The kiwis have been lying to us? Say it ain’t so!

In a double-barreled blast of breaking news from the world of online snooping, word comes from New Zealand that its government’s sleuth agency was setting up a massive surveillance dragnet even while officials were denying that such a thing was preposterous.

Meanwhile, spy teams in the United States and Britain have apparently been trying to secretly map the entire Internet, right down to every single online user on the face of the planet, and in the process have hacked into networks belonging to Deutsche Telekom.

Ooops.

First to Auckland, for this news flash from The Intercept, the online pub launched earlier this year by First Look Media, a brainchild of eBay founder Pierre Omidyar dedicated to spreading the word about secret documents obtained and gradually released to the public by former NSA leaker Edward Snowden:

The New Zealand spy agency, the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), worked in 2012 and 2013 to implement a mass metadata surveillance system even as top government officials publicly insisted no such program was being planned and would not be legally permitted.

Documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden show that the government worked in secret to exploit a new internet surveillance law enacted in the wake of revelations of illegal domestic spying to initiate a new metadata collection program that appeared designed to collect information about the communications of New Zealanders. Those actions are in direct conflict with the assurances given to the public by Prime Minister John Key, who said the law was merely designed to fix “an ambiguous legal framework” by expressly allowing the agency to do what it had done for years, that it “isn’t and will never be wholesale spying on New Zealanders,” and the law “isn’t a revolution in the way New Zealand conducts its intelligence operations.”

In a post for The Intercept published today, Snowden blasted Key for not being straightforward with the public about what his people were really up to out there on the Internet:

“The Prime Minister’s claim to the public, that ‘there is no and there never has been any mass surveillance’, is false,” the former NSA analyst wrote. “The GCSB, whose operations he is responsible for, is directly involved in the untargeted, bulk interception and algorithmic analysis of private communications sent via internet, satellite, radio, and phone networks.”

And as if that weren’t enough troubling news from Snowden for one day, he has also released documents that show US and British spymasters have been involved in what Spiegel magazine calls “a breathtaking mission” to “map the entire Internet, including end-user devices. In pursuing that goal, they have broken into networks belonging to Deutsche Telekom.”

It’s called “Treasure Map.” And as Spiegel reports, it’s a real doozy in the world of tracking everyone’s every single move online, all in near-real time:

A program called Treasure Map even has its own logo, a skull superimposed onto a compass, the eye holes glowing in demonic red, reminiscent of a movie poster for the popular “Pirates of the Caribbean” series, starring Johnny Depp.

Treasure Map is anything but harmless entertainment. Rather, it is the mandate for a massive raid on the digital world. It aims to map the Internet, and not just the large traffic channels, such as telecommunications cables. It also seeks to identify the devices across which our data flows, so-called routers.

Furthermore, every single end device that is connected to the Internet somewhere in the world — every smartphone, tablet and computer — is to be made visible. Such a map doesn’t just reveal one treasure. There are millions of them.

The breathtaking mission is described in a Treasure Map presentation from the documents of the former intelligence service employee Edward Snowden which SPIEGEL has seen. It instructs analysts to “map the entire Internet — Any device, anywhere, all the time.”

Credit: Associated Press

 

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