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Australia Taps More Phones Than Entire U.S. 277

Posted by timothy
from the speak-up-mate dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Last year Australian authorities tapped more phones all United States authorities combined. Australian phones were tapped at 20 times the rate of phones in the US according to this article in the Sydney Morning herald. The fact was revealed during a debate in the Australian parliament. The government is attempting to pass new legislation to to make it even easier for the country's domestic spy agency ASIO to tap phones." Update: 09/16 14:07 GMT by T : Julian Assange writes "The Australian is also running the story and has better stats." Thanks for the link.
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Australia Taps More Phones Than Entire U.S.

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  • Suspicious ... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lushman (251748) on Monday September 16, 2002 @03:32AM (#4264269)
    I think that maybe CIA/FBI statistics are a little less forthcoming than those from ASIO. With all these measures to prevent terrorism, I'd assume that the CIA and FBI combined would be at least 20 times what they were just over a year ago anyway.

    In short: I don't believe it.

    The USA can keep dreaming that they have privacy, but guys, face it - you don't live in the land of the free any more.
  • Re:Suspicious ... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 1nhuman (597328) on Monday September 16, 2002 @03:42AM (#4264293)
    I never got the whole big deal about "The Land of The Free". What's so "free" in the states that isn't in any other western country (Canada, Germany, U.K., Sweden, The Netherlands, France, Denmark, Iceland, Belgium, etc.etc.).

    I travel a *lot* and personally I feel more free and more save in Europe then I do in the states, especially in my home country The Netherlands. And that has nothing to do with the 11th. I've felt like this for years.

    Oh btw my favorite country in the world is still New Zealand.

  • Echelon... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kinko (82040) on Monday September 16, 2002 @03:49AM (#4264304)
    Echelon makes this kind of irrelevant. The 5 countries that are part of Echelon (US, UK, Canada, Australia, and NZ) can basically listen in on ANY phone call/fax/email/IP etc in any of the other countries. There are some computers here in New Zealand that are directly controlled by the US (NSA I think). This means that the NZ govt (and Aust govt etc) can listen to US phone calls. Now part of the reason it is set up like this is that the US authorities can use the NZ bit of the network to listen to US calls. This way it is technically not "domestic spying" as it is occurring over here.

    I guess the wiretaps they're talking about here are for court-issued wiretaps for the police, rather than the secret services.
  • by Jotham (89116) on Monday September 16, 2002 @04:01AM (#4264339)
    • Figures also show that in 2000-2001 Australian agencies made 1033 arrests and obtained 623 convictions, while US authorities made 3683 arrests with 732 convictions.

    Out of 3683 arrests they only made 732 convictions? that's less than 20% compared with Australia's 60% conviction rate.

    Either the US is arresting a hell of a lot of innocent people or they need to spend a bit more time collecting evidence before they make their arrests.

  • Missquote? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BoBaBrain (215786) on Monday September 16, 2002 @04:19AM (#4264386)
    Shouldn't it read "Last year Australian authorities admitted to tapping more phones all United States authorities combined"?
  • Re:Suspicious ... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pubjames (468013) on Monday September 16, 2002 @04:40AM (#4264428)
    I never got the whole big deal about "The Land of The Free". What's so "free" in the states that isn't in any other western country (Canada, Germany, U.K., Sweden, The Netherlands, France, Denmark, Iceland, Belgium, etc.etc.).

    I travel a *lot* and personally I feel more free and more save in Europe then I do in the states, especially in my home country The Netherlands. And that has nothing to do with the 11th. I've felt like this for years.


    I agree with you, and I have posted opinions like this to Slashdot before. However, it's best just not to bother posting this type of stuff. You will just get insulted and called communist/ liberal/ socialist/ Eurotrash/ America-hater and whatever. Just don't post this kind of opinion. Lots of Americans just aren't tolerant of it. (Ironic isn't it? For people that go on about freedom of speech so much!)
  • Re:so that means (Score:3, Insightful)

    by danamania (540950) on Monday September 16, 2002 @04:50AM (#4264440)
    It's a far larger amount certainly, but of a fairly small number.

    To recap, Australia did 2150 taps in 19million people, the US did 1490 taps on 284 million.

    For Australia, that's about one in 10,000 people, compared to about one in 200,000 people for the US

    a grrl & her server [danamania.com]
  • Re:Why? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by glesga_kiss (596639) on Monday September 16, 2002 @07:25AM (#4264842)
    Why a government should take away its citizens privacy and freedom for no apparent reason?

    They aren't, relativly speaking. All they are doing is admitting how many taps they used. If only other governments would follow suit...

