NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has penned a firm rebuke to New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, accusing the head of state of “not telling the truth about mass surveillance” and issuing this plainly worded warning to residents of the country: “If you live in New Zealand, you are being watched.”
Snowden’s comments were published in The Intercept on Monday alongside new reporting by journalists Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Gallagher which claims to show how New Zealand’s spy agency, the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), launched a major digital surveillance program—codenamed Project Speargun—at the very same time the Key government was denying the existence of such programs.
Citing evidence contained in NSA documents leaked by Snowden, Greenwald and Gallagher report that the activities of GCSB—including setting up sophisticated traps on the internet cables that join New Zealand with the global web—”are in direct conflict with the assurances given to the public” by Prime Minister Key.
According to the report:
The controversy over domestic spying in New Zealand takes place just days ahead of national elections. On Sunday, seeming to understand that The Intercept story was on the verge of publication, Key admitted that his government “considered” implementing what he termed a “mass cyber protection system,” but that the scheme was never carried out.
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