back to article Snowden's Australian 'revelations' are old news

Edward Snowden's leaks have alerted the world to a serious issue: the extent of government spying in societies that supposed themselves to be free. That does not, however, mean that every word he says to Glenn Greenwald is news. Behind the star-struck reposting of whatever passes from Snowden to Greenwald is a lot of stuff that …

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The NZ stuff though

That reflects on the Kim Dotcom shenanigans.

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Black Helicopters

Re: The NZ stuff though

Hardly. Don't you remember when Nicky Hager broke into Waihopai with a film crew from TV3 and filmed the Operations Room with the former Cryptonym ENVOY being displayed across the screens? That was like more than 17 years ago IIRC.

Instead of mindlessly parroting everything a low-level contract analyst who failed at everything he did says, perhaps the Grun ought to do some research of their own.

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Re: The NZ stuff though

That was like more than 17 years ago IIRC.

Can't have been much later or they would have left in a body bag, right?

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Unhappy

Re: The NZ stuff though

This reflects on the article the other day that popular opinion has turned against Snowden: This is how it is done. Little articles all over the place pointing out negative or neutral things and written in the passive-aggressive voice. I'm disappointed that El Reg is participating in this.

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Re: The NZ stuff though

"This reflects on the article the other day that popular opinion has turned against Snowden: This is how it is done. Little articles all over the place pointing out negative or neutral things and written in the passive-aggressive voice. I'm disappointed that El Reg is participating in this."

In other words, if an article points out that the new news has gray hair, it is a hatchet job. If it praises his bravery in violating his NDA and telling all, high and low, what every intelligence agency throughout the world already long knew, it is fair and balanced reporting.

News flash: EVERY INTELLIGENCE AGENCY IN THE WORLD ALREADY KNEW AND REPORTED TO THEIR NATION'S LEADERSHIP WHEN YOU WERE IN DIAPERS.

Update: Snowden had a sworn NDA that he signed and swore to. Just as any other person with a security clearance has done. He violated that trust. In the stupidest way imaginable, without every permitting the existing system to address any things that may be considered deficiencies.

Rather than sent an e-mail to a sympathetic senator or representative (I personally call the lot of them spenditmore and reprehensible, but that is me, your mileage may very by very little, but there are one or two decent ones. Something amazing for them being political bastards from hell.) with the links to the files, even files themselves, all sent via JWICS, which is were most TS and SCI is stored and where he did copy these documents from. A call to the official's office alerting them to some juicy information that isn't available to them normally, as they're not on that august committee and watch all the fur fly.

Nope, he bypassed every part of his nation's checks and balances to blather on to the press.

Again, everybody knew everything he's blathered on about except those who couldn't be trusted to tie their own shoelaces, let alone something important and protected, such as my listed telephone number.

He's worse than Manning, who blathered on about nothing much, save helicopter footage of reporters running up to men with AK-47's and an RPG after said men were shooting at soldiers. At least Manning couldn't cope, was a sad sack and had some personal problems that he let control him. This joker has no excuse other than he was a sack of shit when I met him a few years back, he's composted since, but is unfit for use as fertilizer. Too much stupidium present in the remnants.

Yes, I met him. He was a contractor sent by the NSA to clean up part of the 2008 cyber attack against the US DoD, I had recently retired from the military and was also contracting as an installation IA. My installation had a zero infection rate. His installation he cleaned up was back to square one within a month.

The first incident cost one billion dollars, the second cost was classified. My installation was notable for remaining uninfected.

The only real difference in our approaches is, I started with Apple, Boy, Cat, only eventually ending with Zebra.

His approach was remediate the malware, ignore the problems that permitted it to spread in spite of the fact that it would take only one day to guarantee that and he moved on, like a virus. He also had a problem with thinking he was superior to everyone around him.

Until I started naming off various entry points that aren't well documented and explained how to kill certain nasty malware infections by surgery on the Windows registry.

Then, rather than learn and share knowledge, he simply clammed up and wanted to go away.

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Very old news. Try 1946.

See: United Kingdom – United States of America Agreement.

Carry on, all.

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Re: Very old news. Try 1946.

Erm, as I recall, that agreement happened to be a ratified treaty.

Ratified treaties are treated as the law of the land, save for Constitutional supremacy issues in the US. Is it different in the UK? Can a ratified treaty make the Queen a Commoner?

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Thumb Up

It's better to die on your feet than live on your knees ...

