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Aussie Telco Telstra Agreed To Spy For America

Soulskill posted about 9 months ago | from the can't-even-trust-giant-soulless-corporations-anymore dept.

Australia 125

An anonymous reader writes "Australian telecommunications giant Telstra has for a decade been storing huge volumes of electronic communications carried between Asia and America for surveillance by U.S. intelligence agencies. This includes not just the metadata, but the actual content of emails, online messages and phone calls. With the blessing of the Australian government Telstra agreed to route data through a 'U.S. point of contact through a secure storage facility on U.S. soil that was staffed exclusively by U.S. citizens.' The contract was prompted by Telstra's decision to expand its business in Asia by taking control of hundreds of kilometers of undersea telecommunications cables. The deal started under the Liberal Party and continued under Labor. The Greens have demanded an explanation."

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125 comments

I'm not an expert (5, Insightful)

lesincompetent (2836253) | about 9 months ago | (#44260127)

I don't know but... isn't THAT some kind of treason or betrayal of your fellow countrymen or something?

Re:I'm not an expert (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44260147)

If Australia doesn't harshly punish the people responsible, you will know they're one of the boys.

Re:I'm not an expert (4, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | about 9 months ago | (#44260165)

Well, this was reportedly done "with the blessing of the Australian government", so the odds of the Australian government punishing Telestra (or themselves) seem low.

Re:I'm not an expert (4, Insightful)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 9 months ago | (#44260613)

... the odds of the Australian government punishing Telestra (or themselves) seem low.

Your absolutely right. It's down to the populace to hold their government accountable. Vote them out of power, and make sure the next party you elect puts protections in place to ensure this never happens again.

Re:I'm not an expert (5, Insightful)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | about 9 months ago | (#44260773)

Unfortunately the two dominant parties are all on-board with this shit. Unless there is a mass migration to third parties (Like Greens, Wikileaks party, Pirate Party...) that form a coalition bigger than Labor/Liberal together, then the two main parties will just continue to do as they have been the last few years - voting in police state expansion of ASIO powers, giving Tesltra the all clear to send private sensitive Aussie data to foreign corporations, etc. Admitedly Aussies have more chance of handing power to third parties than the does US - but it is a reeeally long shot when Rupert Murdoch controls 70%+ of the countries media (and by extension, their hearts and minds).

Re:I'm not an expert (2)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 9 months ago | (#44261211)

We thought the same in the UK until we had the current Coalition government. Yes it's not ideal to have a major and minor party (Conservative and Liberal, respectively) but at least it's one step closer to actually representing the will of the majority instead of the most popular of the choices available.

I keep saying that we need a proportional representation system, but the detractors always say that the right wing will get a place of power. Well, that's part of the public opinion. There's also the significant majority who aren't aligned that way, so we still end up with sane minds getting things done. The only difference is that 35% can't rule the other 65% just because the former got the largest single proportion of the votes. That just boggles my mind.

Re:I'm not an expert (1)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | about 9 months ago | (#44261349)

but the detractors always say that the right wing will get a place of power. Well, that's part of the public opinion. There's also the significant majority who aren't aligned that way, so we still end up with sane minds getting things done.

As various South American countries bucking the world trend and posting rising living standards are pointing out from their 80s experience: Unfortunately public opinion usually always just happens to go with whatever goal mass media sets. Unfortunately for Australia that means Rupert Murdoch's goal. Throw in the fact that there are no laws that prevent marketing information as "news", but then when the information they delivered is actually challenged in court, the media class can get off any charges by claiming that news is actually entertainment after all and they have no obligation to tell the truth - then yeah, public opinion is a fickle thing. Witness the mass campaign to change the word "WhistleBlower" to "Spy" re:Snowden, as one small example of changing public opinion, one "news" broadcast at a time.

Re:I'm not an expert (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | about 9 months ago | (#44261861)

I keep saying that we need a proportional representation system, but the detractors always say that the right wing will get a place of power.

Thats kinda the point isn't it though? The detractors complain that the likes of the BNP will get some representation in government, but IMHO if (say) 1% of the population vote for the BNP then that 1% should get 1% of the say in how the country is run, even if the other 99% find that distasteful. Completely eliminating the opinions of a small proportion of the population because you find them distasteful does not democracy make.

