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Australia Government

NSA Ally Spied on US Law Firm 162

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-so-privileged-communications dept.
mendax points out a story at the NY Times about evidence that the Australian Signals Directorate notified the NSA in 2013 that it was spying on discussions between Indonesia and an American law firm. The information gathered by the Directorate included material covered by attorney-client privilege. The Times says: "Most attorney-client conversations do not get special protections under American law from N.S.A. eavesdropping. Amid growing concerns about surveillance and hacking, the American Bar Association in 2012 revised its ethics rules to explicitly require lawyers to 'make reasonable efforts' to protect confidential information from unauthorized disclosure to outsiders. ... Several newly disclosed documents provide details of the cooperation between the United States and Australia, which share facilities and highly sensitive intelligence, including efforts to break encryption and collect phone call data in Indonesia. Both nations have trade and security interests in Indonesia, where Islamic terrorist groups that threaten the West have bases."
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NSA Ally Spied on US Law Firm

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 15, 2014 @09:28PM (#46257367)
    This is the best example which embodies the core question, of who prevails: is it the law that is above the government or is it the government above the law. This particular example of spying the law firm which was representing one side simply demonstrated that the United States has been thrown back to pre-Magna carta era. Basically, if you pose a shred of risk to the establishment and you are in court, you have no chances to privacy and a fair trial. Magna carta basically stated that even the king is not above the law. Now we no longer have the laws that are not being broken by overzealous eunuchs, who are only laughing at the rest of the population . Most interestingly, last year Supreme court rejected the supreme court case brought by the lawyers about the client-attorney confidentiality citing that such fears are "unsubstantiated". Supreme court is presided by judge John G. Roberts. This is the same judge, John G. Roberts, who is appointing FISA judges and is heavily involved "overseeing". So, he said he was not aware of spying.... What a scum seated as chief justice of the country
  • by future assassin (639396) on Saturday February 15, 2014 @09:34PM (#46257397) Homepage

    > where Islamic terrorist groups that threaten the West have bases

    You know if you don't stand up and say enough of this shit its never going to stop. ATM we have a better chance of getting wipped out by a meteor then we do by some bad ass strapped to a bomb. I get almost side swiped at least once per day while driving on the highway. So what if we get attacked once in a while more people are killed by their diets and the chemicals used in food, there's the governmental outrage about these food terrorist companies that are causing serious damage to out health and economy.

    On top of that terrorism is good for the economy and populations control.

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Saturday February 15, 2014 @10:25PM (#46257571) Homepage Journal

    Every time you read one of these stories, and are (hopefully) a little bit outraged at how the NSA has dropped every pretense of complying with our Constitution, and has embraced the most despicable aspects of tyrannical rule without any notion of "national defense", you should remember that without the heroic acts of a single young man, and the tireless efforts of a shamefully small handful of journalists and publishers, we would either be ignorant of these monstrous acts or vulnerable to charges of paranoia.

    We now have proof, and government doesn't even deign to make false denials. We have government officials calling for the assassination of Edward Snowden and some of the journalists with whom he entrusted these documents. We have everything we need to make a decision about whether we really consent to be governed in this way.

    There has never been a perfect hero outside of myth. But there are necessary heroes, and Snowden is one of those.

  • by sumdumass (711423) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @01:21AM (#46258113) Journal

    The problem here is not exactly that the US or some other country spied on Indonesia but that in whatever course of events, US citizens who also generally receive special treatment (lawyers) were spied on and this information was passed to the US government where it could have benefited. What effectively happened here is the US government gained information that it is constitutionally and as a matter of US law, barred from gathering and either did use it to their advantage or had the opportunity to do so.

    You gain an enormous advantage in knowing what the opposition is doing in any matters of law. Good lawyers study scenarios in order to understand and anticipate the moves of their opposing counsel and recognize when their tactics are working. But knowing first hand could make the difference between winning and losing. That in and of itself does make spying on foreign nations worth while, it just doesn't excuse violating the US constitution and principles of law in the process of doing it. If a normal ordinary person or lawyer were to gain access to this kind of information through a third party (directly or unsolicited), it could cause them to lose their license, case or claim they are representing, or even worse- land them in jail if they used it.

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