  • About America... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by El Camino SS (264212) on Monday September 16, 2002 @08:44AM (#4265259)
    I know a lot of you out there think that your home countries are a lot safer, more interesting, etc.... and I agree. But you forget one thing about it. America is a real soup of people, and NOTHING COMES EASY IN AMERICA.

    That is the nature of the soup that is the good 'ol USA. Most of the people that are from Finland and Norway say that there are no tensions and no problems at all with others.. well, move to Minnesota or the Upper Penninsula in the USA and you will notice that there is less violence there too... on the count that there really are less ethnic-religious-governmental-general-people tensions. Its the land of happy, slightly overweight hockey playing white guys. Lots of cheese.

    I mean honestly, what the hell is there to argue about in Finland? Do you have a thousand cabbies that come from every country in the world and can't understand you, nor you understand them when they speak? Do you have hundreds of religious groups pining for their big piece of the political pie? Do you have anything that might get you annoyed like that? Unregistered illegal Mexican drivers that ran over kids in a schoolyard and then get no punishment because they are not US citizens, and caused all of this becasue they can't be bothered to read and understand English road signs?

    WHY DOES AMERICA HAVE ALL OF THESE PROBLEMS? Because when poor, uneducated, huddled masses think of travelling to a land of prosperity they don't look around their straw hut and say, "Let's go to Iceland!"

    Don't get me wrong. That's a good thing about being an American. But also you don't get this: when a Mexican punk drug dealer shoots a Texas cop on a sting in front of police, you also don't get an international incident where Vincente Fox shows his ass as a "show of power" to the American people over a P.O.S. drug dealer. The last time I checked, the Netherlands hasn't sent troops anywhere to save people. SO the Netherlands hasn't drawn any heat for it either. Believe it or not, there are several places in the world where people are excited to see me because I am a representative of America. Not everyone will try to kidnap me.

    America-bash away. I don't blame anyone for liking a home country where everyone basically acts and looks the same as you... sounds great. Never had that. Probably pretty nice.

    WE ARE JUST DIFFERENT, WITH DIFFERENT PROBLEMS. NOT BETTER OR WORSE THAN ANYONE, JUST WITH DIFFERENT PROBLEMS. But you can't really blame the USA for going crazy every day. You'd be nuts too if you had this many people that can't agree.

    And another thing. When everyone says we don't need an army it just makes me laugh. Well, that is because we are doing the job for you. Keep in mind that if anyone invaded Norway, Iceland, The Netherlands, Australia, beautiful New Zealand, or anywhere else civilized... we might have the jets in the air faster than you might have yours. Why?

    NOT BECAUSE AMERICA WANTS TO BE MR. BADASS ALL THE TIME. Its actually simpler than that.

    That is what true friends do for friends when they need help. We'd kick butt again for France or Germany (or the Netherlands) in a second if they needed it. Of course, the UK doesn't even need to ask. You get punched silly for even looking at the UK in front of the USA.

  • Re:Suspicious ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) on Monday September 16, 2002 @08:53AM (#4265340) Homepage Journal
    I agree with you, and I have posted opinions like this to Slashdot before. However, it's best just not to bother posting this type of stuff. You will just get insulted and called communist/ liberal/ socialist/ Eurotrash/ America-hater and whatever. Just don't post this kind of opinion. Lots of Americans just aren't tolerant of it. (Ironic isn't it? For people that go on about freedom of speech so much!)
    Free speech != keeping your mouth shut when someone says something you disagree with. Quite the opposite.

    That being said, as an American, I cringe at those comments you're talking about, because free speech also doesn't mean that you should shoot your mouth off without thinking every time someone presses your buttons. And anyone who uses words like "commie" or "eurotrash" in serious conversation is, by definition, not worth paying attention to.

    Anyway ... It's true that now many European countries have just as much freedom as the US. But you've got to look at the historical background. At the time of the War of 1812 (when the lines "land of the free and home of the brave" were written) every other great power in the world was a monarchy (unles you want to argue that France under Napoleon was somehow less a monarchy than the rest of Europe under traditional dynasties; I wouldn't.) Ironically, the only other great power in the world that could lay claim to anything approaching the degree of freedom the US offered in those days was Britain, which was slowly approaching a de facto democracy even then. But the idea of the US as uniquely free was really quite accurate then, and it was burned into our national consciousness.

    I'm the child and grandchild of immigrants, and I've lived outside the US for substantial periods of time; I know that we're not all there is to the world, and that there are many other places in the world that offer a very good life. I am also a veteran and a patriot; I love my country and hope that it will retain its historical role as a beacon of freedom in a world where too many are oppressed. That's why current trends, both in the US and throughout the free world, scare the shit out of me.

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