Updated: Apr 6, 2022
Five Eyes, Fusion Centers, and how our data is collected, shared, and sold to foreign intelligence services, to U.S. government departments and even the U.S. Federal Reserve
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Post 9/11 anti-terrorism legislation deemed a number of corporate industry titans to be a part of the “critical infrastructure” of New Zealand – banks, telcos, transport companies etc. This brought them under the umbrella of the state to enable information sharing between those commercial entities and intelligence agencies.
Information collected by private intelligence and security companies like Thompson and Clark is shared with the global and domestic commercial and governmental entities that employ their security, investigatory and “risk management” services, as well as with police intelligence units.
The information sharing hubs are known as Fusion Centres. They act as a bridge between military, police and corporate customers. They “fuse” commercial, governmental, police and public data sources, analyse the material and feed relevant parts back to interested parties. All of this data is available to the Five Eyes through New Zealand’s military partnership and information sharing agreements with the U.S., such as that earlier referenced in the ICWatch findings.
He makes specific reference to having utilised “the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Law Enforcement Online (LEO) web portal.” The existence of web portals where intelligence agencies across the global network can both request and receive information is further illustrated in the Snowden documents. The NSA has what it calls an “Information Needs Portal” where its customers (which range from law enforcement agencies, to foreign intelligence services, to U.S. government departments and even the U.S. Federal Reserve, which is not a U.S. government body) can submit “Information Needs Requests”.
‘’’The activities of the New Zealand agencies are carbon copies of what is going on in many other countries around the world - all countries in fact, which are allied with the U.S.: from the integration of their intelligence networks and systems, the appropriation of their human and technical resources by proxy, the mass surveillance of their own and other’s populations, to allowing their assets to be dispatched in the service of a foreign nation.’’’
Their activities have legislative, commercial and constitutional ramifications, as well as impacting negatively upon human rights and democracy as a whole.
Whether the unfolding spy scandal in New Zealand may yet see the resignation of a department head or two, the slap on the wrist of a few police officers, or the shuttering of Thompson & Clark Investigations Limited remains to be seen. From the perspective of the “global network”, all of those people are dispensable and countless others will soon fill their places. It is likely the ink on new contracts is already dried.
But what we need, collectively as a public, is much more than a few firings, or a blacklisted contractor. We need a long, hard, serious think about how it is that entities which we fund and vest powers in, are able to destroy Kiwi lives with such abandon, and the ways in which government agencies, police agencies and corporate entities are pooling their data, their resources and their authority in order to do it.
The only way out of this mess is to reclaim our data sovereignty and assert our national sovereignty.
Of the NZSIS and GCSB we must ask: ‘’’How they are able to serve the interests of a foreign power above and beyond our own national interest?’’’ How are they allowing themselves to be dispatched on missions that they themselves may not even understand the particulars of, where the beneficiary is another nation state and the country being victimised is an ally?
‘’’How it is that our national interest ended up being subjugated by the “global network”? Is this is a picture of a future that we want for our country and our communities?’’’