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PM won't say if PRISM spies on NZers

Monday 10 Jun 2013 6:07 p.m.

For six years the US National Security Agency (NSA) collected data using the PRISM programme, mostly from people outside of the United States

Prime Minister John Key won't rule out whether New Zealanders are being spied on by the agency or whether any of that information was passed on to our spies.

Videos, emails, photos, audio, stored data, social networking details – PRISM collects it all.

But Mr Key won't let on whether New Zealanders' information is being collected.

"I'm not going [into that] or what techniques are used for that," he says.

The Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) isn't allowed to spy on New Zealanders, but the NSA can.

A slide shown to NSA analysts to explain the PRISM programme details how the bulk of communications from New Zealand flow through the United States.

Green Party co-leader Russel Norman thinks New Zealanders' information is definitely collected.

"The NSA were running a massive net, collecting basically all data passing through the US. There's no question they would've picked up most of ours," he says.

Britain's equivalent of the GCSB has been accused of accessing data collected by PRISM. The US and UK share data with New Zealand through the Echelon or Five Eyes Network of spies.

The GCSB won't say whether it was given data collected about New Zealanders by the NSA.

"There can and will have been isolated examples," Mr Key says. "[But there's] no wholesale reciprocal work going on."

The Government has introduced two new laws giving greater power to the GCSB. It will be allowed to spy on New Zealanders in some cases and telecommunications companies will be forced to work more closely with the agency.

But how it works with international partners remains top secret. Mr Key will not say.

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