Top marks for mentioning The Oils. Only a pity the passion didn't survive the realities of power.

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Anonymous Coward

What is the problem Richard?

It seems to be news to many and not everyone is an avid follower of Midnight Oil or could interpret the lyrics as firm evidence.

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Anonymous Coward

The fact that a lot of young people seem not to know about it is a reflection of the fact that we have grown used to it, and it is therefore no longer controversial. Anyone who is not young, has not moved here recently, and also doesn't know about it must have studiously avoided all news media for quite a few years.

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Midnight Oil hardly the only source

Des Ball wrote a very fine book on Pine Gap in 1988. It had huge press coverage at the time. The book was pretty much a summary for the public, so most of its facts were already known, not the least through the Democrats tabling leaked papers in the Senate.

The Labor Party was pretty much down on Pine Gap after the interference of the CIA in Australian domestic politics in 1974/5. One of the surprises of the Hawke government was that it didn't close the base in response when it came to power in 1983. Rather it negotiated a treaty spelling out exactly the management and function of the facility. Needless to say, this upset the Oilz.

So yeah, not news.

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All old news

Edward Snowden's leaks have alerted the world to a serious issue: the extent of government spying in societies that supposed themselves to be free.

Is this really a serious issue? Aren't almost all of Edward Snowden's leaks just old news?

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Coat

Re: All old news

Can one have old news? Wouldn't they just be "olds" ?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: All old news

I hope that when Ed Snowden "disappears", that you can fill his shoes and share all the top secret US government intel that you have been privy to in your capacity as a CIA/NSA contractor. Surely you have more credible evidence than mere postings on cryptome, wikipedia, and internet forums... No? Shame.

And I perused the archives of The Register and couldn't find anything about PRISM, Boundless informant, FAIRVIEW, or most other *REAL* top secret NSA program prior to Snowden's leak, except for the little bit about the Australian leak. I must've all missed these earth-shattering revelations from the tinfoil hatters and rumor mongers.

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Big Brother

Re: All old news

Is this really a serious issue?

This question better not be asked from the INSIDE of the cattle truck.

MOO!

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Boffin

Re: All old news

The names of the programs to my mind are irrelevant. Is it news that the intelligence organisations of the US and UK monitor communications traffic? I have always assumed that was the case and communicated accordingly.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: All old news

"...I've always assumed that this was the case and communicated accordingly..."

So you haven't been communicating freely? You haven't been able to articulate your thoughts to your family/friends without fear of them being used against you in the future?

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Childcatcher

Re: All old news

I suppose you can have old news in much the same way Windows 2000 was based on Windows NT technology or you can have a jumbo shrimp. Redundant? Check. Self-contradictory? Check. Oldsworthy? Check.

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Re: All old news

No I have communicated freely to friends and family without worrying about my thoughts being used against me ... and do you know what surprising as t may seem they never have been.

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Re: All old news

"Is this really a serious issue? Aren't almost all of Edward Snowden's leaks just old news?"

Actually, for anyone, in any nation that has a security clearance, it is ancient news.

Bleeding North Korea found it ancient news!

Grow a brain for a change, people.

Governments are only bitching because we did what is our usual and regrettable habit, permitted an annoying secret get out to the public throughout the globe.

Even funnier news, governments throughout the world proclaim their hatred of spies, but employ tons of their owns and loves turned agents and double agents.

The crux is, spies tend to keep everyone honest.

Not a biggie for the average citizen, but remember, governments aren't run by average citizens, they're run by politicians. Creatures of lies by, if not genetics, significant habituation bordering upon sociopathy.

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Alien

Vulture South has followed Snowden's story with interest, but also with growing irritation

Yes.

Now about those El Reg news that are basically AP copy of the scurrilous shit of two days ago with added flowery language...

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Old news is not necessarily bad news

"Hey, you remember a few months back that guy mentioned that the government were spying on us?"

"Yes?"

"They've just republished the story again. Yawn."

"Well, did anything change as a result of it?"

<goes off to check> "Hey, nothing changed! They were hoping it would all just be forgotten - and we forgot!"

****

Sometimes old news repeated can serve as a reminder just make sure changes are actually happening.

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Anonymous Coward

What?

"but also with growing irritation at what seems to be a stage-managed process"

Yup, that's the part of this story that keeps me awake at night too.

Grow up.

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Big Brother

Pine Gap a US spy base??

