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Spying on penguins

Written By: - Date published: 8:59 am, March 11th, 2015 - 50 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, Spying - Tags: , , , ,

The latest on the spying revelations as they emerge in The Herald. Apparently we’re spying on penguins now…

New Zealand’s spy reach stretches across globe

New Zealand spies on Vietnam, China, India, Pakistan, South American nations and a range of other countries to help fill gaps in worldwide surveillance operations by the United States National Security Agency (NSA), documents show.

The NSA profile of the GCSB reveals the New Zealand organisation is running spying operations against 20 or more countries, including friendly nations and trading partners. The eavesdropping stretches from India and Iran in Asia to isolated scientific bases in Antarctica. These countries are listed in the NSA report in a section headed “What Partner Provides to NSA”.

The monitoring is done by intercepting Antarctic satellite links at the Waihopai base. About 20 nations have year-round bases in Antarctica, most of which use the same few satellite links.

Antarctica is of course a well known hotbed of terrorist penguin activity. Totally justified.

GCSB has a Warriorpride capability … the Warriorpride system uses malware to infect and spy on computers, and to monitor cellphones including iPhones and Androids. The NSA report said the GCSB’s “authorisation to use the NSA system had expired” – meaning the Warriorpride spying in the Asean country had been occurring previously but not at that time – and “GCSB is working to reestablish it”.

The April 2013 profile of the GCSB includes a passage on the US agency’s perception of its New Zealand ally. The NSA officer wrote: “The GCSB highly values its relationship with NSA” and the GCSB would “continue to seek and support mutually beneficial efforts that demonstrate its commitment to national and international security through its foreign partnership”. The NSA saw the GCSB as a reliable supporter, ready and willing to “demonstrate its commitment”.

Heaps more, and original documents, in The Herald piece. Fine work from The Herald, but isn’t it time for a “Privacy under attack” banner headline campaign?

50 comments on “Spying on penguins”

  1. tracey 1

    Those aren’t penguins. They are nat party donors in their tuxedos

  2. tracey 2

    Democray Under Attack

    Key should resign

    • Would the replacement put a stop to this? I think not. The rot goes all the way down.

      • tracey 2.1.1

        who knows, but if he were forced to resign a message would be sent that aint being sent now… and his successor would know that constant lying results in resignation. The English chuck their leaders and MPs out for far less.

  3. ghostwhowalksnz 3

    Im a bit perplexed at the documents originals included in the Heralds story.

    They are all full of NSA jargon but have large areas blacked out.

    This mean that the herald has put them through the GCSB vetting process first ?

    • Colonial Rawshark 3.1

      Ahhhh a very good point. Mind you Hager would have agreed to these specific black outs – one presumes.

  4. The satellite communications used by Antarctic bases are strategically important because they also serve as conduits for submarine and space telemetry. All major powers have Antarctic scientific bases that rely on said satellites, but the utility of the latter extends beyond the Antarctic.

  5. jenny kirk 5

    What I can’t figure out : if they have all this sophisticated spying equipment, how come they haven’t found the person who perpetrated the 1080 scare threat ?

    • ghostwhowalksnz 5.1

      Didnt you see the LETTER they sent !

    • Bill 5.2

      Who says they don’t already know who the perpetrator is? Imagine…a few days out from the Northland bye-election and….up they’re popped with, or course, some vague connection to NZF.

      (I believe it was Pigman who pointed out NZF have an anti-1080 policy on their platform.)

    • weka 5.3

      “What I can’t figure out : if they have all this sophisticated spying equipment, how come they haven’t found the person who perpetrated the 1080 scare threat ?”

      See, this is why we need CCTV in people’s homes. It’s just too easy at the moment to conspire to post a letter without using any harvestable data. Fuck it, let’s just go straight to electronic eye implants that feed back into the grid. Fit them at birth. That way we can know what everyone is doing at all times.

      Or, we could move towards participatory democracy, and addressing the reasons that people feel the need to do stupid shit in the first place.

    • McFlock 5.4

      lol

      the inconsiderate doofus should have sent an email.
      Honestly, if the evil-doers won’t even meet us half way…

  6. ghostwhowalksnz 6

    I see that GCSB lawyers were in 2013 working with NSA lawyers over the Dotcom spying case.

