back to article New Zealand spooks say satellite snooping is obsolete – better intel is found elsewhere

New Zealand's Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) – the nation's signals intelligence and infosec agency – will retire its Waihopai satellite communications interception station because it's no longer needed. "The nature of telecommunications has changed, and other needs and capabilities have overtaken the sort of …

  1. Pangasinan Philippines

    Footprint

    Modern satellites have such tightly defined footprints, that you really need to be near your target.

    The further away you are requires such huge antenna with no guarantee of reception.

    NZ is a tad out of the way.

    1. Ken G Bronze badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Footprint

      Better encryption too.

  2. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    Better sources

    Facebook, Twitter & Google are probably better sources of data.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Better sources

      I'm sure the replacement solution accesses all of those.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Spy Valley

    Spy Valley Wines may be regretting their choice of name. Or perhaps they just add the prefix -. --- to the existing morse code on the bottle.

    1. Yes Me Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Spy Valley

      As far as I can tell, NZ has decided to remove the balls that gave it standing in 5 Eyes.

  4. Graham Cobb Silver badge

    Aha! Just what I was waiting for

    Now I can start up my retro-anarchy analog satellite repeater cell without the risk those pesky Kiwis will steal my dastardly plans.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Aha! Just what I was waiting for

      Oops... maybe my last post should have been AC...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Aha! Just what I was waiting for

      Just make sure you don't use morse code. The NSA already has a front operation monitoring it 24/7 for subversive activities.

      1. ricardian

        Re: Aha! Just what I was waiting for

        That link gives this interesting message:

        If you try to run this site in Internet Explorer 8, you may need to try to turn on the compatibility view mode.

        ---------

        Some users have reported problems with Internet Explorer when viewing this site. We have not been able to reproduce the problem in tests with Internet Explorer 7. Firefox and Chrome run with the site with no apparent problems.

        1. batfink Silver badge

          Re: Aha! Just what I was waiting for

          Try some of the other tabs...

    3. phuzz Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Aha! Just what I was waiting for

      I remember reading a story a few years back about truckers in South America using mostly-defunct analogue satellites with home-made transceivers, as free, long-range, CB radio.

      (ETA: here it is)

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "More modern methods collect more targeted communications"

    Translation : mobile phones and all that Internet access have given world governments the ability to tap into seas of data, whereas satellites are still looking with a magnifying glass.

    1. Clausewitz 4.0 Bronze badge
      Devil

      Re: "More modern methods collect more targeted communications"

      With so many underwater cables and internet backbones tapped, the problem today is sort out junk from good intel. And storage for all that was collected.

      Imagine - that funny cat picture collected 2 weeks ago and discarded? Was a plot to hit Pentagon headquarters, with instructions hidden in crypto + steganography.

      Of course, street teams tapping specific fiber for high-value targets will still be applied for a looooong time. Word.

      1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

        (I used to be certain of the figure)

        Fun Fact :

        The entire internet up until 1995 could be kept on a {1.5?}gb disk.

        As in, every single bit of internet traffic ever; it's entire history.

        1. EvilDrSmith Silver badge

          Re: (I used to be certain of the figure)

          Wasn't that what Moss gave Gen?

  6. Tempest
    FAIL

    Now, If New Zealand Only Had Ocean Cables Passing Across It's Shores . . .

    like Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore do, the UK spies might be more interested.

    For more detailed information on this hardship post check out: “Secret Power: New Zealand’s Role In The International Spy Network” by Nicky Hage; https://theintercept.com/2015/03/07/new-zealand-ironsand-waihopai-nsa-gcsb/; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicky_Hager.

    The USA even has a base at Christchurch Airport.

    1. Beeblebrox

      Re: Now, If New Zealand Only Had Ocean Cables Passing Across It's Shores . . .

      Interesting viewpont; not sure how ocean cables might affect this satellite monitoring station: presumably other activities vis a vis cables would continue unabated at this site.

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