New evidence shows that the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) is almost certainly sharing metadata with the US spy agency NSA, the Green Party said today.
Newly released documents from NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden detail an NSA search engine, known as ICREACH, which contains over 850 billion records of metadata on phone calls, mobile phone locations and emails. The documents suggest that this data is then shared amongst Five Eyes partners, including New Zealand.
A document from 2008 also states that the GCSB had agreed that the metadata it collects may be shared with the US Intelligence Community. It is not clear whether this metadata is domestic or foreign.
"Once again, we're seeing evidence that directly links New Zealand spies to a global mass surveillance network," said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman.
"John Key needs to rule out New Zealanders' data is being shared under this arrangement.
"Changes made to the GCSB's powers last year mean they can now spy on New Zealanders and have the ability to access our communications via our telecommunication providers.
"This new evidence puts the GCSB at the heart of the mass surveillance network and contradicts what Prime Minister John Key has been claiming all along - that New Zealand doesn't supply information to outside organisations.
"Prime Minister John Key and the GCSB have no choice but to start answering questions about what it means for New Zealand to be a member of the Five Eyes network.
"Most importantly, the Prime Minister needs to be clear about whether the metadata that the GCSB agreed to share was collected on foreigners, or whether it was in fact New Zealanders' private information that was being collected.
"New Zealanders deserve to know the truth about whether their personal information is being collected and possibly shared offshore, and for what purpose.
"Over and over again we're seeing these types of documents trickling out into the public sphere, which fly in the face of claims by the National Government that New Zealand is not tied up with the global spying network.
"It's becoming increasingly implausible for Key to claim that New Zealand is not participating in the type of activity that the other Five Eyes partners have been found to be undertaking, when over and over again we're seeing evidence to the contrary.
"We need a wide ranging independent inquiry into New Zealand's intelligence agencies to ensure proper oversight. In response to the Snowden leaks, other countries have taken this step; New Zealand must follow suit," said Dr Norman.