The AV vote would've started us off in the right direction, but that was sunk by the "no to AV" campaign being allowed to lie in their publicity literature with no consequences.

Re:I'm not an expert (2)

c0lo (1497653) | about 9 months ago | (#44265809)

Unfortunately the two dominant parties are all on-board with this shit.

Vote Wikileaks Australian Party [wikileaksparty.org.au] or the Greens. I'd rather have a hang-up Parliament again than be spied on for the benefit of US spooks.

Re:I'm not an expert (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44260889)

No, voting them out of office is not enough. Treasonous politicians need to be punished, not sent off with a comfortable pension. I'm thinking jail time, banning them from ever holding a public office again and cutting their pension down to a minimum wage level.

Senator Julian Assange, help us! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44266591)

In the coming elections in Australia, to be held later this year, Wikileaks is fielding candidates for a senate seat in three states at least (WA, NSW and Vic).

Since privacy is starting to llok like one of the biggest issue of this century, and in line with the well know Australian rebelious attitude, I think Wikileaks is starting to look really like a good prospect. They may even garner the balance of power and that would keep the bastards honest!

Adding to the attractiveness is the parlous state of the main parties.

I wish Wikileaks luck. They are getting my vote, for sure. I have had enough of the shenanigans of both the Labour and Liberal party.

Go senator Assange.

Re:I'm not an expert (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 9 months ago | (#44260187)

If Australia doesn't harshly punish the people responsible, you will know they're one of the boys.

but they are one of the boys(or bitches), a military ally.. nobody told the greens though.

however it could explain their shitty ping.

Re:I'm not an expert (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44260183)

From wikipedia:

Section 80.1 of the Criminal Code, contained in the schedule of the Australian Criminal Code Act 1995,[3] defines treason as follows:
"A person commits an offence, called treason, if the person:
(a) causes the death of the Sovereign, the heir apparent of the Sovereign, the consort of the Sovereign, the Governor-General or the Prime Minister; or
(b) causes harm to the Sovereign, the Governor-General or the Prime Minister resulting in the death of the Sovereign, the Governor-General or the Prime Minister; or
(c) causes harm to the Sovereign, the Governor-General or the Prime Minister, or imprisons or restrains the Sovereign, the Governor-General or the Prime Minister; or
(d) levies war, or does any act preparatory to levying war, against the Commonwealth; or
(e) engages in conduct that assists by any means whatever, with intent to assist, an enemy:
(i) at war with the Commonwealth, whether or not the existence of a state of war has been declared; and
(ii) specified by Proclamation made for the purpose of this paragraph to be an enemy at war with the Commonwealth; or
(f) engages in conduct that assists by any means whatever, with intent to assist:
(i) another country; or
(ii) an organisation;
that is engaged in armed hostilities against the Australian Defence Force; or
(g) instigates a person who is not an Australian citizen to make an armed invasion of the Commonwealth or a Territory of the Commonwealth; or
(h) forms an intention to do any act referred to in a preceding paragraph and manifests that intention by an overt act."

Re:I'm not an expert (1)

andy_t_roo (912592) | about 9 months ago | (#44266533)

My reading of that list (i'm also NAL) is that: Unless we can demonstrate harm to the Sovereign, GG, or PM, or wish to declare America "an Enemy" via a declaration of war (or other outbreak of hostilities), there can be no treason through any interaction with the US.

Correct, you are not an expert. (1)

drainbramage (588291) | about 9 months ago | (#44260251)

And for some (t)reason you missed the point, accidentally?
The synopsis says Telstra stored data about coms between "Asia and America", not Australia.
Perhaps you missed the statement "With the blessing of the Australian government".

Re:Correct, you are not an expert. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44260331)

WHOOOOOOOSH!

Re:Correct, you are not an expert. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44260387)

Although legally 'treason' refers to undermining the sovereign/government, it has broader usage and refers to a breach of faith. It seems clear that Telstra's actions were disloyal to its clients (the majority of which will have traffic traversing these cables). And since Telstra at the time was majority owned by the government, it was a breach of faith by an elected government. This might not have legal implications for the governments concerned, but it does have electoral implications, since we like to think we are voting for people who will represent us.

