A high-tech United States surveillance tool which sweeps up all communications without a warrant was sent to New Zealand for testing on the public, according to an espionage expert.
The tool was called ThinThread and it worked by automatically intercepting phone, email and internet information.
ThinThread was highly valued by those who created it because it could handle massive amounts of intercepted information. It then used snippets of data to automatically build a detailed picture of targets, their contacts and their habits for the spy organisation using it.
Those organisations were likely to include the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) after Washington, DC-based author Tim Shorrock revealed ThinThread was sent to New Zealand for testing in 2000-2001.
Mr Shorrock, who has written on intelligence issues for 35 years, said the revolutionary ThinThread surveillance tool was sent to New Zealand by the US National Security Agency. The GCSB is the US agency’s intelligence partner - currently under pressure for potentially illegal wide-spread spying on the public.
The claim ThinThread was sent to New Zealand has brought fresh calls for the bureau to explain what it does.
A spokesman said the bureau was currently reviewing how much it did tell the public - but it would not be making comment on the ThinThread test. He said the intelligence agency "won’t confirm or deny" the claim because it was an "operational" matter.
A spokeswoman for Prime Minister John Key also refused to comment saying it was an operational matter.
The claim emerged in an article by Mr Shorrock which ran in a magazine last month and featured whistleblower William Binney - a former high-ranking NSA official who designed ThinThread.
Mr Shorrock said the "ThinThread prototype" was installed at two NSA listening posts in late 2000 and at Fort Meade where the NSA is based.
"In addition, several allied foreign intelligence agencies were given the program to conduct lawful surveillance in their own corners of the world. Those recipients included Canada, Germany, Britain, Australia and New Zealand."
The "lawful" aspect was due to the software’s ability to mask the identities of those whose information was being intercepted - a technical work around of the legal barrier which prohibits New Zealand and the US from spying on its own citizens.
Mr Shorrock said ThinThread operated in three phases. It began by intercepting call, email and internet traffic on a network and automatically assessing it for interest. The scale of the traffic was such that it narrowed down targets of interest by focusing on patterns of information rather than the content of the information.
Secondly, ThinThread automatically anonymised the collected data so the identities stayed hidden "until there was sufficient evidence to obtain a warrant".
The magic was in the back end of the system which used the raw data "to create graphs showing relationships and patterns that could tell analysts which targets they should look at and which calls should be listened to" using "metadata" - the same type of "information about information" which featured in about 60 of the 88 potentially illegal spying cases identified in the GCSB review.
The Greens and Labour both said it showed the need for an inquiry into the GCSB - an investigation which both have repeatedly demanded. Greens’ co-leader Russel Norman said the Prime Minister and GCSB needed to explain to the public whether it was spied on by ThinThread.
"It reinforces why there is a different set of rules for the GCSB - they are integrated into this global spy network," he said.
The program would have used a technique of encrypting sensitive privacy information in order to comply with legal concerns, and would have automatically identified potential threats. The sources of the data for this program would have included "massive phone and e-mail data," but the extent of this information is not clear. [...]
The Pentagon report concluded that ThinThread’s ability to sort through data in 2001 was far superior to that of another NSA system in place in 2004, and that the program should be launched and enhanced. ThinThread was designed to address two key challenges: One, the NSA had more information than it could digest, and, two, increasingly its targets were in contact with people in the United States whose calls the agency was prohibited from monitoring. Source
Roswell, UFOs and Project Pandora 2014 07 23 Well, now, this is interesting. In fact, it’s very interesting.
Over at the Department of Defense’s website you can find a file that has been declassified via the Freedom of Information Act on the subject of Project Pandora (which, to a significant degree, was focused on Cold War secrets, and how microwaves can affect the mind and body).
It’s a fascinating ...
Men of Europe, Put Down the Eckhart Tolle Book and Pick up Your Sword 2014 07 23 Remember who you really are...
The New Age Tactical Spiritual Military Industrial Complex supports murder and genocide. What is happening in Gaza today will eventually take place in London, Dublin, New York, Lisbon, Barcelona, Oslo, Glasgow, Melbourne, Stockholm, Auckland and Cape Town and wherever you are reading this article. Notice is being served upon all humanity. Not just the people of ...
Study Challenges Hypothesis that Birds Evolved from Dinosaurs 2014 07 23 The re-examination of Scansoriopteryx – a sparrow-sized, pre-Archaeopteryx, bird-like creature that lived in what is today China during the Jurassic period, about 154 million years ago – challenges the widely accepted hypothesis that birds are derived from land-dwelling dinosaurs that gained the ability to fly.
Unearthed in Inner Mongolia in 2002, Scansoriopteryx was previously classified as a theropod dinosaur, from which ...
Israeli Professor: Rape Hamas Militants’ Mothers and Sisters to Deter Terrorist Attacks 2014 07 23 An Israeli academic has claimed that raping wives and mothers of Palestinian Hamas militants is the only thing that could deter further terrorist attacks.
The remarks by renowned Middle East scholar Mordechai Kedar of Bar-Ilan University were made three weeks ago after the grim discovery of the bodies of the three kidnapped Israeli teenagers, but the recording was published online (in ...
’Mysterious plane’ with no callsign spotted circling London for two hours 2014 07 23 Scotland Yard has declined to comment on reports of a mysterious eavesdropping spyplane circling London.
A radar tracking website showed an aircraft orbiting London at 10,000 feet for more than two hours.
The plane had no recognisable callsign but was identified as a twin-engine Cessna F406 with the registration G-BVJT.
The aircraft has been linked in the past to a shadowy fleet of ...