Edward Snowden is still living in Russia, hidden away from the US authorities looking for the whistleblower, who revealed information about the NSA, PRISM and other secret mass surveillance information.
Even though some have claimed Snowden has no more to offer, with the recent crop of leaks feeling more like Snowden claiming, rather than presenting evidence, it is still good to hear his side of the story, when it comes to politicians denying existence of mass surveillance.
In a new piece on The Intercept, Snowden claims John Key, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, is lying about mass surveillance in the country. Snowden says while working for the NSA he’s seen plenty of New Zealanders’ personal information.
The information is piped through New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), which is then sent to a system called X-Keyscore. This system has been worked on with the NSA and other mass surveillance teams in the UK, Canada and Australia.
X-Keyscore apparently has one solitary checkbox, allowing a worker at one of these people to see all of the collected information in New Zealand. Snowden claims Prime Minister John Key knows this information and has even passed new rules, to implement algorithms.
The algorithms would be able to instantly search for a phrase, word or number. This could quickly stop things like protests, by finding the route source, it would also be good for anti-government idealists, since X-Keyscore stores information on social networks, etc.
John Key has refuted the claims his government spies on the citizens, saying the GCSB works on taking down terrorist threats, but does not spy on everyday individuals. Snowden does not believe it, claiming that when a checkbox is the only thing between a worker and all of the personal information of a country, it is mass surveillance.
New Zealand is part of the “Five Eyes Defeat” according to Snowden, which includes the US, UK, Canada and Australia, all countries capable of mass spying on their citizens. John Key is obviously anxious to put these rumors to rest, since he has an election on September 20.