Re:I'm not an expert (-1, Troll)

nickmh (2496180) | about 9 months ago | (#44260313)

Treason? It'd be fair guess. But the greens demanding an explanation? If they were in power we'd all be living, surrounded by the sound of green jack boots, with the internet so slow it'd be rendered useless from their surveillance and censoring. That's if they cold keep the country solvent enough to be able to have the internet. Gimme a break!

Re:I'm not an expert (4, Informative)

jonwil (467024) | about 9 months ago | (#44260891)

The greens have a stated policy of opposing internet filtering and censorship and supporting net neutrality.

Re:I'm not an expert (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44261541)

Did Obama not say something similar before he got in?

Re:I'm not an expert (0)

crystal_rose (2612765) | about 9 months ago | (#44262047)

Is this the same greens which are currently in bed with the Labour party? They are the government. That they don't appear to have any clue of what they themselves, or their Labour parners are doing, doesn't inspire a great deal of confidence.

Re:I'm not an expert (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44262157)

The greens have a stated policy of opposing internet filtering and censorship and supporting net neutrality.

So did the Obama administration. See where that got us?

Re:I'm not an expert (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44260933)

f they were in power we'd all be living, surrounded by the sound of green jack boots, with the internet so slow it'd be rendered useless from their surveillance and censoring.

This comes across as pretty insane, you know.

Re:I'm not an expert (0)

nickmh (2496180) | about 9 months ago | (#44260329)

And we've got a government funded fibre network going in. Wont that be a surveillance hoot? LOL VPN's are lookin' so good!

Re:I'm not an expert (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44260455)

And just where is your VPN provider going to get secure transit to each individual endpoint?

Re:I'm not an expert (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about 9 months ago | (#44260485)

For helping the US spy on international calls between the "US and Asia?" Maybe it's illegal but I wouldn't think that was treasonous. Probably not even illegal given that their government said it was okay.

Re:I'm not an expert (4, Insightful)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 9 months ago | (#44260715)

Not really. It's common knowledge that the Australian Government has an even more intimate relationship with the United States Government than Monica Lewinski.

Re:I'm not an expert (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44264807)

the 1990s called.. they want their joke back. PLEASE give it to them.

Re:I'm not an expert (1)

sociocapitalist (2471722) | about 9 months ago | (#44260855)

I don't know but... isn't THAT some kind of treason or betrayal of your fellow countrymen or something?

It's only treason if it's against the government.

It's probably safe to assume that there is some bilateral agreement in place between Australia and the US for information sharing (cooperative spying on the civilian populations of both countries).

Legislation is needed to close the loophole apparently being used by many governments that while they are not allowed to spy on their own citizens, allied powers are not stopped from doing so.

Re:I'm not an expert (4, Informative)

wmac1 (2478314) | about 9 months ago | (#44260899)

It is officially an act of spying on your own country. I don't have enough stomach to read the news these days.

Benedict Bruce (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44261237)

Telstra's spokesman's excuse was they had to agree to the monitoring to get the work, but that is no excuse to sell out your customers or fellow citizens without telling them. And a pox on the government for selling out its citizens to a foreign power.

Re:I'm not an expert (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44261513)

I don't know but... isn't THAT some kind of treason or betrayal of your fellow countrymen or something?

+5 Insightful for asking a question that is quickly answered on Google. Biased moderation much?

Section 80.1 of the Criminal Code, contained in the schedule of the Australian Criminal Code Act 1995,[3] defines treason as follows:
        "A person commits an offence, called treason, if the person:
                (a) causes the death of the Sovereign, the heir apparent of the Sovereign, the consort of the Sovereign, the Governor-General or the Prime Minister; or
                (b) causes harm to the Sovereign, the Governor-General or the Prime Minister resulting in the death of the Sovereign, the Governor-General or the Prime Minister; or
                (c) causes harm to the Sovereign, the Governor-General or the Prime Minister, or imprisons or restrains the Sovereign, the Governor-General or the Prime Minister; or
                (d) levies war, or does any act preparatory to levying war, against the Commonwealth; or
                (e) engages in conduct that assists by any means whatever, with intent to assist, an enemy:
                        (i) at war with the Commonwealth, whether or not the existence of a state of war has been declared; and
                      (ii) specified by Proclamation made for the purpose of this paragraph to be an enemy at war with the Commonwealth; or
                (f) engages in conduct that assists by any means whatever, with intent to assist:
                        (i) another country; or
                        (ii) an organisation;
                that is engaged in armed hostilities against the Australian Defence Force; or
                (g) instigates a person who is not an Australian citizen to make an armed invasion of the Commonwealth or a Territory of the Commonwealth; or
                (h) forms an intention to do any act referred to in a preceding paragraph and manifests that intention by an overt act."

