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Australian Spy Agency Seeks Permission To Hack Third-Party Computers 210

New submitter LordLucless writes "ASIO, Australia's spy agency, is pushing for the ability to lawfully hijack peoples' computers — even if they are not under suspicion of any crime. They seek the ability to gain access to a third party's computer in order to facilitate gaining access to the real target — essentially using any person's personal computer as a proxy for their hacking attempts. The current legislation prohibits any action by ASIO that, among other things, interferes with a person's legitimate use of their computer. Conceivably, over-turning this restriction would give ASIO the ability to build their own bot-net of compromised machines. Perhaps inevitably, they say these changes are required to help them catch terrorists."
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Australian Spy Agency Seeks Permission To Hack Third-Party Computers

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  • Ha (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Moe1975 ( 885721 ) <mauriceroman@ g m a i l . c om> on Saturday January 12, 2013 @07:25PM (#42571047)

    I'd like to see them do that to someone's OpenBSD box!

  • What will Woz Do? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Macrat ( 638047 ) on Saturday January 12, 2013 @07:33PM (#42571117)
    Will Woz still want to buy Aussie citizenship if this is allowed?
  • by Taco Cowboy ( 5327 ) on Saturday January 12, 2013 @07:36PM (#42571133) Journal

    Last time when we talk about Soviet Union and/or China and/or Cuba and/or Iran and/or North Korea or East Germany, or any of those countries we used words like "ROUGE COUNTRIES" to describe them.

    And they deserved it, for those countries never about the human rights of their citizens, and those countries spied on their own citizens.

    Nowadays, countries that are supposed to be "FREE", such as Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom and United States are becoming more and more like those rogue states.

    What the fuck has happened to the spirit of "FREEDOM" of the free world?

  • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Saturday January 12, 2013 @07:38PM (#42571147)

    Dear ASIO, The only people (and I use that term loosely) currently terrorising Australia are you. Kindly take your hacking desires against lawful citizens and shove them.

  • Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by russotto ( 537200 ) on Saturday January 12, 2013 @08:03PM (#42571321) Journal

    Headline: "ASIO is already breaking into third-party computers unlawfully, but is tired of covering it up."

    ''The purpose of this power is to allow ASIO to access the computer of suspected terrorists and other security interests,'' : "The purpose of this power is power".

    ''(It would be used) in extremely limited circumstances and only when explicitly approved by the Attorney-General through a warrant.": "We'll use it whenever and order several redundant sets of rubber stamps for the warrants"

    'The Attorney-General's Department refused to explain yesterday how third-party computers would be used, ''as this may divulge operationally sensitive information and methods used by ASIO in sensitive national security investigations.''' : "We use them for all sorts of things no one in their right mind would approve of"

  • Good news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KeensMustard ( 655606 ) on Saturday January 12, 2013 @08:43PM (#42571523)
    Ever since terrorism became such a huge problem in Australia, ASIO have been unable to catch a single terrorist. So hampered were they by a lack of access to my computer, they have been unable to foil a single, credible terrorist plot. In the last decade or so, an attack by terrorists has been imminent, at any moment, I expect to be attacked by terrorists. The lack of an actual attack, the lack of any suspicion of an actual attack, the lack of any identifiable group with any plausible reason to attack, the lack of any identifiable person associated with any group planning to attack, these are simply indicators of how clever these devious, brown people are. If only someone would use my computer to hack into theirs, then Australians would know the reason for the constant stream of messages telling us to fear.
  • by Archfeld ( 6757 ) * <> on Saturday January 12, 2013 @09:22PM (#42571707) Journal

    No, buying is a bad practice in the corporate world. It has just been co-opted by the DiscoverCard Spirit of Freedom(TM), brought to you in part by McDonald's, and by the generous donation of the Monsanto Corporation. They are "Loving It"

  • by kawabago ( 551139 ) on Saturday January 12, 2013 @09:34PM (#42571795)
    I'd rather have terrorists.
  • by davester666 ( 731373 ) on Saturday January 12, 2013 @09:41PM (#42571835) Journal

    You can use this argument to do anything

    -open and read every piece of mail
    -listen to every phone call
    -attach gps monitors to every vehicle
    -install and record video cameras everywhere
    -require every computing device to have a backdoor so the gov't can search through it unhindered
    -stop and search everyone in a given area

    The gov't would potentially 'catch a terrorist' with any of these things. Obviously, they must be implemented immediately.

  • by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Saturday January 12, 2013 @11:39PM (#42572319) Homepage

    I am an Australian and I find the whole idea of the gutless and cowardly attack appalling. ASIO is proposing to leave some poor innocent nobody holding the bag for when the attack is detected. Some innocent person minding their own business acceding the internet, who suddenly finds the local swat team raiding their home and threatening that family with death. That whole family now finds itself on trial for espionage and treason a death penalty offence in many countries. That trial will be accompanied by torture. At which point will the Australia Government have the courage and stand up and tell the truth to the country so that the innocent family are no longer standing under the threat of execution.

    This all smells of a request by the US government who has all sorts of laws to deny any rights at all to foreigners. Sounds like those people at Pine Gap have been up to some naughty business and are looking to tidy up the legalities of a 'Joint Facility', Australian and US, doing stuff that is legal for the US part of the partnership but illegal for the Australian part of the partnership and as the attack must eventually leave the joint territory and cross Australian land it is subject to Australian law.

    It is well known that the US consider innocent third parties as nothing more than statistics and collateral damage, to be lied about in press releases but the Australian government better think long and hard about likely sending people to their death because those other countries aren't all rank computer security amateurs who wont detect the attack, after all if they were ASIO could attack direct or more accurately stand idly by and ignore the US led and controlled attack.

    You only have to look at the MEGAupload case to see how badly it can go when you trust the US inJustice system.

  • by LordLucless ( 582312 ) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @12:58AM (#42572629)

    I don't think this is raw CPU cycles they're looking for here. It's more like: "We're trying to grab information on this guy. We see he visits an awful lot. Let's get access to the computer of somesite's developer, grab his access keys, and modify somesite to deliver our trojan to the target."

    Of course, once you've compromised a computer, are you going to just clean it up and let it go? After all that trouble of getting a warrant? Pfft, no - what if you need it again? You're going to list it as a resource and add it to the pile of private computers your agency owns.

If you fail to plan, plan to fail.