Should We Be Afraid Of Surveillance
Are we all being targeted by surveillance in Australia
Sir Iain Lobban, Director GCHQ, contributed an article entitled "Countering the cyber threat to business" for the Spring 2013 edition of the Institute of Directors Big Picture policy journal.
The National Security Strategy sets out the challenges of a changing and uncertain world and places cyber attack in the top tier of risks, alongside international terrorism, a major industrial accident or natural disaster, and international military crisis. GCHQ, in concert with Security Service (also known as MI5) and the Secret Intelligence Service (also known as MI6) play a key role across all of these areas and more. Our work drives the UK Government’s response to world events and enables strategic goals overseas.
The National Security Agency (NSA) is a cryptologic intelligence agency of the United States Department of Defense responsible for the collection and analysis of foreign communications and foreign signals intelligence, as well as protecting U.S. government communications and information systems, which involves information security and cryptanalysis/cryptography.
The NSA is directed by at least a lieutenant general or vice admiral. NSA is a key component of the U.S. Intelligence Community, which is headed by the Director of National Intelligence. The Central Security Service is a co-located agency created to coordinate intelligence activities and co-operation between NSA and other U.S. military cryptanalysis agencies. The Director of the National Security Agency serves as the Commander of the United States Cyber Command and Chief of the Central Security Service. By law, NSA's intelligence gathering is limited to foreign communications, although domestic incidents such as the NSA warrantless surveillance controversy have occurred.
The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO; /ˈeɪziːoʊ/) is Australia's national security service, which is responsible for the protection of the country and its citizens from espionage, sabotage, acts of foreign interference, politically motivated violence, attacks on the Australian defence system, and terrorism. ASIO is comparable with the United Kingdom Security Service (MI5). As with MI5 officers, ASIO officers have no police powers of arrest and are not armed. ASIO operations requiring police powers are co-ordinated with the Australian Federal Police and/or with State and Territory police forces. ASIO Central Office is in Canberra, with a local office being located in each mainland state and territory capital. Establishment and 'The Case' Following the conclusion of World War II, the joint United States-UK Venona project uncovered sensitive British and Australian government data being transmitted through Soviet diplomatic channels. Officers from MI5 were dispatched to Australia to assist local investigations. The leak was eventually tracked to a spy ring operating from the Soviet Embassy in Canberra. Consequently, allied Western governments expressed disaffection with the state of security in Australia.
Subsequently, on 16 March 1949, Prime Minister Ben Chifley issued a Directive for the Establishment and Maintenance of a Security Service, appointing South Australian Supreme Court Justice Geoffrey Reed as the first Director-General of Security. In August 1949, Justice Reed advised the Prime Minister that he had decided to name the service the 'Australian Security Intelligence Organization' [sic] (the spelling was amended in 1999 to bring it into line with the Australian standard form 'organisation'). The new service was to be modelled on the Security Service of the United Kingdom and an MI5 liaison team was attached to the fledgling ASIO during the early 1950s. Historian Robert Manne describes this early relationship as “special, almost filial” and continues “ASIO’s trust in the British counter-intelligence service appears to have been near-perfect”. One of the foundation directors of ASIO, Robert Frederick Bird Wake, in his son's biography No Ribbons or Medals about his father's work as a counter espionage officer, is credited with getting " the show" started in 1949. Wake worked closely with the then director general Judge Geoffry Reed. During World War Two Reed conducted an inquiry into Wake's performance as a security officer and found that he was competent and innocent of the charges laid by the Army's commander-in-chief, General Thomas Blamey. This was the start of a relationship between Reed and Wake that lasted for more than 10 years. Wake was seen as the operational head of ASIO.
Case and Point
Now for the readers we have established who these agencies are and the extent of their operational powers in times of need as democratic nations. The question now is do we as a nation except the exposed intrusion on all of our data being processed by these agencies to stop terror attacks on our nation. Broadly speaking I have no doubt as to the overall good intentions of these agencies, however after seeing and researching the NSA I can reveal the following:-
William Binney (U.S. intelligence official)
Binney grew up in rural Pennsylvania and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from the Pennsylvania State University in 1970. He said that he volunteered for the Army during the Vietnam era in order to select work that would interest him. He was found to have strong aptitudes for math, analysis, and code-breaking, and served four years from 1965-1969 at the Army Security Agency before going to the NSA in 1970. Binney was a Russia specialist and worked in the operations side of intelligence, starting as an analyst and ending as Technical Director then becoming a geopolitical world Technical Director. In the 1990s, he co-founded a unit on automating signals intelligence with NSA research chief Dr. John Taggart. Binney's NSA career culminated as Technical Leader for intelligence in 2001. Having expertise in intelligence analysis, traffic analysis, systems analysis, knowledge management, and mathematics (including set theory, number theory, and probability), Binney has been described as one of the best analysts and code breakers in the NSA's history. After retiring from the NSA he founded “Entity Mapping, LLC”, a private intelligence agency together with fellow NSA whistleblower J. Kirk Wiebe to market their analysis program to government agencies. NSA continued to retaliate against them, ultimately preventing them from getting work, or causing contracts they had secured to be terminated abruptly.
