The Labor government has presided over a vast expansion of the Australian intelligence agencies’ surveillance operations, international and domestic, in close collaboration with the US National Security Agency (NSA) and other intelligence bodies.
Canberra is deeply implicated in the NSA’s PRISM program, involving the illegal interception of data on the servers of major Internet companies, including Apple, Google and Facebook. Following NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s courageous exposure of the scale of illegal US spying operations, the Age reported last Thursday on Australia’s role in the PRISM Internet and other surveillance methods. According to the newspaper, so much American data was forwarded to Australian intelligence officials—described as a “data deluge”—that the government ordered the building of a new facility for the secretive Defence Signals Directorate (DSD), the Australian equivalent of the NSA. The additional infrastructure, still under construction, was needed to process what defence intelligence officials told the Age was “huge volumes” of “immensely valuable” information.