So the answer is "No".
And if you clowns think the US it the only country getting such deals and data, you're either hopelessly naive or willfully ignorant.

Treason (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44260141)

Hang 'em high.

This is why Subs can cut fiber cables (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44260273)

They can also sniff those in between cable amplifiers, optical is no problem

Re:This is why Subs can cut fiber cables (4, Interesting)

stewsters (1406737) | about 9 months ago | (#44260675)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/mar/28/egypt-undersea-cable-arrests [guardian.co.uk]

"Egyptian naval forces have arrested three scuba divers who they say were trying to cut an undersea cable off the port of Alexandria that provides one-third of all internet capacity between Europe and Egypt.
However the navy who captured the men had no explanation of who they were working for, where they came from or why they would want to disrupt Egypt's internet communications."

I'm guessing they were planning on adding a bit of hardware in the line but messed up.

The Great Vacuum of America (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44260321)

China has the Great Firewall, which tries to block it's citizens from seeing things from the rest of the world that the government doesn't want. The US is the opposite. It has a Great Vacuum of America that has been slurping up every speck of communication going across its borders, and apparently a lot further than that. It's one thing to collect and share intelligence and analysis between allies. It's quite another to give another country wholesale access to the entire data stream.

I suppose it's not surprising that the US would have agreements with allies to expand these sorts of systems globally, but you'd think that some countries would say "No" to it. Or if they did say "perhaps", that they would insist that a public discussion occur first, because ostensibly it is for a valid purpose (monitoring for criminal and/or terrorist activities). Maybe people would okay with that if given the chance to consider it and if it had a lot of oversight and eventual transparency (e.g., summary of approved activities 5 or 10 years later or something). Of course, there's the problem that the principle of wholesale monitoring of all communications like this is often unconstitutional in the relevant countries, and the fact that such a system could be open to flagrant abuse. But implementing it in secret? That sours just about any public consideration of what the balance should be. What were these people thinking? That it could stay secret forever? Or that people would go along with it after the fact?

Re:The Great Vacuum of America (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44260969)

Vacuum? Yes, that's one side. But also the great flood! Which is the other side. You know, like the NSA got those two sides.

The citizens of the US are flooded with terrorizing information (which they mostly call "TV" but would better be called "terrorism").

Talking heads by the truckload. Sometimes even literally. Until it's impossible for a human being with eyes and ears to think anything else. And yes, that includes this very site and all people one generally comes in contact with. Parrots everywhere.

Re:The Great Vacuum of America (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44261877)

You know you can shut off the TV and stop watching the news, too.

Re: The Great Vacuum of America (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44262953)

"Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." - Benjamin Franklin.

Do me a favour. Print this out, and give it to your local rep. They may learn something.

Btw, the war on terror is complete and utter bullshit.

Worse? (3, Informative)

coofercat (719737) | about 9 months ago | (#44260359)

For Australians, I'd imagine this news to be worse than Edward Snowden reporting that the NSA blanket-monitors the US. I mean, monitoring is one thing, but actively sending full content to another nation seems like another entirely.

That said, I think we know what will actually happen about all of this, even with whatever public outrage it incites.

Re:Worse? (0)

amiga3D (567632) | about 9 months ago | (#44260459)

The article states "between Asia and America" so how would this bother Australians worse? Australia isn't Asia or America so Australian citizens aren't involved unless they are on vacation.

Re:Worse? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44260529)

How do you think our Australian traffic gets to Europe you goose?

Re:Worse? (5, Informative)

Cenan (1892902) | about 9 months ago | (#44260691)

The Guardian disagrees with you. [guardian.co.uk]

The agreement, first reported by Crikey who obtained the documents, gave the US government permission to store "domestic communications" – with the possibility of using them for spying – using the underwater cables owned by Reach.

