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Australia Communications Government The Internet United States

Aussie Telco Telstra Agreed To Spy For America 125

An anonymous reader writes "Australian telecommunications giant Telstra has for a decade been storing huge volumes of electronic communications carried between Asia and America for surveillance by U.S. intelligence agencies. This includes not just the metadata, but the actual content of emails, online messages and phone calls. With the blessing of the Australian government Telstra agreed to route data through a 'U.S. point of contact through a secure storage facility on U.S. soil that was staffed exclusively by U.S. citizens.' The contract was prompted by Telstra's decision to expand its business in Asia by taking control of hundreds of kilometers of undersea telecommunications cables. The deal started under the Liberal Party and continued under Labor. The Greens have demanded an explanation."
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Aussie Telco Telstra Agreed To Spy For America

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  • I'm not an expert (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lesincompetent ( 2836253 ) on Friday July 12, 2013 @08:50AM (#44260127)
    I don't know but... isn't THAT some kind of treason or betrayal of your fellow countrymen or something?
  • Treason (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 12, 2013 @08:53AM (#44260141)

    Hang 'em high.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 12, 2013 @08:54AM (#44260147)
    If Australia doesn't harshly punish the people responsible, you will know they're one of the boys.
  • by Trepidity ( 597 ) <delirium-slashdot@nosPAM.hackish.org> on Friday July 12, 2013 @08:56AM (#44260165)

    Well, this was reportedly done "with the blessing of the Australian government", so the odds of the Australian government punishing Telestra (or themselves) seem low.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 12, 2013 @09:12AM (#44260321)

    China has the Great Firewall, which tries to block it's citizens from seeing things from the rest of the world that the government doesn't want. The US is the opposite. It has a Great Vacuum of America that has been slurping up every speck of communication going across its borders, and apparently a lot further than that. It's one thing to collect and share intelligence and analysis between allies. It's quite another to give another country wholesale access to the entire data stream.

    I suppose it's not surprising that the US would have agreements with allies to expand these sorts of systems globally, but you'd think that some countries would say "No" to it. Or if they did say "perhaps", that they would insist that a public discussion occur first, because ostensibly it is for a valid purpose (monitoring for criminal and/or terrorist activities). Maybe people would okay with that if given the chance to consider it and if it had a lot of oversight and eventual transparency (e.g., summary of approved activities 5 or 10 years later or something). Of course, there's the problem that the principle of wholesale monitoring of all communications like this is often unconstitutional in the relevant countries, and the fact that such a system could be open to flagrant abuse. But implementing it in secret? That sours just about any public consideration of what the balance should be. What were these people thinking? That it could stay secret forever? Or that people would go along with it after the fact?

  • In Soviet Earth (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 12, 2013 @09:21AM (#44260397)

    Everyone Spies for Murica (or we will FREE the shit out of your government....even faster if you have oil)

  • Hook me up NSA (Score:4, Insightful)

    by buck-yar ( 164658 ) on Friday July 12, 2013 @09:37AM (#44260563)

    I'd like to spy on some people, give me access damnit!

    How long before the current administration uses this against their political foes, if they haven't been already? They send the IRS after political opponents, why would the NSA be any different?

  • by L4t3r4lu5 ( 1216702 ) on Friday July 12, 2013 @09:42AM (#44260613)

    ... the odds of the Australian government punishing Telestra (or themselves) seem low.

    Your absolutely right. It's down to the populace to hold their government accountable. Vote them out of power, and make sure the next party you elect puts protections in place to ensure this never happens again.

  • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Friday July 12, 2013 @09:51AM (#44260715)

    Not really. It's common knowledge that the Australian Government has an even more intimate relationship with the United States Government than Monica Lewinski.

  • by FriendlyLurker ( 50431 ) on Friday July 12, 2013 @09:56AM (#44260773)
    Unfortunately the two dominant parties are all on-board with this shit. Unless there is a mass migration to third parties (Like Greens, Wikileaks party, Pirate Party...) that form a coalition bigger than Labor/Liberal together, then the two main parties will just continue to do as they have been the last few years - voting in police state expansion of ASIO powers, giving Tesltra the all clear to send private sensitive Aussie data to foreign corporations, etc. Admitedly Aussies have more chance of handing power to third parties than the does US - but it is a reeeally long shot when Rupert Murdoch controls 70%+ of the countries media (and by extension, their hearts and minds).
  • Explanation? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Friday July 12, 2013 @10:02AM (#44260847) Homepage Journal

    The explanation is simple. The US considers themselves the world's police men, the world's legal system, and the world's judge, jury, and executioner. They do not and will not stop at anything, including breaking their own laws, to achieve domination.

    Their society has degraded from one of freedom to a classic, textbook case of the nationalistic fervour, corporatism, and militarism of the fascists of yore. But as soon as you say "fascist", you're dismissed as "exagerating", despite the fact that modern US society displays all the traits of fascism right down to the surveillance and police state mentality.

    You can see the nationalistic fervour in the way that US society has calmly ignored the whole whistle blowing over the surveillance led by the US government around the world. As far as US citizens seem to be concerned, their government can do no wrong.

  • Re:Explanation? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday July 12, 2013 @12:04PM (#44262023) Homepage Journal

    Everybody knows what's best for you. And they'll make sure you know it, too.

    The USA just happens to be in power right now due in part to the wealth of natural resources and in part due to a series of shrewd decisions, like selling aluminum and fuel (among other interesting things) to the Axis before joining the Allies at just the right moment to really maximize their profit, as well as hiring (and spiriting) away the most successful scientists from the Third Reich. Right now, we have the money and the oil and the power. I presume that this is why we are so against progress; if things move ahead, we may well lose our advantages and simply be one nation among many.

Never buy what you do not want because it is cheap; it will be dear to you. -- Thomas Jefferson