Federal

May 14, 2013

Going dark and the logic of mass surveillance

US agencies are grappling with the same technological challenges as British and Australian agencies but have the advantage of being able to act beyond the law.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

The American security establishment calls it “going dark”, and it’s a problem Australian and UK intelligence and law enforcement agencies also claim is a major threat: the steady loss of their ability to monitor communications because we are all shifting from telephones, which are easily wiretapped by governments, to online, where it’s more complicated both legally and technically, and where telecommunications companies need only keep minimal track of communications for billing purposes.

7 comments

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7 thoughts on “Going dark and the logic of mass surveillance

  1. neil busacca

    Incorrect Bernard, not a problem at all.
    The us government and no doubt oz/uk record all email and phone conversations already:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/04/telephone-calls-recorded-fbi-boston

    Only encrypted conversations might cause them some hassle. and even then im sure they have backdoors.

    All this talk about recording recording calls and retaining data is to make what they are already doing (almost certainly illegally) legal so they can use it in court evidence and protec ts them from claims of illegality down the track.

    Australians have to ask whether putting up with all this just so the USA might defend us against China/Indonesia worth the loss of freedoms

  2. Andybob

    Intelligence and law enforcement are, of course, separate beasties. The Defence Signals Directorate shares sigint with the USA, Canada, UK and New Zealand and any talk of it “going dark” is cover. Intelligence’s preferred sharing model with law enforcement is nothing, because law enforcement must disclose evidence if it prosecutes. Intelligence is using “technical advances” as a basis to reduce sharing with law enforcement to its preferred model.

  3. GF50

    Total invasion of privacy and NOT worth the offset to so called security from terrorism etc. Intelligence and the USA cannot be used in the same sentence, and Australia is fast putting it’s self in the same situation and it is not big brother that is watching you, it is the corporates that run the world via the international banks dictating what civil society, decency and democracy we are entitled to. The backdoor stealth, illegal approach is the only way in, meantime Australia sleeps soundly.

  4. drmick

    Geez get it right. Ethical and moral obligations versus big business is the now and ongoing battle. The law will never catch up; and this is the game.
    While big business & every other crappy “player” all the way down to facebook can design specific ads for you based on the information they collect; the mob charged with defending the population are hamstrung.

  5. GF50

    drmick +++ Abso bloody lutely.

  6. RBTL

    Great article Bernard. Echelon? yes, Echelon.

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