Illegal spying info now offshore, says Dotcom

KIRSTY JOHNSTON
Last updated 05:00 19/04/2013

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Information gathered illegally on 88 New Zealanders by the country's intelligence agency was almost certainly taken offshore, internet piracy-accused Kim Dotcom says.

The "Mega" mogul says anyone who thinks they were spied on by the Government Communications Security Bureau should be extremely worried and should immediately try to find out what has happened to their data.

Dotcom spoke against the proposed changes to the law governing the GCSB, following a court hearing into the FBI-ordered raids on his home last year.

He is fighting to have a set of hard drives taken in the raid returned to him in a "remedies" hearing in the High Court at Auckland this week. Justice Helen Winkelmann reserved her decision yesterday.

"Basically they're rewarding a rogue agency that went out and spied on New Zealanders with a law that allows them to continue with that conduct," he said.

The proposed changes would allow the GCSB to provide information assurance and cyber security advice and help to both public and private sector organisations, and allow it to assist other entities such as the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service, New Zealand Defence Force and police.

The change follows a report revealing widespread problems in the bureau and 88 cases where it may have spied on New Zealanders illegally.

The potential illegality was uncovered in the wake of revelations the GCSB had spied on Dotcom illegally, apparently under the mistaken belief he was not a New Zealand citizen or resident.

A 2003 law change explicitly barred the GCSB from spying on New Zealanders.

Dotcom said his understanding was that everything collated by the GCSB went to a US-based spy cloud.

"Then it's available to all members in the Five Eyes operation," he said.

Five Eyes is an intelligence alliance between Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United Kingdom and the US.

The GCSB refused to comment.

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- The Dominion Post

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