New Zealand and its spying partners exploited weaknesses in one of the world’s most popular mobile browsers and planned to hack into smartphones, according to top secret documents leaked this week.
The Five Eyes partners are accused of targeting links to Google and Samsung app stores in a project civil liberties activists have denounced.
The spy agencies deliberately sought security vulnerabilities, but failed to inform companies or the public, leaving the private data of millions of people at risk, civil liberties group OpenMedia said today.
The leaked Top Secret document was posted on the Canadian CBC News site, in conjunction with The Intercept, after whistleblower and fugitive Edward Snowden acquired it.
Apart from discussing how to propagate surveillance software, the newly-revealed document also described efforts to place messages and other communications data on smartphones.
“The group wanted to send selective misinformation to the targets’ handsets to, among other things, confuse adversarial intelligence agencies,” the Slate website said. Read more »
The government has appointed Sir Michael Cullen to head up the first review of New Zealand’s security and intelligence agencies.
A former Deputy Prime Minister and a respected lawyer are to lead the first regular review of New Zealand’s security and intelligence agencies, Acting Attorney-General Amy Adams announced today.
Ms Adams says she intends to appoint Sir Michael Cullen and Dame Patsy Reddy to carry out the review.
“This will be an important and challenging review, and I’m pleased Sir Michael and Dame Patsy have agreed to lend their expertise to the task. They bring complementary skills and experience to the role. Sir Michael is a former member of the Intelligence and Security Committee and has knowledge of national security issues. Dame Patsy has extensive governance experience and legal expertise,” Ms Adams says.
At some point we’re going to cop one in the gonads by an in-country nutbar
Last week Key announced 143 troops would be sent to train the Iraqi army in an attempt to combat the spread of the Islamic State (Isis) group.
But Key said this morning that any increased security threat domestically would come as a result of more New Zealanders being on a government security watch list.
In November, Key said 30-40 people were on a watch list because of their involvement with or support of Isis, and another 30-40 required further investigation. Read more »
Andrew Little had a major cock up saying that Maori should be able to write their own laws, something which it appears the Greens agreed to because they reckon his first major cock up is something different and something that no one cares about.
Norman said it was a “bad call” and is upset he learned of the decision through the media.
Now the Greens say Little has broken the law as well as convention.
The Intelligence and Security Committee Act 1996 states that the leader of the opposition must nominate representatives “following consultation with the leader of each party that is not in Government or in coalition with a Government party”.
A Green Party spokesman said this was Little’s first “big stuff up” and are calling on him to back down. Read more »
Looks like Labour has come to its senses when it comes to mitigating the risks of terrorism, while the Greens continue to cuddle and represent terrorists.
Labour has confirmed it will support new foreign fighter laws after changes including a softening of a planned 48-hour warrant-free period for spies.
However the Greens have said they won’t support the legislation.
“We accept there is an increased threat level and new measures are needed to ensure our security agencies can rapidly respond to terrorist threats,” Labour Leader Andrew Little said after a caucus meeting discussed changes hammered out at a select committee.
“Labour has ensured that all searches on potential terrorist activity will require a warrant except in cases of urgent and extreme risk. Read more »
Rodney Hide has done what no journalist has managed to do, written a summary of the failings of Phil Goff and the SIS briefing her got but said he never did.
And he only needed 450 words to do it.
Security Intelligence Service (SIS) boss Rebecca Kitteridge should have told Phil Goff to get stuffed. Instead she apologised. I wouldn’t have.
In election year 2011 – several Labour leaders ago – Goff was floundering about trying to get a hit on Prime Minister John Key. His attacks invariably backfired.
There was a kerfuffle about supposed suspicious activity by Israeli nationals. Key initially declined to comment, citing national security concerns. He subsequently explained that a security intelligence investigation uncovered nothing untoward.
Goff characteristically attacked, saying Key had made a hash of explaining the hitherto unknown concern and that people were asking: “Are we even now being told the truth?” This was a roundabout way of accusing Key of lying.