    The jargon used is ‘understanding the impact on NSA equities’

    You could conclude the US is getting information from GCSB regarding Dotcom and their case to extradite him

  7. Gosman 7

    Guyon Espiner had Nicky Hagers measure on Radio NZ National this morning. He pointed out that the list of countries that Mr Hager was trying to claim we have only just started spying on included countries (e.g. Japan, vietnam, and China) that were revealed we were spying on back in 1986 and that Mr Hager has already written about. He also asked why the Pacific Islands leadership don’t seem to be too concerned about this and Mr Hager’s answer was incredibly patronising.

    [“Nowadays, New Zealand is right in the midst of extremely high-tech spying against a new set of countries with new sets of technologies, against India, Pakistan, China, Vietnam, he said.

    In other words Gos, you’re contention that he said the spying is new, is a lie. You had over an hour to provide the proof of of your claim through linking, or to retract your lie. You have done neither.

    This ‘new’ ploy being adopted (the assertion of falsehoods as facts) with the intention of derailing threads and chewing others’ time is a very fine line, that Bea managed to tread yesterday, but that you just failed to tread today.

    Banned for one week.] – Bill

    • Tracey 7.1

      so those not concerned will now just give access and info rather than have the expense and farce of spying to get it?

    • Why not provide a link to back up your statements?

      • Gosman 7.2.1

        Just because you asked so nicely 😉

        http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player/20170412

        [Too late. And it refutes your assertion anyway. See above.] – Bill

        • weka 7.2.1.1

          Well moderated Bill. I was going to go look up the audio, etc, but really what’s the fucking point because these are hit and run trole posts that are never going to be anything other than sucking people into defensive arguments instead of constructive debate.

        • ghostwhowalksnz 7.2.1.2

          Previously were using satellite intercepts from our own territory, now we are using our embassy facilities in their capital cities to grab cell phone
          communication.

          This is the difference between then and now.

          Poor old Gosman, still living in the 80s.

  8. mary_a 8

    Spying on penguins 🙂 Love it.

    Then perhaps the penguins have something to fear, so probably have something to hide! Never trust a penguin, so it’s always a good idea to carry out mass surveillance on them. Just in case.

    For national security of course, so we can sleep better at night!

  9. ghostwhowalksnz 9

    You are not keeping up Gosman.

    Technology has moved on, Waihopai is satellite dishes ( old news), now the NZ missions in those countries have NSA eavesdropping equipment in their embassy’s to spy on mobile phone networks.

  10. Tom Gould 10

    It’s one thing for Key to put his hand where his heart is supposed to be and promise our spies don’t spy on us en-masse. But someone does, right. And our agencies can ‘key-stroke’ their way through it, right. So where does the information end up?

  11. The Murphey 11

    Q. So the networks of ‘bot pc’s’ reported over the years were most likely ‘tests’ ?

    Q. The accusations against Huawei blatant hypocrisy ?

  12. Ennui 12

    Where ever there is the opportunity to collect and store data it will occur. Recently I got shocked by Facebook…It was suggesting befriending “people I might know”. Included were old acquaintances, girlfriends, school mates, relatives etc over a whole lifetime. The same occurred on LinkedIn. ..

    The point at issue is that these sites juggle meta data to make this happen. If an organisation were to cross link all this meta data with eftpos / phone / Google etc then they can get a pretty decent picture of an individual. Orwellian this indeed is happening. Big brother is here already. Our involvement in spying on our citizens exists already. Key and his lackies dress this up every way they can to deny it…..when really confronted they always go down the line of “If you have done nothing wrong you have nothing to fear”.

    Unfortunately the people you must fear most are your fellow citizens. They will buy the argument that you have done wrong when goons in blue take you away…remember Neimoller “First they came for the socialists and I said nothing. ..then they came for me…”

    If we are to be a true democracy that respects the rights of the citizens we must outlaw and actively police data mining. Our “security agencies” need to be scrapped and rebuilt as citizen controlled entities (ie under constant review from politically polar opposites, judiciary and state service bodies). We might have career intelligence experts but they must never be allowed control….The current crop of SIS and ex services types are a tail that wags the dog. They actually need to become subservient to a dog with big teeth.

    • Murray Rawshark 12.1

      +1
      The US agencies that we pay the bill for are hopelessly compromised. We need to disestablish them and build Kiwi agencies.

