GCSB boss at Privacy Forum

Radio NZ report:

Government Communications and Security Bureau () head Ian Fletcher has emphatically denied his organisation carries out mass surveillance.

Mr Fletcher, speaking at a seminar organised by the Privacy Commission in Wellington on Wednesday, said the state had legitimate concerns with the prevention of terrorism, organised crime and nuclear non-proliferation. …

But he said this was a small list affecting few people.

Very small. In 2012/13 there were 11 interception warrants in force and 26 access authorisations.

Mr Fletcher denied this involved mass surveillance, which he said would be a huge task requiring his bureau’s salary budget to be increased 100-fold.

As well, it would be completely impractical; it would take 130,000 staff to listen to people’s phone calls and read their text messages, without even doing anything about them.


The ODT also reports:

He also offered an assurance that neither the GCSB or any foreign agency was engaged in the mass collection of metadata or information about communications which can be sifted for patterns that might point to areas of interest for authorities.

He also said the GCSB does not receive funding from any foreign government.

Privacy Commissioner John Edwards was pleased by the speech, saying he hoped Mr Fletcher’s comments might dispel what he called conspiracies and misinformation.

Its a good thing that the GCSB Director was invited, and accepted.

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