Further, Goff asserted he should have been briefed. “It’s not been part of any briefing to me.” Key said that wasn’t true. Oops.
Previous SIS boss Warren Tucker met Goff to refresh his memory. The result was Goff flailing about. “There was no briefing per se … I don’t recall at all seeing the document.”
Subsequently, Tucker provided a heavily redacted agenda note under the Official Information Act on his briefing of Goff and the relevant Security Intelligence report, called Investigation into Israeli Nationals in Christchurch, with Tucker’s handwritten note: “Read by/discussed with Mr Goff 14 March 11.”
Goff then attacked Tucker. “I was not shown the document … Warren Tucker is wrong … I was never ‘briefed’ by the SIS.”
It was election year. Goff was losing. He was lashing out. And he couldn’t say he had forgotten or hadn’t paid attention because that was one of his attack lines on Key.
The media and opposition appear to have fallen for the standard civil liberties play.
Here is how it goes.
Any reduction of civil liberties will be met by strong opposition. That’s a given. So, if you want to achieve something, make sure you actually make it sound worse.
After some time, “you’ve listened to the people of New Zealand”, and you withdraw the most contentious issue.
The civil liberty campaigners will see it as a victory, and… voila! What you really wanted through … is through.
A classic master class in this was the introduction of “ID card” driving licenses. At the time, they pushed the idea it would become a “national identity card”, and “mandatory photo ID”.
Cue the civil liberty campaigners… after “listening”, the government stepped away from pushing it as far as they originally proposed, and… voila! They achieved a photo-id database that was unprecedented at the time. Not even passports were that “digitised” at the time.
Incidentally, all these civil liberties people were Missing In Action when all my private data was being intercepted and passed around without a search warrant – but I digress…
With that strategy of deliberately overexciting the numpties with a fake bit of policy in mind, I’ve been observing the current outcry about the “Terror” Bill. The most contentious of it appears to be the 48 hours of surveillance without a search warrant. Read more »
Phil Goff says he didn’t leak it, then he did, then he didn’t really…so what is the real story?
On Radio NZ on 26 November – Phil Goff sticks to calls for PM to resign.
Goff gets very aggressive and slippery when pushed.
As you can hear for yourself he references something he reportedly said the day previously “on radio”, but this interview was used extensively by 3 News as the basis of the story.
Goff confesses he briefed Andrew Little and Chris Hipkins, as well as telling journalists about the content of the report. Read more »
Apparently, according to the Dominion Post editorial writer I have a new title. The “most toxic blogger in the land“.
The report says Jason Ede, a special adviser in John Key’s office, told Slater – the most toxic blogger in the land – about the SIS report on Goff and even prepared a draft blog for him about it.
Why do work when there are others who will do it for you.
I did a review of Question time and the Urgent debate and searched for my name.
Q1: Mentioned 13 times by Russel Norman.
Q3: Mentioned 8 times by Andrew Little. The site mentioned once.
Q5: Mentioned by Phil Goff 10 times.
Well, the report has been released, and it was leaked to media the day before.
So who did it and have they broken the law.
The question of breaking the law is an easy one…yes, whoever leaked the report broke the law. I know this because the day before the report was released I received a letter from the Inspector-general outlining the embargo and law that pertained to it and told me in no uncertain terms what would happen should I leak details of the report.
So that makes the law very clear.
Now we come to who could have leaked the information that the media ran with the day before the report was released.
This is where I think the leaker made a strategic and tactical error.
The number of people privy tot he report details was incredibly small. Worse than that the numbers of copies that were in existence was even smaller.
When I was offered a chance to review the draft report I was only able to read it in a secure location, and under supervision from an authorised person. Once I had read the report then all copies and all pieces of paper were removed from my possession.
I can’t imagine it would have been any different for almost everyone else in the inquiry, except the politicians who seem to have rules for themselves that places them above everyone else. Read more »