May 30, 2013

Revealed: Australian spies seek power to break into Tor

The Attorney-General's Department has admitted data retention will be "trivially easy" to avoid and that intelligence services want to be able to break into encrypted internet systems like Tor.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

In a major admission, the Attorney-General’s Department has revealed Australia’s intelligence and law enforcement agencies are seeking the legal power to break into internet routing encryption services such as Tor, after admitting the centerpiece of its proposed national security reforms, data retention, will be “trivially easy” to defeat.

The admission by officials to Senate Estimates last night will give rise to further concerns that the department, which has systematically and aggressively expanded the powers of intelligence and law enforcement agencies at the expense of civil liberties and privacy, wants far stronger powers to regulate the internet and break into encrypted systems in order to keep an eye on what Australians are doing online.

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6 thoughts on “Revealed: Australian spies seek power to break into Tor

  1. Andybob

    Well if they don’t fund Gonski and improve edumication standards, particularly maths, then they can’t complain about not being able to crack codes like the NSA.

  2. zut alors

    Life was less perilous when everything was stored as hard copy.

    Also, spy thriller novels and films were more interesting when key characters were chasing microfilm. Imagine a hundred and twenty minutes of tedium watching a geek working a computer.

  3. westral

    If the security services are having trouble breaking into Tor maybe the Chinese could give them some advice.

  4. Ian

    Lead by the US and enthusiastically supported by Australia and others this is all about control and cracking down on dissent and denying transparency to the population. Actually catching criminals or so-called terrorists through these laws would be an incidental benefit.

    Careful people this sort of behaviour by the powers begins in a small way and builds up to encompass everything and everyone including you. Check your history.

  5. pelligrene rasmus

    “Actually catching criminals or so-called terrorists through these laws would be an incidental benefit.”

    actually stopping crime and terrorism is the last thing the state wants. after all, without a “problem”, there’s no need for “solutions” like this.

  6. AR

    The more ineffective they are at real intelligence work (spies, terrorism) the more they concentrate on controlling the population they are sworn to protect.

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