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Australia Government

NSA Ally Spied on US Law Firm 162

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 @09:53PM (#46257449)

    What TRIAL? It was a trade dispute between Indonesia and the US.
    You are seriously confusing this for something it's not.

    Australia was spying on Indonesia. Wipe the surprise off your face.

    This whole surveillance debate keeps reminding me of the gun control debate in the US. Every time I see N.S.A. it's like hearing Assault Rifle.

  • by AHuxley ( 892839 ) on Saturday February 15, 2014 @10:32PM (#46257601) Journal
    This question surfaces in the US e.g. []
    Over time US lawyer and political leaders will have to work out what "appropriate [US] authorities" can subject working US lawyers to within the US or outside the USA.
    In other parts of the world do US lawyers (as citizens) lose all protections working as US lawyers? If they are just tourist the full US protections return?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 15, 2014 @11:04PM (#46257709)

    only the NSA thing doesnt just affect you ignorant fucks in america like the gun control in america thing does. It affects the whole fucking world in one way or another, it makes your technology vendors untrustworthy and questionable to foreign sources.

    It makes the world look down on you even further. It makes people from countries that once supported you think "why the fuck are we supporting them, fuck those guys"

    the NSA thing scope is much greater than your tired gun control debate personally i say flood america with guns let them sort each other out at a minimum at least there will be less of you

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Saturday February 15, 2014 @11:55PM (#46257865) Journal
    My understanding is that the concern is not about these relatively trivial trade negotiations specifically(though if any of the unnamed 'customers' who found the intelligence products useful were American firms rather than government entities, that would make the US claims of not engaging in economic espionage for the benefit of individual companies rather tenuous); but about the broader question of whether US clandestine activity has the slightest regard for attorney-client relations(in this case, Indonesia had engaged a US law firm, and the Australians noted that the goodies might involve that material).

    Some lawyers (particularly the ones dealing with political unlikeables, like the Gitmo remnants) have long suspected that the usual protections for attorney-client privilege were being more or less blatantly violated; but the matter has remained unresolved because, without some evidence, nobody ever has standing, the court finds the plaintiffs' concerns to be merely speculative, etc.

    This case, while singularly un-sinister in terms of the matter at hand, strongly suggests that attorney-client communications are open season for the US clandestine services, if they care, which is news given the protections theoretically afforded to such(particularly in light of the revelation of DEA, and possibly other, use of 'parallel construction' to generate non-tainted 'independent' discovery of evidence uncovered by classified surveillance mechanisms that they did not wish to disclose at trial, even to the judge or prosecution, much less the defense).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 16, 2014 @12:46AM (#46258027)

    I won't think less of you if you happen to recant should a successful 9/11 scale attack strike your hometown after the growing number of leaked NSA document articles teaches al Qaida how to successfully avoid US surveillance. If you tell the American people there really isn't any way to keep al Qaida from finding out, let alone China or ......

    Your attempts to scare us with the same old bullshit about "a successful 9/11 scale attack" are far from
    convincing. Why ? Because it's been over 12 years since 9/11 and anyone who was motivated
    has had more than sufficient time to cook up a plan, yet nothing even remotely close to a threat which could
    kill thousands of US citizens has happened.

    It's been obvious for some time now that the so-called terrorists are a bunch of amateurs.
    Their obvious failure to do anything serious in the US during the last 12 years points to their
    incompetence, and the NSA / CIA et al cannot take credit for that, as much as they might like to do so.

The wages of sin are high but you get your money's worth.