New Zealand spies on neighbours as part of secret surveillance scheme, leak reveals

Fresh Edward Snowden documents show global reach of spying on 'allied' countries

THE Government Communications Security Bureau, New Zealand's security services, have been sweeping up data across the Asia-Pacific region and sharing the information with the United States.

A report on the news site The Intercept, disclosed the files that formed part of the evidence leaked by American whistleblower Edward Snowden. (click here to read more)

An intelligence base in Waihopai Valley, New Zealand, intercepts data from Asia-Pacific countries using the XKEYSCORE system, which is a program that analyses vast amounts of emails, internet browsing sessions and online chats from 150 different locations worldwide.

Previous Snowden leaks revealed spying by the National Security Organisation (NSA) on American allies, including the phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

New Zealand is part of the 'Five Eyes' alliance, which includes electronic eavesdropping agencies from New Zealand, the UK, USA, Canada, and Australia.

The UK equivalent, Government Communication Head Quarters (GCHQ), was described by Edwards Snowden as "worse" than its US equivalents.

The GCHQ system 'Tempora' was used to extract data from UK telephone calls, email message content, Facebook entries and internet histories.

Lawyers acting for GCHQ have said it would be impossible to list the total number of people targeted by Tempora because "this would be an infinite list which we couldn't manage".

Recently a tribunal judged that GCHQ acted unlawfully when accessing the private communications of millions of people. The UK legal challenge was led by campaign organisations Liberty, Amnesty International and Privacy International. (Click here to read more.)

GCHQ also spied on foreign politicians during the G-20 summit in London, 2009.

In 2003 ex-GCHQ employee Katharine Gun leaked detailed of a plot to bug UN delegates discussions on crucial votes on the war in Iraq. (click here to read more.)

Politicians in the UK are divided on how much power intelligence services should have to intercept private communications.

Picture courtesy of lamentables

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