Domestic communications were defined in the agreement as communications within the US but could also extend to communications which "originate or terminate" in America, meaning Australian communications with America could have potentially been subject to the agreement.

The Slashdot summary is, as is usual, fails to highlight the really interesting part (not that two consecutive governments approved this isn't interesting)

Telstra also agreed to report to the US government every three months on whether any foreign non-government entities had asked for access to their communications, and complete a compliance report every year which could not be accessed using freedom of information laws.

Oh really? How is that global fight for freedom going for you guys?

The points of contact were to be American citizens and the agreement also stopped Telstra and Reach, which is based in Hong Kong, from complying with any country's laws that certain data should be destroyed.

51% sure, or how was that?

Re:Worse? (2)

Dodgy G33za (1669772) | about 9 months ago | (#44261067)

Apart from anything else I want to know why a company in which I own a shitload of shares is keeping information from me. These "compliance activities" cost money and may breach Australian law. And now they may well be damaging the brand.

Sell. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44262569)

More than anyone else, YOU (as a stockholder) can realistically vote with your wallet. Do so.

Re:Worse? (2)

AHuxley (892839) | about 9 months ago | (#44261005)

If your looking for some of the Australia links in map form try:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australia-Japan_Cable [wikipedia.org] (Telstra, BT, Verizon Business, Softbank)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SEA-ME-WE_3_(cable_system) [wikipedia.org] ~Jakarta, Indonesia to Perth, Australia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/REACH_Global_Services [wikipedia.org]
http://www.pccwglobal.com/images/stories/brochures/Inf_map_lk_201203.pdf [pccwglobal.com]
Basically this is a huge peering network that allows the US gov to keep an eye on all data of a network wrt to Asia/Australia networks.
The text of the agreement linked from http://www.crikey.com.au/2013/07/12/telstras-deal-with-the-devil-fbi-access-to-its-undersea-cables/ [crikey.com.au] seems to point to "any customers" vs a simple "lawful interception" to a foreign country (US).
Be fun to see some Australians legal standing respond to this:
Will they try superior orders? ASIO/AG dept made me do it?
Would an Australian of ordinary sense and understanding know it to be an invasion of privacy?

In Soviet Earth (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44260397)

Everyone Spies for Murica (or we will FREE the shit out of your government....even faster if you have oil)

Re:In Soviet Earth (2)

HangingChad (677530) | about 9 months ago | (#44261833)

or we will FREE the shit out of your government

I love the smell of laser guided democracy in the morning!

Smells like...victory.

Re:In Soviet Earth (1)

ArcadeX (866171) | about 9 months ago | (#44262165)

Smells like...victory.

I thought it smelled like our embasy's grease trap, i.e. McDonalds...

Re:In Soviet Earth (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44262271)

Everyone Spies for Murica (or we will FREE the shit out of your government....even faster if you have oil)

Use of term "Murica" detected, auto-moderation to Insightful activated!

helping us (5, Funny)

beefoot (2250164) | about 9 months ago | (#44260491)

NSA is building a huge database to help us to help ourselves. With the data that they have, they can easily tell me what I want for lunch today or tomorrow. Or better yet, do my job for me. I can relax at the beach all day long watching bikini babes.

Re:helping us (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44262987)

Finally, a better Siri! I'm fine with all this now.

Hook me up NSA (3, Insightful)

buck-yar (164658) | about 9 months ago | (#44260563)

I'd like to spy on some people, give me access damnit!

How long before the current administration uses this against their political foes, if they haven't been already? They send the IRS after political opponents, why would the NSA be any different?

Re:Hook me up NSA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44261081)

How long before the 4th branch of government (security apparatus) gets the goods on the other 3 branches and controls them?

Re:Hook me up NSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44262011)

How do you know that they are not already in control? Given the fact that all the presidents elected in the last 50 years have had the same policies, irrespective of their party affiliations and campaign statements, there's enough reason to suspect that.

Re:Hook me up NSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44262675)

How do you know all this illegal surveillance is not being used for discrimination, sabotage and subversion already?