Wow... I didnt know that Pine Gap was a US spy base... at least I havent known since the 70s that it was a spy base...

Who am I kidding. Most Australians of my generation, who grew up in the 70s, have known for decades that Pine Gap was a US spy base. So this 'scoop revelation' is nothing. All this sensationalist exposure in Australia is old news.

Nothing to see here... next scandal please.

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Unhappy

What's Going On?!?

So you've turned against Snowdon for confirming information from other sources?

Or is it because your not the ones release this news?

Shame on you! Bad El Reg!!

The guys revelations are the only thing getting him money to live on and preventing his "disappearance".

Once the lime light is gone so will he.

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Re: What's Going On?!?

and isn't leaking information supposed to be, you know, like leaking and not a flood.

parasites in power will do anything and everything when it comes to damage control (using media lapdogs, etc)

-discredit the source (using all the usual social taboos, rape, cporn, etc)

-spread misinformation, plant false information, etc

-spread fud

-disappear the source ("accident", "suicide", "robbery gone wrong", "foreign" intelligence victim, etc)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What's Going On?!?

So you've turned against Snowdon for confirming information from other sources?

Or is it because your not the ones release this news?

Oh yawn, here we go again. All that El Reg very accurately noted was that the information that is so sensationally talked up in the media is actually, well, not news (or "olds", as Phil O'Sophical called them - loved that). As a consequence, the whole charade surrounding these "revelations" is just that: a charade.

There is nothing to stop you to continue your hero worship, but for reasons of accuracy it may be worth rephrasing that a part of what Snowden is doing is not "revealing", it's more "reminding", and the trickle, trickle, trickle dripfeed to stay in the news is getting almost as tiring as hearing anything from Assange.

I don't think it's a bad thing that reminders happen, but it gets tiring to find echos of the Sun's style of reporting on places where they should know better.

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Re: What's Going On?!?

"Oh yawn, here we go again. All that El Reg very accurately noted was that the information that is so sensationally talked up in the media is actually, well, not news (or "olds", as Phil O'Sophical called them - loved that). As a consequence, the whole charade surrounding these "revelations" is just that: a charade."

Next week, the global press will present New News on some Adam guy and his wife, Eve or some other ancient shit.

The true reality of it is, every government throughout the world knew of this already. If not by their own espionage sources, via networking with better funded governments espionage sources.

The only real griping is done out of the incompetency of the US in keeping well known secrets secret from average citizens.

Want a hint, people? When embassies recall their ambassador, they're really angry. If they CLOSE their embassy, they're pissed. Anything other, move on, there is a kid with a strained ankle that is really more interesting a block away.

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Just like A$$ange

Snowden is a media seeker.

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Re: Just like A$$ange

"Snowden is a media seeker."

Kiddo, this aged US veteran that happens to have had an interesting clearance finds your comment noteworthy for one reason.

It called to my mind the Smurfs melody, but with the words, "Doy, doy the doy doy doy, doy the doy doy doy."

Yes, I am calling you a first seater on the short bus.

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Anonymous Coward

Regardless of whether or not this is old news, I for one am glad it has been brought back in to the public arena. People really need to sit down and think about the implications of this level of surveillance.

I've taken steps to protect my privacy. Not because I have done anything illegal or wrong, but because I value my privacy and am, quite frankly, outraged that this scale of blanket surveillance has been applied to the so called "free world". I don't want to think twice before formulating and articulating an opinion. In a private exchange of emails to my family/friends, I don't want to hide what I'm really thinking for fear that the State may use it against me at some point in the future.

Old news or not, it has certainly been a wake up call for me. I now find myself using OpenPGP quite often now.

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Anonymous Coward

PGP/GPG is no help, as is most secure email

Old news or not, it has certainly been a wake up call for me. I now find myself using OpenPGP quite often now.

You may want to start with the first revelations then. PGP/GPG and other crypto only protects message contents, but the NSA efforts were about the meta data that you don't protect: who you are communicating with and when (actually, even the topic remains cleartext). If said other party ends up answering a Nigerian 409 and something happens, the fact that you were communicating securely with that party may actually cause you be drawn into the subsequent investigation. Other example: a journalist discovering a VIP having secure communication with an STD clinic is probably not actually going to *need* the content.

We've been working on privacy protection for years, and that was issue no 2 we addressed (issue 1 is the legal framework: it's pointless to encrypt anything if any official can wander in from the street and give you the choice between providing data or facing jail). Secure email gives you little protection. Secure email from a US based company, well, you can work that out for yourself.

