NZ part of NSA surveillance - Snowden
New Zealand appears to be part of and involved in a vast programme to monitor everything people do on the internet, according to documents leaked by former US security contractor Edward Snowden.
The Guardian newspaper in Britain today revealed documents from US National Security Agency (NSA) training material for the X-Keyscore programme, which the newspaper described as the NSA's widest-reaching system that covers "nearly everything a typical user does on the Internet".
The Guardian has published the 32-page X-Keyscore training document.
Each page carries the line "Top Secret//Comint//Rel to USA, AUS, CAN, GBR, NZL."
The is a reference to the "five eyes" countries, the United States, Australia, Canada, Britain and New Zealand.
Page six is headed "Where is X-Keyscore?" and on a world map shows red dots indicating locations, including one in New Zealand and four in Australia.
Under the map is the caption: "Approximately 150 sites, over 700 servers."
Reuters reports that the new revelations from Snowden came as lawmakers put the secret surveillance programs under greater scrutiny.
Intelligence analysts can conduct surveillance through X-Keyscore by filling in an on-screen form giving only a "broad justification" for the search and no review by a court or NSA staff, The Guardian said.
Snowden's revelations to media that US intelligence agencies collected data on phone calls and other communications of Americans and foreign citizens as a tool to fight terrorism have sparked uproar in the United States and abroad.
Intelligence officials say the programs helped thwart terrorist attacks.
"The implication that NSA's collection is arbitrary and unconstrained is false," the agency said in a statement in response to The Guardian's new report.
The agency called X-Keyscore part of "NSA's lawful foreign signals intelligence collection system".