Vague (1)

Brulath (2765381) | about 9 months ago | (#44260661)

The article is pretty vague, only stating that communications routed through undersea cables that carry information to the United States of America must pass through a US government-owned facility; Telstra itself isn't doing anything, it's all occurring on the other end of the cable on US soil. I'm a little surprised that the US government is trying to vet all communications entering their country, but I don't see what Telstra has to do with it other than owning a link to the US (and I'm not a fan of Telstra). Seems like a red herring.

You are not in control of the security of your unencrypted data once it leaves your country (or, more accurately, your home), as anyone on the route it takes could copy it.

smell the glove (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 9 months ago | (#44260705)

Geez, Australia really is our bitch, ain't it?

You folks down there must be really proud.

Re:smell the glove (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44260795)

You say that as if "we" had any input on (or even knowledge of) what was going on. Logically, if "we" are completely oblivious as to what's happening, then "we" aren't the people making it happen.

Re:smell the glove (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44261465)

You voted your gov in. Guess what, in a democracy you are party to this.

Re:smell the glove (1)

mu51c10rd (187182) | about 9 months ago | (#44261819)

By that logic...we Americans voted for NSA's PRISM program. I don't think the average Australia knew they were voting for this...

Re:smell the glove (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44261899)

You've tried to argue against my logic by merely repeating the age-old boilerplate mantra that comes out of every government? That won't cut it. If you want to disprove logic, you're going to have to answer with logic.

Let's try again. If an individual is completely oblivious to some deliberate, calcuated undertaking, then logically, that individual cannot be the cause or promoter of that undertaking. Your move.

Re:smell the glove (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44264327)

"All that is necessary for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing."

"Ignorance is no excuse."

What's worse, in Australia you don't even have the excuse that you don't vote, since voting is compulsory. Because you're required to vote, it is your duty to inform yourself as to the character of the people you're voting for. Shirking that duty is willful negligence, so yes, just as much a cause or promoter of that evil as someone who was knowingly complicit in it.

Re:smell the glove (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44262703)

I'd like to mention at this point that voting is compulsory in Australia.

It's worth mentioning that the Labor party (the party which is in control at present) is equivalent to the America's version of the Democrats, yet is supposed to be more left wing.

It is the same party which tried to run an internet regulation bill (similar to SOPA) and has also allowed access for US law enforcement agencies such as the US DHS jurisdiction within Australia (which makes stuff all sense). They have raised taxes, increased unemployment, reduced support for families and middle income earners, and to top it all off they gave themselves a pay rise in the process.

If we vote for the right wingers we expect it to be far worse. So I ask you democracy eh? where? You think we can vote independent or the Greens? Let me put this in perspective for you, our present Labor party DIDN'T win enough votes to form Govt. so what they did was *persuade the independents and the Greens to jump on their side to form a minority Govt. In short, they made Govt. by dangling carrots in the faces of their opposition to entice them to take control away from the right wing Nationals and Liberal parties (the coalition).

In effect what we have is a very week Labor party which has changed leaders 2 x within the past 6 years from Kevin Rudd to Julia Gillard back to Kevin Rudd again. I won't even begin to mention how pissed off we as Australian's are knowing that we had absolutely no say in who was to run the country at one point and we were told as citizens we do not dictate the leader of a specific party but only the party itself (sort of like the whole country forgot to read the fine print on a mortgage application or the latest Windows EULA before agreeing to it).

No, Australian politics is a joke at this point. We are going the ways of the USA very quickly by plunging international debt quicker then you can blink while at the same time gaining a AAA credit rating. Having the RBA (our version of the fed) circumvented by international credit providers killing our real estate values and formal lending processes allowing us to not see the bottom of what could quite really be a future economical disaster (sound familiar?)

* There is another word that can be used here starts with b ends with e

Re: smell the glove (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44263145)

Don't complain. You remember the 20bn surplus we had? Both parties elected to give it away so we could all buy a Chinese made TV to save the economy? At the time, everyone but me supported it. Saved Aus from the GFC and terrorism. Was I wrong or what???

Re:smell the glove (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44260941)

Oi mate....wanka!

Re:smell the glove (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44265937)

Oi mate....wanka!

And... you use US gloves for this?

Re:smell the glove (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 9 months ago | (#44261069)

Last time we quietly grumbled but still complied some American idiots playing James Bond decided they'd try to remove the Australian leader who grumbled. It was entirely pointless since he was politically doomed anyway, and it backfired when two US agents used it as an excuse to sell secrets to the USSR (the movie "The Falcon and the Snowman" is based on what came out in court when the agents went to trial).