In September 2002, he, along with J. Kirke Wiebe and Edward Loomis, asked the U.S. Defense Department to investigate the NSA for allegedly wasting "millions and millions of dollars" on Trailblazer, a system intended to analyze data carried on communications networks such as the Internet. Binney had been one of the inventors of an alternative system, ThinThread, which was shelved when Trailblazer was chosen instead. Binney has also been publicly critical of the NSA for spying on U.S. citizens, saying of its expanded surveillance after the September 11th, 2001 attacks that "it's better than anything that the KGB, the Stasi, or the Gestapo and SS ever had" as well as noting Trailblazer's ineffectiveness and unjustified high cost compared to the more effective yet far less intrusive and less expensive ThinThread. He was furious that the NSA hadn't uncovered the 9/11 plot and stated that intercepts it had collected but not analyzed likely would have garnered timely attention with his leaner more focused system.
After he left the NSA in 2001, Binney was one of several people investigated as part of an inquiry into the 2005 New York Times exposé on the agency’s warrantless eavesdropping program. Binney was cleared of wrongdoing after three interviews with FBI agents beginning in March 2007, but one morning in July 2007, a dozen agents armed with rifles appeared at his house, with one of them entering the bathroom where Binney was toweling off after a shower, pointing a gun at him. In that raid, the FBI confiscated a desktop computer, disks and personal and business records. The NSA revoked his security clearance, forcing him to close a business he ran with former colleagues, which cost him a reported $300,000 annual income. In 2012, Binney and his co-plaintiffs went to federal court to get the items back. Binney spent more than $7,000 on legal fees.
During interviews on Democracy Now! in April and May 2012 with elaboration in July 2012 at 2600's hacker conference HOPE and a couple weeks later at DEF CON, Binney reported that he estimates that the NSA (particularly through the Stellar Wind project) had intercepted 20 trillion communications "transactions" of Americans (such as phone calls, emails, and other forms of data but not including financial data). This includes most of the emails of US citizens. Binney discloses in sworn affidavit for Jewel v. NSA that the agency was "purposefully violating the Constitution".
Edward Snowden comes forward as source of NSA leaks
A 29-year-old man who says he is a former undercover CIA employee said Sunday that he was the principal source of recent disclosures about top-secret National Security Agency programs, exposing himself to possible prosecution in an acknowledgment that had little if any precedent in the long history of U.S. intelligence leaks.
Effectiveness of these agencies and the negatives
How effective have these agencies been in the past, did they stop 9/11, did they stop the Boston Bombing or the Kansas bombing answer 'No'. How effective is ASIO did they expose the people smuggler in Canberra, do they know who is behind the people smugglers in Indonesia, answer 'No'. So for all the trolling and gathering all of our personal data nothing it appears has been achieved. Did this stop the soldier in the UK being slaughtered in the street in broad daylight, answer 'no'.
So we hear from our elected officials on a daily basis this 'War on Terror' and expect us all to comply because of this great threat which to date the collecting of our data has stopped nothing substantial , now we have some 29 year old in Hong Kong Edward Snowden coming forward as source of NSA leaks stating that he could access the President of the United States personal data, how open is that to corruption, this is the problem people how much data is being retrieved and to what use or ends is it to be used?
The argument of 'if we are doing nothing wrong' then we have nothing to fear is a fallacy, take for example the amount of personal vehicle information on police computers which was misused by police and eventually uncovered by an investigation into the very people who have access to this information and there to protect. Should we be concerned of course we should history has proven that over and over again. Now we have this kid with his knowledge of the NSA in Hong Kong exposed with the inner workings of the USA National Security program. Concerned we should be. Another argument is that we are Democratic Society and so this information is safe from personal persecution, how long for? We call ourselves democratic but NSW has taken away the 'Right to Silence' in the Criminal Law.
For those that didn't see the 60 minutes, it appears that a different threat coupled to the death of a soldier in the UK is looming the 'Lone Wolf Terrorist' who for some insane reason wants to harm people of the non Islamic faith to prove some type of point. During that interview it was amazing to see some young Muslim men in Lakemba NSW who are born here in Australia state that the soldier deserved what he got and that it is Mohammed, Islam, Afghanistan and then Australia in that order of allegiance. So the question now is what do we do about these people these are home grown. If we are going to surveillance all of us then the question is do we target all of the Islamic Faith to root out the radicals, and then what? What laws do we introduce do we make them break faith and swear allegiance to Australia first and then their faith, or just pack them off to the country where they allegiances lay.
In contrast to all that has been discussed here that is the big issue with Asylum Seekers, should we make them swear allegiance to this country first and discard their beliefs and previous country to secondary places and emphasize that they will be monitored for ever more by high tech surveillance and they agree for it to be done for the safety of the nation they have adopted. Radical yes, put peoples mind at ease in relation to Asylum Seekers yes, after all isn't it the Government that keeps us fearful of outsiders with their 'War on Terror' philosophy which we have endured since 9/11 with all of its condemnations and wars.
These are the negatives and positives of this surveillance program which as we can see is happening here and only the naive will think it is not. But the big question is for better or worse do we need this to continue for all of our safety? Also should this decision be taken out of our hands and dictated by Governments of the day? The author for better or worse believes we should monitor all in this day and age, but would like the safe guards published so has to give confidence to the program. We cannot have it both ways on the one hand accept boat people and then on the other hand make people afraid of terrorist attacks both are counter productive and just make people confused what exactly are we doing, the Greens Party say we should accept more, the Liberals say people are being let into this country who are suspect at least and may do harm at best, then there are the loan wolf issues. All the time all of our data is being collated where does the truth lay.
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