E.J. DE LARA WRITES – Several reports have criticized New Zealand for its intrusion of privacy. Many have raised concerns over Parliament passing a bill for the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) – the intelligence agency of the New Zealand government – to spy on people with a search warrant. In addition, the GCSB reported this week that other countries can intercept New Zealanders’ stored data overseas. This news has caused uproar and concerns amongst the nation’s citizens.

Through the Five Eyes intelligence alliance composed of the United States, Great Britain, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, these countries have the ability to intercept any stored information of any visitors of each other’s countries.

Imagine going on vacation in another country and having the government being able to read any text or email you send. This may sound alarming, but Ian Fletcher, the head of the GCSB, insists that it only gives countries the ability to take action if necessary. Many critics have expressed concerns over the United States spying over New Zealanders, but Fletcher argues that New Zealand should not fear being targeted. In the same way the Parliament attempts a push for a new spying bill, this agreement among other countries is another measure intended to grant New Zealander’s safety.

Despite calling these spying efforts measures of safety, are they really that? Do governments simply enjoy having authoritative right to supervise the playground or do these laws really make recess safer?