It says quite a bit about the shallowness of debate around national security and surveillance in Australia that one of the most alarming extensions of intelligence-gathering powers in recent history has been dropped into public discussion with barely a ripple in the media.

As Crikey noted yesterday, one of the alarming aspects of the proposals to extend the powers of the Australian Signals Directorate to domestic activities is the idea that companies could invite ASD to maintain an active presence within their IT systems in order to protect them against cybersecurity intrusions of the kind plaguing Australian governments, businesses and institutions.