Surveillance

Snowden issues surveillance warning to Israelis

U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden urged Israelis to be on guard against heavy-handed government and private surveillance in a speech by video link on Nov. 6 and defended his 2013 massive… TEL AVIV – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet Snowden highlighted Israel‘s high-tech capabilities, but warned that accepting too much government surveillance and too easily acceding to the argument that it is needed for security reasons… “If we can allow ourselves to be terrorized by someone with nothing but a knife, to reorder our societies for the convenience ... Read More »

Tanzania: Anti-gay crackdown in Dar es Salaam

A Tanzanian governor has announced the creation of a surveillance squad dedicated to hunting down gay people. BBC Paul Makonda, governor of the economic capital Dar es Salaam, told reporters round-ups would begin next week. The team will scrutinise social media in order to track down and arrest people in same sex couples, he added. Homosexual acts are illegal in Tanzania, where anti-gay rhetoric has been on the rise since President John Magufuli’s election in 2015. Many gay, lesbian and ... Read More »

Patriotic songs and self-criticism: why China is ‘re-educating’ Muslims in mass detention camps

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs denies their existence. But extensive reporting by international media and human rights groups indicates upwards of hundreds of thousands of Uighurs — a… The Conversation By Michael Clarke ABC The camps are not only massive, with some exceeding 10,000 square metres, but have also been likened to prison-like compounds, with, “reinforced security doors and windows, surveillance systems… The US Congressional-Executive Commission on China calls it, “The largest mass incarceration of a minority population in the ... Read More »

Navy: Chinese Spy Ship Monitoring RIMPAC Exercise, Again

A Chinese surveillance ship is operating off the coast of Hawaii to keep tabs on the U.S.-led Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise, a Navy official confirmed to USNI News on Friday. Sam LaGrone USNI The People’s Liberation Army Navy’s (PLAN) auxiliary general intelligence (AGI) ship has been operating in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) off the coast of Hawaii since July 11, U.S. Pacific Fleet spokesman Capt… “We expect the ship will remain outside the territorial seas of the U.S. ... Read More »

Cambridge Analytica used our secrets for profit – the same data could be used for public good

Ever since it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica had taken data from 87m users via a Facebook app that exploited the social media site’s privacy settings, it has been suggested that anything from Donald Trump’s election in the US to the European Union referendum result in the UK could have been the result of the persuasive power of… William David Watkin The Conversation But Aleksandr Kogan, the University of Cambridge researcher whose data-collecting app formed the basis for Cambridge Analytica’s ... Read More »

Explainer: how the Australian intelligence community works

National security, intelligence and espionage have been in the headlines due to events abroad and significant developments at home. John Blaxland The Conversation News of diplomatic expulsions, cyber-attacks, leaked documents about sweeping new surveillance powers and the creation of a new Home Affairs Department make it hard to follow. What’s more, everyone has heard of the CIA, for instance, but Australia’s own national security organisations are comparatively unknown. So how is intelligence gathered? What are Australia’s peak national security bodies ... Read More »

Cambridge Analytica: Warrant sought to inspect company

The UK’s Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham says she will seek a warrant to look at the databases and servers used by British data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica. BBC The firm is accused of using the personal data of 50 million Facebook members, amassed via a personality quiz app created by an academic. Former employee Christopher Wylie claims the company used the data to influence the US presidential election. The firm denies the allegations. Ms Denham had demanded access to Cambridge ... Read More »

China’s CCTV surveillance network took just 7 minutes to capture BBC reporter

It took Chinese authorities just seven minutes to locate and apprehend BBC reporter John Sudworth using its powerful network of CCTV camera and facial recognition technology Jon Russell TC This wasn’t a case of a member of the media being forcibly removed from the country. The chase was a stunt set up to illustrate just how powerful and effective the Chinese government’s surveillance system can be. It’s a stark example of the type of monitoring that China has invested heavily in over ... Read More »

Politics podcast: John Blaxland on new foreign interference laws

The government’s new foreign interference laws propose broad changes to political donations, counter-surveillance, and lobbying in Australia. Michelle Grattan John Blaxland ANU professor John Blaxland has some real concerns about the unintended consequences of the legislation for academic debate. The Conversation He says there’s a real chance that good people engaging intellectually with issues might get caught up in the broader crackdown. On the controversy surrounding Sam Dastyari’s dealings with a Chinese businessman, Blaxland says its been a “sobering” lesson ... Read More »

Let’s face it, we’ll be no safer with a national facial recognition database

A commitment to share the biometric data of most Australians – including your driving licence photo – agreed at Thursday’s Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting will result in a further erosion of our privacy. That sharing is not necessary. It will be costly. Bruce Baer Arnold The Conversation But will it save us from terrorism? Not all, although it will give people a false sense of comfort. Importantly, it will allow politicians and officials to show that they are ... Read More »

Government risks over reach on tougher national security laws

While, at first glance, uploading all of Australia’s drivers licence photos into a central data base in the name of national security seems logical, it is not without some serious… Editorial The Canberra Times The worst is the obvious potential for “big brother” style surveillance of individuals who may not represent threats to the safety of the realm through the rapidly growing national network of CCTV cameras in shopping centres, on streets and… Critics, including members of the Australian Privacy ... Read More »

Chinese spy ships: The devil in the detail

Recent posts in The Interpreter (by Iain Henry, Euan Graham and James Goldrick) have commented on the presence of a Chinese intelligence-gathering ship off the Queensland Coast during Exercise Talisman Sabre. Sam Bateman The Interpreter All these posts are broadly correct – the incident suggested Chinese hypocrisy with its objections to foreign military activities in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ), specifically its objections to American surveillance and intelligence-collection in its EEZ. However, we need to be careful in making assessments ... Read More »

Calls on surveillance partnership of intelligence agencies to respect strong encryption

Liberty Victoria is one of 83 organisations and experts from 5 nations demanding “Five Eyes” respect strong… On Friday 30 June 2017, 83 organisations and individuals from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States sent letters to their respective governments insisting that government officials defend strong… The letter comes on the heels of a meeting of the “Five Eyes” ministerial meeting in Ottawa, Canada last… Calls on surveillance… Read More »

Act now to protect your digital rights, Big Brother and his Little Sisters may be watching

Imagine China takes down its national internet blocking system – aka the Great Firewall – tomorrow. Will this affect how you use the… Jack Linchuan Qiu The Conversation Without the Great Firewall, Facebook and Google will grow exponentially in… Before long, the tech giants own a sizeable share of the Chinese market and have become good buddies with… This scenario unfolds at a time when Donald Trump’s inward-looking policy upsets Silicon Valley’s efforts to expand its global empire, and… Act ... Read More »

The futility of secrets in the age of technology

The latest CIA leak proves that state actors no longer get to decide who can be privy to information stamped ‘secret’. Andrew Mitrovica Al Jazeera News One of the jobs of so-called intelligence officers is to collect and carefully consider the facts and to offer sound, sober advice, devoid of hyperbole. This is the… The futility of… Read More »