Meet Kettle. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44261119)

You say that as if we (Americans) are not our own government's bitches. Hello, Pot.

Re:smell the glove (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44261783)

If Canada is America's hat, and Mexico the beard, Australia is like that old pair of swimming trunks you know you will never wear again (the elastic is loose and they are almost see0through from all the chlorine at the local pool) but you keep in the closet regardless... It's just sentimental.

Re:smell the glove (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44262111)

Geez, Australia really is our bitch, ain't it?

All your base are belong to us.

Telstra = scum (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44260745)

This is no surprise. Telstra has always been led by a bunch of money hungry, sellout scumbags that have no idea about innovation. I for one would be pleased to wake tomorrow knowing that Telstra was gone forever.

I wish I could blacklist Telstra (1)

jonwil (467024) | about 9 months ago | (#44260751)

But unfortunately I need to buy home phone line rental from Telstra in order to get ADSL2+ from TPG (for various reasons TPG home phone or Naked isn't an option)
Bring on the NBN I say (although that said, I have no doubt that no matter who is in government and no matter which ISP you are choosing for your NBN service, no-one is going to say no to the US spooks)

The Greens? (2)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 9 months ago | (#44260767)

The Greens demand an explanation do they? Do they sleep through their political careers or something? It's basically common knowledge that Australia has bent over backwards for our American allies whenever the opportunities arose. We gladly and blindly followed the USA into a war about nothing, and certainly nothing that benefited Australia.

What's a bit of wire fraud in the grand scheme of things?

Re:The Greens? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44260865)

Uhhh, election coming up... Greens want to take seats from *both* parties... Probably so they can negotiate with the US to send the US navy to stop whaling or some similar goal. It's easy to figure out Green's policies. They are always orthagonal to common sense.

Re:The Greens? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44261075)

Tell me, does sanity ever take a stop over in your life, or is insanity your only companion?

Re:The Greens? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44262779)

Who are the real beneficiaries from these sorts of "deals", how much are they raking in, and is lying and manipulation part of the "deal"?
Who are the sponsors of this?

Explanation? (5, Insightful)

msobkow (48369) | about 9 months ago | (#44260847)

The explanation is simple. The US considers themselves the world's police men, the world's legal system, and the world's judge, jury, and executioner. They do not and will not stop at anything, including breaking their own laws, to achieve domination.

Their society has degraded from one of freedom to a classic, textbook case of the nationalistic fervour, corporatism, and militarism of the fascists of yore. But as soon as you say "fascist", you're dismissed as "exagerating", despite the fact that modern US society displays all the traits of fascism right down to the surveillance and police state mentality.

You can see the nationalistic fervour in the way that US society has calmly ignored the whole whistle blowing over the surveillance led by the US government around the world. As far as US citizens seem to be concerned, their government can do no wrong.

Re:Explanation? (2)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 9 months ago | (#44260955)

the media, in the US, are puppets. they know who their daddy is and they won't cross him. or expose him for the wrong-doer that he is.

people in the US are mostly kept in the dark. we don't get news, we get entertainment that calls itself news. anything that could bite the hand won't be reported.

and so, americans are kept dumb and out-of-the-loop. then again, half of us who know about all this nastiness and spying STILL want to deny it or defend the gov for 'keeping us safe'.

I don't think there's anything unique about america, in this. any country's people would act the same way.

the core issue is about power and corruption and human nature. its impossible to resist this kind of power.

I'm not excusing it; but I'm just trying to explain why things are the way they are, now. the government essentially controls the media (indirectly). control the media and you are well on your way to controlling the populations' thoughts.

Re:Explanation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44261155)

As far as US citizens seem to be concerned, their government can do no wrong.

Two questions:
How big is the rock you live under, and how do you get internet access there?

Re:Explanation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44261615)

man this comment is soooo right on the money...great job poster.

Re:Explanation? (3, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 9 months ago | (#44262023)

Everybody knows what's best for you. And they'll make sure you know it, too.

