Jul 12, 2013

Telstra’s deal with the devil: FBI access to its undersea cables

The US government compelled Telstra and Hong Kong-based PCCW to give it access to their undersea cables for spying on communications traffic entering and leaving the US.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor


Telstra was compelled to strike a 2001 deal with the FBI and the US Department of Justice to give them surveillance access to the undersea cables owned by its subsidiary Reach, a new document released online and provided to Crikey reveals. The document shows Telstra, at that stage majority-owned by the Howard government, and its partner Pacific Century Cyber Works (now PCCW), then controlled by Hong Kong businessman Richard Li, agreed to provide the FBI with around-the-clock access to Reach's cables to spy on communications going into and out of the United States. It is signed by Telstra's then-company secretary Douglas Gration, then-deputy assistant US attorney-general John G. Malcolm, Alex Arena of PCCW, Alistair Grieve of Reach and Larry R. Parkinson of the FBI.

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14 thoughts on “Telstra’s deal with the devil: FBI access to its undersea cables

  1. Gregor

    Hmm, so when Telstra sent the usage data of all of its internet customers to the US for analysis, the company was aware that that data was being collected by the FBI. Dodgy.

  2. zut alors

    One can be confident this is only the tip of the iceberg revealing the USA’s tentacles in Oz.

    The third-to-last requirement is amusing considering it would’ve once qualified Edward Snowden ie: ‘… US citizens “who meet high standards of trustworthiness for maintaining the confidentiality of Sensitive Information”…’

  3. Curly Higgins

    Thankyou Telstra. Thanks to you we are all toast.

  4. zut alors

    All of this done under the auspices of Richard Alston, Minister of Communications at the time.

  5. @chrispydog

    Chinese hackers must be green with envy.

  6. wally crusoe

    “democracy” eh…..

  7. ianjohnno

    Don’t forget the Telstra Board, Zut.

  8. shepherdmarilyn

    Another triumph for John Winston WARmonger.

  9. America Cangofuckitself

    I hope this leads to historically large and crippling class actions against Telstra and the US government, and a mass desertion of Telstra by its customers. It is unconscionable to use private information for any purpose other than intended, without consent and without public regulation by our government. Encrypt everything and trust no-one in government.

  10. AR

    The Hegemon does what it wants, to whomsoever it wants, when & wherever, for any purpose, or none, it chooses.

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