Kiwis have rejected government surveillance of their own communications - and that of people in other countries, according to new survey.

An Amnesty International survey of about 1000 people shows 63 per cent of Kiwis surveyed are opposed to the government monitoring and storing their own internet and mobile phone use.

Just 22 per cent supported mass surveillance practices - either in New Zealand or against other countries.

According to the survey results, 53 per cent of Kiwis rejected the use of powerful electronic surveillance technologies being used against other countries - a practice alleged to be conducted by New Zealand's Government Communications Surveillance Bureau.

Advertisement

The highest approval rating for surveillance was against foreign people inside New Zealand. More people - 43 per cent - were comfortable with those people's communications being intercepted against the 40 per cent who opposed the premise.

The poll was carried out in early February, coming before the New Zealand Herald, investigative journalist Nicky Hager and the US news site The Intercept began reporting on the GCSB's actions.

In stories based on top secret files from the US National Security Agency, it has been revealed the GCSB obtains "full take" communications data from Pacific Islands. The information is then passed to the US, which stories it in a form where it can be accessed by intelligence partners through the XKeyscore computer system.

Prime Minister John Key has rejected the claims, saying there is no mass surveillance of New Zealanders here or abroad.

The survey also probed Kiwis comfort levels around whether the US should intercept, store and analyse information belonging to New Zealanders. Of those asked, 75 per cent rejected the proposition while 13 per cent supported it.

The survey sought to discover whether people would change their online or telephone habits if their data was stored by New Zealand intelligence agencies.

Despite opposition to the practice, it found only a small number of people - 7 per cent - would be less likely to criticise the government on email, private messaging or social media applications. In contrast, 15 per cent of people said they would be more likely to criticise the government in private communications.

When it came to medical, sexual and reproductive health details or relationship advice, the number who would stop looking for information online rose to 17 per cent.

Advertisement

The survey also showed the internet generation - those aged 24 years and younger who have grown up with the internet - are most concerned about the interception and storage of personal information.

Of those surveyed, 71 per cent aged 24 years and under were opposed to surveillance by their own government against 63 per cent of those aged 55 or older.

The same age divide was shown when asked about surveillance on other countries.

Fifteen per cent of those aged 24 and under supported foreign surveillance - far lower than the 26 per cent aged over 55 who back spying on other countries.