Julian Assange has spoken out about alleged mass surveillance in New Zealand at an Internet Party event hosted by founder and internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom.
Entrepreneur and Internet Party founder Kim Dotcom has spoken out about the need to fight mass surveillance in New Zealand.
Speaking at the party’s "moment of truth" event in Auckland on Monday, Mr Dotcom praised Julian Assange, who addressed the event via video link.
"You Julian and you Edward are heroes," Mr Dotcom said. "I thank you for letting humanity see what is going on in this world."
Speaking via video link, Mr Assange alleged that Mr Dotcom and other members of the audience had been unlawfully targeted by the country's Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB).
The comments came after Edward Snowden today alleged in a post on The Intercept website that New Zealanders were being watched, despite Prime Minister John Key’s claims no such surveillance took place.
"At the NSA I routinely came across the communications of New Zealanders in my work with a mass surveillance tool we share with GCSB, called XKEYSCORE," Mr Snowden wrote.
"It allows total, granular access to the database of communications collected in the course of mass surveillance. It is not limited to or even used largely for the purposes of cyber security, as has been claimed, but is instead used primarily for reading individuals' private email, text messages, and internet traffic."
At tonight's event, Mr Dotcom said despite New Zealand’s size, the problem of surveillance was significant.
"We are going to work really, really hard to stop this country participating in mass surveillance," he said. "We’ll close one of the five eyes; that’s our goal."
Reaction on social media was mixed.
New Zealand's general election will take place this week.