Pacific Media Watch

26 March 2015

FIJI: Government to tighten up digital security in wake of NZ spy allegations

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New Zealand's Pacific surveillance base at Waihopai in the South Island. Image: Daily Blog

Nasik Swami
SUVA (The Fiji Times/Pacific Media Watch): The Fiji government is taking action against the possibility of phone tapping by foreign spies in the future.

This comes in the wake of allegations against the New Zealand government of listening in on Fiji's military, police and government calls made on a mobile network.

Defence Minister Timoci Natuva confirmed the government would invest in extensive security measures.

He said Fiji was exposed to the threat of phone tapping.

"We are only taking this issue at face value. What we have to do is to improve our communication and come up with a secure line, secure internet. At the moment, anybody can access our communication with the new technology at the moment," he said.

He said Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama had been briefed on the issue and the government would make necessary changes to avoid the issue of communication lines being tapped.

"I think it's not only New Zealand that is spying - all the countries in the world are doing that.

Mobile phones
"We have to come up with a system (advanced) used all around the world like talking on the mobile phones and people cannot listen - the new technologies."

He said to implement new security measures, the government would buy new equipment.

"If we have to buy it (security systems), we will buy it. We are working on that, it will take time.

"Some of the conversations we have, people cannot listen to anything because this government has an open book policy.

"Nothing is secret at all. Maybe some secret strategic decisions, but we identify and not converse on the telephone and we have a secure place to go and discuss those issues in that area."

He also outlined the government would not be writing to New Zealand on allegations about Wellington spying on Fiji at this time.

On March 5, US National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden's documents released on WikiLeaks, dominated by an assessment of mobile phone operators in the Pacific, indicated John Key's government was spying in the Pacific, in particular Fiji.

New Zealand has denied the allegations.

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