Author Topic: U.S. surveillance row washes up on Pacific allies' shores  (Read 326 times)

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Offline EC

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U.S. surveillance row washes up on Pacific allies' shores
« on: June 09, 2013, 06:15:30 AM »
Via Reuters:

(Reuters) - Unease over a clandestine U.S. data collection program has rippled across the Pacific to two of Washington's major allies, Australia and New Zealand, raising concerns about whether they have cooperated with secret electronic data mining.

Both Canberra and Wellington share intelligence with the United States, as well as Britain and Canada. But both Pacific neighbors now face awkward questions about a U.S. digital surveillance program that Washington says is aimed primarily at foreigners.

In Australia, the conservative opposition said it was "very troubled" by America's so-called PRISM program, which newspaper reports say is a top-secret authorization for the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) to extract personal data from the computers of major Internet firms.

The opposition, poised to win September elections, said it was concerned that data stored by Australians in the computer servers of U.S. Internet giants like Facebook and Google could be accessed by the NSA, echoing fears voiced in Europe last week over the reach of U.S. digital surveillance in the age of cloud computing.

Australia's influential Greens party called on the government to clarify whether Canberra's own intelligence agencies had access to the NSA-gathered data, which according to Britain's Guardian newspaper included search history, emails, file transfers and live chats.

"We'll examine carefully any implications in what has emerged for the security and privacy of Australians," Australia's Foreign Minister Bob Carr said in a television interview on Sunday, when asked whether Canberra had cooperated with Washington's secret initiative.

Both countries are members of the so-called ‘five eyes' collective of major Western powers collecting and sharing signals intelligence, set up in the post-war 1940s.


In New Zealand, Internet file-sharing tycoon Kim Dotcom, who is fighting extradition to the United States on charges of online piracy, took to Twitter on Sunday to highlight what he alleged was the role of NSA surveillance in his own case, and the cooperation of New Zealand's spy agency.

"The New Zealand GCSB spy agency was used to spy on my family because all surveillance was available to American agencies in real time," he tweeted, referring to the Government Communications and Security Bureau.

"My case against the spy agency in New Zealand will show the degree of cooperation with the NSA."

A New Zealand government spokeswoman declined to comment on Sunday when asked if the GCSB cooperated with the NSA program

More at link.
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