For most New Zealanders, fear about being spied on is
unnecessary, Nicky Hager says.
The Wellington-based author and investigative journalist
spoke to about 100 people at a public lecture in Dunedin
yesterday, as part of a three-day conference on surveillance,
copyright and privacy.
Hager said although New Zealand intelligence services were
''utterly integrated'' with the United States' National
Security Agency (NSA), about 99.9% of New Zealanders were of
little or no interest to global spy agencies.
''Not everybody is being spied on. Most surveillance is about
capacity - it doesn't mean that more than a tiny proportion
of the world's population is targeted, and in New Zealand and
in Dunedin nearly everyone isn't being targeted,'' he said.
Hager explained how international surveillance, spying and
hacking had developed in accordance with advances in
technology over the past decade.
The speed and timing of changes meant it was too soon to know
what impact they would have on the internet and how it was
used globally, he said.
''It's staggering how quickly we've all changed our lives
around the internet and see it as a great global common space
where everyone is equal and free, but don't really think
about the downsides and complications.''
Networks including Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Skype, You Tube,
Apple and Facebook were all part of global spying and hacking
systems, he said.
It was possible to create ''secure'' networks, but for New
Zealand that was not a reality because the Government
Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) was ''embedded'' in the
US intelligence system, he said.
Therefore, New Zealand was in a political bind.
''It's basically all or nothing with US intelligence
The conference continues in Dunedin today and tomorrow.