5 Oct 2023

MBIE Intelligence unit using controversial search tool Cobwebs

From Morning Report, 6:46 am on 5 October 2023

The MBIE Intelligence unit, MI, says it is using a controversial Internet search tool, Cobwebs, exclusively to counter the risk of a mass arrival of asylum seekers by boat.

A business case shows it wanted a tool that could search the private Whatsapp channel, as well as open-source social media platforms.

The Immigration Minister Andrew Little says the risk of a mass arrival is increasing - and he's confident agencies are handling it.

MI's budget has almost tripled, but Little says it is simply consolidating, and Muslim community alarm is not necessary.

OIA reports show several Cobwebs projects went ahead before there was a way to monitor them.