Sunday, October 12, 2014

The GCSB has been using our embassies as spybases

Last night, The Intercept leaked the NSA's "core secrets" - or rather, the list of classification keywords covering them. While the descriptions are intentionally vague, they're still illuminating - especially the ones marked as relevant to New Zealand. Here's what the GCSB is up to with the NSA:


In other words, we're assisting the NSA to hack other country's computer systems - effectively waging covert warfare on their behalf.


This is probably stuff like TEMPEST, or equivalents, designed to extract electronic data by trace emissions from the hardware it runs on. It is unclear whether the GCSB helps position and run these sensors, or merely that they are cleared to know about them.


This one is uncontroversial: the decent, honest work of cracking codes.


And the explosive one: according to the NSA, they and the GCSB use our embassies as spybases to snoop on host countries - a violation of diplomatic privileges and the sort of thing which ruins diplomatic relationships. Exactly where isn't stated, and it won't be even in the associated classification guideline (which from the main article, The Intercept probably have too). But its only a matter of time before some enterprising journalist starts looking at what we've got on the roof of our embassies in China, Malaysia and Fiji and publishing photos of any funny-looking antennae or odd shacks. And then there'll be a shitstorm. Thanks, GCSB!