Immigration NZ says Cobwebs Technologies’ internal control is sufficient

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  • A government agency claims that sufficient internal monitoring of the private surveillance companies it hires is necessary.

To scan people’s social media, Immigration New Zealand employs Israeli-American Cobwebs Technologies.

The Government Communications Security Bureau, which serves as a watchdog for the SIS (New Zealand Security Intelligence Service), is not keeping an eye on this.

According to Immigration NZ, its internal processes and procedures are adequate.

“The MBIE [Ministry of Economy, Innovation and Employment] cannot comment on SIS activities, which contradicts your description of using the tool as a ‘hiring of civilian spies,’” said Data, Intelligence, Secrets. General Manager of Services Jackie Ellis said.

When asked if the RNZ mimicked her SIS actions, immigration said it used the spider web to “fulfill legal responsibilities that no other government agency has.”

Further disclosure about the tool risks jeopardizing its effectiveness against serious threats, the company said.

MBIE has “sharply considered the balance between public interest and privacy and security requirements,” he said.

Asked again how taxpayers are being burdened, she said the ministry’s spending was “prudent and efficient.” The government has defended the use of private surveillance, saying it is essential to identify the risks faced by the thousands of travelers who visit New Zealand each year.

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