Premier Dalton Tagelagi says that he will be seeking an explanation from the Chinese Embassy in NZ about the Niueans on the Zhenhua Data List
It was reported in the New Zealand media two weeks ago that 23 Niueans are on this list.
The Zhenhua data list was the subject of a paper by American academic Christopher Balding. The paper claims that China is collecting vast amounts of open source data to support and influence intelligence operations through private enterprises it then sells to state institutions.
Premier Tagelagi says “We are concerned and we will be writing to the ambassador (of China) seeking an explanation being mindful that we don’t know what is the purpose of collecting this data.”
The list apparently contains the names of 2.4 million people from around the world, 23 names are said to be Niueans.
It is not clear whether these 23 individuals are residents of Niue or those from the diaspora of Niueans around the world.
Although Premier Tagelagi is confident in the New Zealand government’s defence of Niue’s international security saying that “We will need an explanation but at the same time we have faith in the New Zealand system with their security and intelligence and keeping an eye not only on their (NZ) security but also on ours”.
Last week BCN News contacted the Office of the New Zealand Prime Minister about this situation.
The response came through a press statement dated September 16th from the NZ Security and Intelligence Services Director-General, Rebecca Kitteridge saying that “The New Zealand Security Intelligence Service has the information relating to New Zealand and is reviewing it for any potential risks and security concerns”.
Ms Kitteridge says that her office is assessing the situation but they believe that the data collected is captured from what is available online on social media and through news reporting. She is encouraging the public to check the security setting on all social media accounts and be mindful of the type of information your reveal on social media.
Meanwhile, Premier Tagelagi said that he has also started discussions with the government Solicitor-General into ways that Niue can also expand on the governments’ transnational crime unit and surveillance capacity.