  13. Just as a sidebar. The 1080/infant formula blackmail plot puts paid to the claims that the main domestic terrorist threat comes from home grown jihadis and returning foreign fighters. It also demonstrates that the extension of state powers of search, surveillance and seizure under successive security Acts cannot prevent a low level yet determined perpetrator of politically-motivated symbolic violence. Finally, it suggests that the threat orientation of NZ security agencies may be misplaced, at least when it comes to evaluating the origins of domestic terrorist threats.

    Since the definition of “national security” in NZ include “threats to the economic wellbeing” of the nation, the blackmail plot is indeed a national security threat, even if not a terrorist act.

    I realise that blackmail is not terrorism per se, but instilling fear in targeted sectors of the population in order to alter government policy certainly is in line with terrorist strategy. Hence it appears that the government has been looking at the wrong threats in order to justify the expansion of the security apparatus, and even that expansion is not enough to deter, much less thwart, a determined unconventional actor, particularly one that manages to fly under the radar because the spies and cops are looking elsewhere.

    • jenny kirk 13.1

      Yes – Paul G.B – you put it so much better than I did. This 1080 threat (if it is real) is making a fool of all those promoting mass surveillance because for all the clever technology and equipment, it appears the police, the SIS, GCSB and whoever cannot find the blackmailer.

      • Sorry, Jenny, I overlooked your earlier post. Another important thing to get out of the 1080/formula threats is NZ’s economic vulnerability to foreign boycotts or retaliation. The blackmailer has already cost the dairy industry millions, and that has not included any foreign boycott as a result of concerns about food safety.

        With revelations that NZ spies on its trading partners, the risk of retaliation by those partners increases. The range of retaliatory measures is broad, and because NZ is so trade dependent and small, the impact will be far greater than in its larger 5 Eyes partners. Similarly, should it turn out that NZ spies on diplomatic partners, its international reputation may suffer. That is something Nicky Hager has mentioned and is worth repeating: NZ is the most vulnerable of the 5 Eyes partners and spies routinely at their behest at its peril.

        • lprent 13.1.1.1

          It is a damn silly thing to do, especially as I can’t see what in the hell we get out of it.

          • Colonial Rawshark 13.1.1.1.1

            Our elites get to feel important, and the ones with security clearance get to look up what their former spouses, potential love interests and business partners are up to.

        • tracey 13.1.1.2

          except the government advised our foreign markets many months ago… which supposedly gives our markets confidence we will come clean with problems and have them under control?

          • Paul G. Buchanan 13.1.1.2.1

            tracey:

            Could you elaborate? I have not heard anything about market contingency advice and am wondering in any event how it might mitigate potential fallout if spied-upon countries decide to retaliate, say, by arresting Kiwi business people on charges of corruption or tax evasion. The bottom line is that negative responses can and will not be limited to the market.

            OTH, the revelations could have a decided impact on the future of the TPPA if it turns out the four 5 Eyes partners party to the negotiations were spying on the other parties (like Japan or Chile) and coordinating their positions accordingly.

            Since there are more NZ-related spying revelations to come, I foresee trouble ahead.

            • tracey 13.1.1.2.1.1

              Fed farmers today on RNZN advised that they understand government depts advised counterparts in our important markets and the big market players long before it went public here.

              I made my comment in response to your statement

              “The blackmailer has already cost the dairy industry millions, and that has not included …”

              Of course Fed Farmers are not without a vested interest publicity-wise.

              • Colonial Rawshark

                You can be very certain that our foreign counterparts have only been told part of the story, just as much as our spooks think that they can get away with. The old “limited hang out” strategy.

  14. ropata 14

    i bet they haven’t hacked my superb Nokia 808 old school Symbian phone 🙂

    • lprent 14.1

      Nope. But I bet it doesn’t have an ability to provide a wireless access point either..

      I find I never really use a cellphone as a phone. Why would I want to *talk* to people? They interrupt writing code and scanning things with long winded waffling that starts with being irritatingly polite and winds up wasting my time.

      But a cellphone for my computer. Hey now that is a way of getting mobile!

      • The 808 can do that. Nokia tech was10 years ahead of its time and forgotten in the iPhone frenzy. Bad marketing and uninspiring design compared to iThings.

  15. MrSmith 15

    People need to know that Labour are part of the ‘Club’, they have no problem with the NSA spying on you or any other members of the ‘Club’ it would seem after their lame duck appearance at the select committee.

    It needs to be said nothing will change under a Labour lead Government, they are part of the problem and will just step/slip into the five eyes network on National departing.

    If this bothers you let them know.

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