He’s a dangerous liar and everyone can see.

    • Kaplan 11.3

      So why doesn’t Key just say what we all know? ‘Yes the NSA collects metadata on Kiwis and the GCSB is able to view that data’?
      If it’s justifiable, then say so.

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