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Re: PGP/GPG is no help, as is most secure email

"You may want to start with the first revelations then. "

I'll continue to content myself with transmitting messages between my wife and trusted associates with encrypted e-mails.

My metadata isn't highly meaningful, the scope defies the usual analysis, due to the scope of my interests.

I only do that to keep the NSA having fun reviewing my rather ancient file. One that isn't a "bad" file, only annoying as a sort of peer in the overall organization.

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Did you read the article Richard?

Did you read the article Richard? Or maybe it was changed after you did.

The article reveals new facts, it does not just talk about old physical sites and the existence of ESCHELON.

Sure, some people might have dreamed that these specific programs were "known" 10 years ago, but many of them are less than 2 years old.

The old stuff, that may well have mostly been targeted spying, and maybe spying on 5% of general internet messaging.

1. It sucks in all data, no matter what it is, and which rights are violated by it. ...

2. Right now, the system is capable of saving three days' worth of traffic, but that will be optimised. Three days may perhaps not sound like a lot, but it's not just about connection metadata.

3. 'Full take' means that the system saves everything. If you send a data packet and if makes its way through the UK, we will get it. If you download anything, and the server is in the UK, then we get it."

4. Another US NSA whistle-blower William Binney also recently disclosed that Australia was involved in the trial of an earlier US-designed Internet traffic interception and analysis program codenamed "ThinThread".

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Anonymous Coward

This is not a "reminder" or "old news". Those who think so do not realize the scale at which this blanket surveillance is now being conducted. Back then (17 years ago), we didn't have the data storage and data mining technologies we have today, nor ubiquitous Internet/email/mobiles with GPS etc.

Also note the spy stations set up in Australia have absolutely nothing to do with harvesting Internet communications.

And to those who think that Snowden hasn't made a difference, listen to this:

https://soundcloud.com/madiha-1/students-question-the-nsa-at

Some people have actually woken up and are able of critical thinking (even if such opinions they form are not aligned with the current ruling powers that be).

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"This is not a "reminder" or "old news". Those who think so do not realize the scale at which this blanket surveillance is now being conducted. Back then (17 years ago), we didn't have the data storage and data mining technologies we have today, nor ubiquitous Internet/email/mobiles with GPS etc."

I cut my military career along those very lines. Much of that was either shooting unpleasant people or putting a knife into unfortunate places on such people.

That "new news" concept is ancient news to governments and those with clearances.

Indeed, after retiring, I contracted as first, an NA, then a SA, then IA. I literally got to review my morale phone calls home transcripts to my wife.

We'll suffice it to say, it would well and truly prove that I am "a dirty old man" to the reader.

Direct, personal experience with me would only confirm that.

But then, that same experience 32 years ago would still prove the same, save for the old part. ;)

It only takes me all night to do what I used to do all night now.

Ancient news, as such ancient news is well known news to global governments, it's no news today and worse yet, insanely well documented ancient news from decades ago.

What is next? The USSR is placing missiles in Cuba?

And yes, I'm old enough to have lived through that mess.

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Sure, a lot of these NSA disclosures are being stretched out...

And there probably is kind of a "drip feed" mentality at work. However, a lot of this is also journalism at work. It takes time to write a story based on what a source says, and to try to confirm using other sources and to get some background materials. So a lot of these follow-on stories are just news organizations being thorough before they post something.

And yes, everyone knew about Echeleon 20 years ago, and they knew that Australia was involved through key facilities there. However, the Snowden data shows how this work has warped into monitoring populations worldwide at a relatively detailed level.

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Hey, idiots ...

It's splelled "Echelon". People in the trade refer to it as "five eyes".

HTH, HAND ...

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Happy

Re: Hey, idiots ...

Jake - Spelled is errm spelled spelled .... actually I thought people in the trade have never heard of it.....

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Re: Hey, idiots ...

It was 1946 ... long past its sell-by date. Some folks are long retired & can talk.

Splelling misteaks are mandatory when commentarding on splelling misteaks.

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What about the other slides showing that Australia is one of the most surveilled nations on earth (by our own allies!!)?

http://jaraparilla.blogspot.com.au/2013/07/nsa-surveillance-of-australia-exposed.html

Why are we being monitored as heavily (or more) than the Russians and Chinese? Because they can!

Glenn Greenwald is doing a brilliant job.

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