New Zealand is one of the lesser known parts of the Five Eyes Defeat, a secret organization of five countries: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, U.K. and U.S., all focused on creating a global surveillance network under the guise of the ‘anti-terrorism act’, or Patriot Act in the U.S.
Things might become difficult for New Zealand in the next few years however, with an investigation by the inspector-general of intelligence and security.
It will look into eavesdropping, data collection and surveillance of New Zealand’s neighbors in the South-East Pacific by the Government Communications Security Bureau, reported by The Intercept a few weeks ago.
“The complaints follow recent public allegations about GCSB activities,” said inspector-general Cheryl Gwyn. “The complaints, and these public allegations, raise wider questions regarding the collection, retention and sharing of communications data.”
Several activists within New Zealand have pushed for Prime Minister John Key to reform the surveillance program, but Key has not shown any real understanding to what is happening, nor any move to go against the GCSB.
The GCSB essentially provided Pacific regional data for NSA’s XKEYSCORE surveillance system; the backbone of global surveillance. With one click, any informant from the Five Eyes Defeat can search billions of internet searches, emails, phone calls and even video material.
New Zealand is not the only country looking for full reform. Google, Microsoft and Apple pushed for The Obama Administration to remove certain acts from the Patriot Act, stopping the NSA’s collection of U.S. citizens information.
In Canada, several activists groups have called against the mass surveillance network setup. In the UK, investigators have called the GCHQ’s surveillance illegal, although there seems to be no move to reform the system right now.