MPs to use Waihopia protest to highlight e-mail snooping bil

Green MPs Keith Locke and Rod Donald will be using this year’s protest against the Waihopai spy base to advance the Green campaign against a new ’email snooping’ bill, currently before select committee.

Keith Locke and Rod Donald will participate in the protest activity outside the satellite communications facility near Blenheim this weekend.

“The Crimes Amendment Bill will generalise the powers of the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), which runs Waihopai, to cover all other channels of electronic communication,” said Mr Locke, the party’s spokesperson on police and security issues.

“New Zealanders need to pay more attention to what is being done at Waihopai. What Paul Swain’s bill will do is enable the police, the Security Intelligence Service (SIS) and the GCSB to intercept any email, fax or pager message.

“It will make it very difficult to New Zealanders to protect the privacy of their communications,” said Mr Locke.

The Waihopai station intercepts all electronic messages passing through two satellites stationed over the Pacific. The new bill will enable the authorities to also intercept messages passing through cables, and via internet service providers, anywhere in New Zealand.

“If this new interception uses the Waihopai ‘key word’ system to trawl through messages, the thoughts of many innocent New Zealanders could be intercepted and transcribed, just because they happen to use the ‘wrong’ key words.

“At present the GCSB doesn’t operate under a legislative mandate, although the government plans to change that this year. The Greens favour any legislation which enables us to better see what this security agency is up to, because we have yet to be convinced that it is anything other than a threat to the privacy of New Zealanders,” said Mr Locke.

Keith Locke MP: 09 630 0789, 025 528 353

Rod Donald MP: 025 507 183

Jonathan Hill (press secretary): 04 470 6719, 021 440 090