blog For those of you wondering just how much access the Australian Government has access to from the US Government’s controversial PRISM spying program (you know, the one which allows the National Security Agency access into the servers of US-based technology giants such as Google, Apple, Microsoft and so on)? Wonder no more. According to The Age, it’s bucketloads — enough that the Government has had to build a new datacentre to contain it. The newspaper reports (we highly recommend you click here for the full article):
“Australian intelligence agencies are receiving “huge volumes” of “immensely valuable” information from the United States including through the controversial PRISM program, Fairfax Media can reveal. The “data deluge” has required the Australian government to build a state-of-the-art secret data storage facility just outside Canberra.”
The news has prompted Greens Communications Spokesperson, Senator Scott Ludlam, to accuse the Australian Government of being “actively complicit” in the US’ surveillance of Australian citizens through their own email and social network accounts. Ludlam tells us in a media release issued late last night:
“The Australian Government has denied any knowledge of the NSA’s widespread online surveillance of people around the world since it was revealed by Edward Snowden. It is now clear that the ‘hear no evil, see no evil’ routine is a sham,” Greens communications spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam said. “The Australian Government was aware of the spying, and collaborating to circumvent due process through receipt of vast amounts of surveillance material from the United States.”
“Next week I will move an Order for the production of documents in the Senate to finally get some disclosure from our Government. This will be a test for the opposition as well; it is essential they support this motion. “On 7 June I put a series of questions to the Attorney General on Australian involvement in PRISM.”
“While the National Security Inquiry looks at the Government’s proposed data retention scheme, the Government is already up to its neck in spying on the communications of law-abiding Australian citizens.”Next week I am introducing a Bill into the Senate to strengthen regulation of data collection on Australians, returning normal warrant procedures to law enforcement agencies accessing peoples’ private communications data.
“But while the Greens fight hard to defend people’s privacy and civil liberties from increasingly audacious Australian Government agencies, the Government leaves the nation wide open to spying by the United States. The Government must reveal the extent of its complicity in this unprecedented intrusion.”
Personally, I can’t say I’m surprised by the fact that the US is conducting extensive spying activities on Australians and funnelling that information back across the Pacific. It’s precisely what you would expect the two intelligence communities to do. But the audacity of the whole situation is a little crazy. Nobody expects their private data to be common knowledge within intelligence communities around the globe. And there should be much stricter controls on this kind of access than, it appears, there is right now.