Monday, July 22, 2013

Media Release: Business as usual for spooks

Organising Against State Intelligence and Surveillance (OASIS)
22 July 2013

The country’s top spooks will be meeting in Wellington tomorrow (July 23) for the annual conference of the NZ Institute of Intelligence Professionals (NZIIP).

Every day, more details about large scale spying by the NSA, the GCHQ and other agencies is being revealed.

“The spy industry seems to be un-fazed by the Snowden leaks and is carrying on with business as usual,” OASIS spokesperson Anna Thorby said.

“And why wouldn’t they? The NZ government is giving them a clear message of more business to come by pushing through a Bill that would legalise the GCSB’s spying on New Zealanders.”

“The links between the government and the private spying industry are clear. Palantir, the main sponsor of the conference, is advertising for engineers to be ‘embedded’ with the New Zealand government. They are already supplying software for both the NSA and the New Zealand army.

“SIS director Warren Tucker has been the patron for the NZIIP since its start in 2008 and is about to become a ‘fellow’ of the institute.”

At the institute’s inaugural meeting, then prime minister Helen Clark gave a speech in which she indicated that she already knew about the NSA and GCHQ’s blanket collection of communication.

Clark said: “For some states […] the protective imperative has led to the balance being struck in favour of providing their intelligence organizations with access to large data sets.”

The title of this year’s conference is “Exploring Behavioural Drivers” and speakers will focus on how to use those large data sets to predict people’s behaviour.

“While the state is saying that this is used to detect terrorist plans, it can equally be used to suppress any form of political dissent and to influence debate,” Ms Thorby said.

“In the light of recent events highlighting the exposure of both the NSA and GCSB’s illegal surveillance, it should not be business as usual for the spies. There should be no more strengthening of ties between the corporate and state spies. Rather it is time to step back and re-evalaute the whole UKUSA Agreement. NZ should pull out of it now.”


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