The Greens in New Zealand have complained to the nation’s Inspector General of Intelligence and Security after allegations a key security agency was undertaking mass surveillance of New Zealanders travelling in the Pacific.
The complaint was laid after revelations based on documents obtained by fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden.
They say the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) intercepts email, phone and social media communications from countries such as Fiji, Solomon Islands and Samoa, then sends the information to the US National Security Agency.
Prime minister John Key has repeated previous assertions intelligence agencies act within the law, especially since a new GCSB law was passed.
But Greens co-leader Russel Norman says the actions amount to mass surveillance of New Zealanders, which Mr Key says isn’t happening.
‘The GCSB was never supposed to be targeting the private communications of New Zealanders. Here they’ve done it in a mass scale indiscriminately and handed it offshore,’ Dr Norman told Radio New Zealand.
‘If the PM is going to argue that that’s lawful, then effectively the new act then does allow the GCSB to engage in mass surveillance of New Zealand citizens and residents, which is the exact opposite of what the government says. They can’t have it both ways.’
The complaint is being laid with the Inspector General to clarify the law, Dr Norman said.
Samoa’s Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi says his country has nothing to hide.
‘We are not a security risk to any small island nearby and I’m sure the phone conversations by any old matai to his son in New Zealand will not be of interest to the FBI of the great USA.’