The USA just happens to be in power right now due in part to the wealth of natural resources and in part due to a series of shrewd decisions, like selling aluminum and fuel (among other interesting things) to the Axis before joining the Allies at just the right moment to really maximize their profit, as well as hiring (and spiriting) away the most successful scientists from the Third Reich. Right now, we have the money and the oil and the power. I presume that this is why we are so against progress; if things move ahead, we may well lose our advantages and simply be one nation among many.

Re: Explanation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44263299)

Also, the US leveraged trillions (no exaggeration) out of Germany and the UK after the war (read about the IP deal struck with the UK).
But ... If you think China would be as good or better when they take power, you're delusional. There is no other potential world power (beyond the US) that gives a rats ass about the west.
FYI, I agree the US has become a fascist police state.

Hegemony or survival (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44262557)

Chomsky's book was titles "Hegemony or Survival". Note the emphasis on or.

Re:Explanation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44262939)

I agreed with most of what you said up to this point:

As far as US citizens seem to be concerned, their government can do no wrong.

I guess I can say all Europeans are lazy, hairy, unproductive, and do not take enough showers. That comment is on par with yours.

We do Joint work together with the Aussies (1)

nhat11 (1608159) | about 9 months ago | (#44260871)

We share bases, For example this base: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pine_Gap [wikipedia.org]

This isn't really surprising that they work together to do this.

Re:We do Joint work together with the Aussies (1)

Dodgy G33za (1669772) | about 9 months ago | (#44261103)

But "we" don't work together. We bend over and take it up the arse. The US military has a permanent presence in very many countries in the world, including most it calls allies. I call that occupation. Boots on the ground and the velvet glove of do-as-we-say or we will isolate you economically. Tyranny by any other name.

Re:We do Joint work together with the Aussies (1)

nhat11 (1608159) | about 9 months ago | (#44262909)

Occupation and colonization doesn't work and shown to fail most of the time in the past.

Hey Dodgy G33za, I have no issues with you. If I have something to work with you in business or something, I'm not going to force you to do it.

ugh... collectivism (1)

odigity (266563) | about 9 months ago | (#44260921)

So tired of nationalistic collectivism.

Let's be clear: The a telco in Australia agreed to spy for the *government* of America. They certainly didn't do it for me. I never asked, and I doubt I ever will.

And SO?? (1)

Stan92057 (737634) | about 9 months ago | (#44261923)

And SO?? I mean who cares? you sheep think its ok for advertisers to spy on our every move because we get something in return. That is where the problem started. Allowing our government to make laws that allow the police to put up check stops to check for drunk drivers but also get anyone else who falls in the very large net. Its the US citizens fault for not taking more of a role by at least voting the bastards out. But as long as we get something in return well its ok to spy . Well you got what you wanted be happy

Re:And SO?? (1)

Mike Frett (2811077) | about 9 months ago | (#44262265)

I hate to agree with you but, I agree. People are getting exactly what they deserve because not enough of them care. And this is just the first step before other things happen. The Government can get away with anything these days because people have stopped caring about what all those Soldiers died fighting for and all that blood and Ink spilled. And for what do they give up what so many fought for? Their Internet and Video Games. What a pathetic crop of Human Beings, how I loathe thee.

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - B. Franklin

There's a bigger question (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 9 months ago | (#44262519)

It's 2013 - why is Slashdot's icon for anything Australia-related still Crocodile Dundee's hat?

Re: There's a bigger question (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44263349)

Because its better than a picture of a lap-dog on Obama's lap ;)

this is not a dead end? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44264749)

never been to australia, but i had to open up google earth and look at the globe and i think "most"
phibers go from taiwan or japan to "north" west cost america.
for a time i was really hoping they (aussies and kiwis) would get some own phiber that didn't go thru singapore and up to direction of china or west to direction middle east, but alas it never happened.
if the internet where a ally, the aussies and kiwis are really stuck all the way at the dead-end ... uhm .. end of the ally, you know where all the detrious keeps accumulating : P (sorry, if i find a money making job i will go visit your fine islands)

Bad for business (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44265243)

What do all Telstra's Asian customers think of Telstra selling them out? Asian countries will now be more guarded in their business deals with Australia. People worry about using Chinese products because of backdoors. Same must be said of Australia. It's one thing to be the 51st state but betraying your customers takes Australia's shitty reputation for poor customer service to a new level.
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