back to article Oz government knew about PRISM BEFORE Snowden leaks

In a hardly-surprising revelation, it's emerged that Australian government security agencies knew about PRISM before Edward Snowden went public with his leaks about the surveillance system. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation had requested access to a protected briefing to the Attorney General that was prepared in March. …


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  1. Big-nosed Pengie
    Big Brother

    So nice of our American friends to tell us about it.

  2. Someone Else Silver badge

    Friends take care of friends

    Now all you Aussie punters out there need to ask yourselves: What was the quid pro quo the Gov't of Oz gave to the Americans in return for advance info on PRISM (et al)?

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Friends take care of friends

      Maybe the deal they have with the UK, Singapore and the States is older than reported;

      Oz is in a good position to tap a lot of info. They probably got a free version of Prism to play with.

    2. Robert Brockway

      Re: Friends take care of friends

      "Five Eyes". UK, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand reportedly share intelligence to an extent beyond any other states, now or in the past.

      1. Robert Brockway

        Re: Friends take care of friends

        These five industrialised nations that (mostly) speak English and have a common cultural origin are conveniently placed around the world allowing them to watch each other's backs very nicely.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Friends take care of friends

      Come on, get a life.

      Most of us in the industry knew about Prism-related activities as well as which vendors built the specialized kit for the 3-letter agencies by 2007. It was a public secret by that time. The fact that spooks did not contract the vendors doing the work to build it using golden handcuffs on personnel implementing and supporting it did not help either. It leaked all over the place. The personnel left the companies in question to go to pastures new and spoke about it in pubs and bars. Sometimes on the other side of the globe.

      If the aussies did not know it by 2007 and did not brief their government they should all be summarily fired for not doing their job. They just did their job in this instance.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Friends take care of friends

      > Now all you Aussie punters out there need to ask yourselves: What was the quid pro quo the Gov't of Oz gave to the Americans in return for advance info on PRISM (et al)?

      Pine Gap and Omega "submarine tracking stations", paid in advance.

  3. James 47

    Come on, no government, 'Western' or not, desires anyone to have any privacy

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why redact references to media reports?

    The media report references are probably redacted because the contents reference actual activities that are considered secret. That means the redactions tend to confirm the contents of the articles!

    1. david 12 Bronze badge

      Re: Why redact references to media reports?

      Some elements of the report -- like the talking points prepared for use in Question Time -- are redacted because they are exempt, not for security reasons.

      A part of the reason why sections that have only political content are exempt is because there is no competing public-interest reason to make them public.

      They redact sections that have no content anyone would care about except for narrow political reasons. It's part of the trade off of FOI.

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  6. Levente Szileszky

    Sorry but it seems every subsequent Australian governments were always...

    ...lapdogs of the US, let's just state the obvious. I did search for it but cannot seem to find any case in recent history where they have replied with anything other than "Of course we can, when do you need it? How about right now?" to a US request...

    ...and what's worse that Oz seems to be also pretty much the only country in the developed world that so frighteningly openly abandons its citizens if they don't line up politically, it's an absolute disgrace how they behave. Think of what you want about the man (I'm certainly ambivalent about his actions) but this disgusting, rotten Australian official behavior/policy should have become absolutely obvious by now to anyone who follows the Assange-story ie when that lowlife turtle ForMin and his ugly, cruel scumbag boss (Gillard) practically openly stated they will not help the man, regardless of his citizenship, even after their AG threatened him with treason (sic!), revoking his passport etc and all turned out to be false and baseless.

    Ironically I cannot imagine the US similarly abandoning its citizens abroad, so openly especially if they are in such a mess and dire need for diplomatic and legal help - as long as they didn't break some major US laws, of course (eg acts like helping the enemy of the US etc, in which case they will be tried for treason, correctly.)

    PS: to his credit Kevin Rudd defended Assange once, by stating the obvious ie that Manning leaked the documents and it's the error of the US security services.)

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So ... UKUSA agreement cracking?

    (and yes, Australia was/is part of that)

    1. Yes Me Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: So ... UKUSA agreement cracking?

      Nah. Canada, Australia and NZ have been part of it since 1942 or thereabouts, even though it wasn't actually signed until 1946. No cracks worth mentioning, I don't think.

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  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    A Nation of Post-Criminals rather than a Nation of Pre-Criminals like us here in the UK.

  11. Jerry

    Everyone knew about it already - Binney

    In December 2012, Russia Today talked to William Binney, whistleblower and former NSA crypto-mathematician who served in the agency for decades.

  12. ukgnome Silver badge

    Oh my golly gosh

    I've just learned that bears defecate in the woods


    The the pope, leader of the catholic church is himself a catholic.

    Soon you will be telling me that Julian Assange is weird

  13. Barrie Shepherd

    "Documents obtained by the ABC also reveal that the Attorney-General at the time, Mark Dreyfus, was advised that the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) does not have backdoor access to the National Broadband Network."

    "I see pigs flying overhead - no wait - they don't need backdoor access if the NSA and China already have it.

    Ground the pigs!

  14. Marketing Hack Silver badge

    Next they will be telling us that Crocodile Dundee isn't a real person!!

    Or maybe he just doubles as the Easter Bunny in Australia.

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