Sunday 31st of August 2014

spooks .....

from civil liberties australia …..

Aussies hate government surveillance 

spooks .....

Response to the question: “Do you approve or disapprove of the Australian Government being able to access your phone and Internet records without a warrant.”

A new poll conducted by Essential Media has shown that 80% of Australians disapprove of the government being able to access citizens’ phone and Internet records without a warrant.

The research is being hailed as “vindication” for campaigns against government intrusion into private residents’ telecommunications, Renai LeMay wrote in Delimiter last month.

Under Australia’s Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act, certain Australian Government departments and agencies - especially those in the law enforcement field -

are able to access Australians’ telecommunications data. In the 2012 financial year, such agencies made close to 300,000 requests for telecommunications data, without a warrant.

meanwhile …..

Australia’s information commissioner wants intelligence agencies subject to freedom of information laws and has expressed concern about “mixed messages” on open government and transparency.

Professor John McMillan, in an interview with Paul Farrell of Guardian Australia, said intelligence agencies should be subject to freedom of information (FoI) legislation.

“I think the FoI Act can suitably apply to any agencies, parliamentary departments and the intelligence agencies. The exemptions are adequate to protect whatever has to be protected.”

Currently, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, Australian Secret Intelligence Service and the Australian Signals Directorate are all totally exempt from FoI laws. In the

US the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency are both subject to FoI laws. 

... but agencies perfect, says General George

Attorney General George Brandis told the Senate last month that:

“...the advice I would give the Australian people is that our national security agencies – staffed, as I said, by personnel of integrity and skill – are supervised by this parliament through an exhaustive network of parliamentary accountability and independent accountability, especially through the Inspector- General of Intelligence and Security.”

We shall see whether General George remains as confident when the spy and/or security faeces hits the fan during his ‘watch’ with commercial spying on Indonesia:  

Civil Liberties Australia believes the accountability to parliament of the spy, security, police and police-like agencies is near zero: MPs are told what they want to hear, and there is

not one MP critic in the Australian Parliament who closely quizzes why the spook agencies do what they do and why they make the selections they do about what they will and will

not investigate.

The spook agencies are “supervised by the parliament” about as well as the parliament supervises MPs‘ expenses, but the difference is that the sins of the spooks never see the light of day...whereas those of the MPs do, very occasionally.

elsewhere …..

Govt to crack down on online ‘‘piracy’

The federal government will crack down on online piracy, forcing internet service providers to block websites that allow users to illegally stream or download movies, music and television shows.

They also plan a "graduated response scheme" leading to internet accounts being temporarily suspended if people ignore notifications to stop downloading illegal content.

If implemented, the reforms could see popular file sharing sites such as The Pirate Bay blocked by some internet service providers. AG George Brandis flagged the changes in a major speech to the Australian Digital Alliance forum last month.

CLA notes the the Brandis ‘crackdown’ is in line with what is reportedly being demanded by US corporate interests during negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.

spying on the united nations delegates...


The Snowden files have brought the shocking espionage activities of the UK's Government Communications Headquarters into the open. Former employees describe an agency with shifting goals, a strong honor code -- and an inferiority complex.

On a Monday in January of 2003, Katharine Gun received an email that worried her. Gun, a 28-year-old linguist and analyst with the British intelligence service, was a calm, thoughtful woman. The message, which was classified "top secret" and came from a department head of an American intelligence service, informed a British counterparts that, "as you all probably know by now," a joint eavesdropping operation was being planned against United Nations delegations. Gun couldn't believe her eyes

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