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Australia Taps More Phones Than Entire U.S.

timothy posted more than 12 years ago | from the speak-up-mate dept.

Privacy 277

An anonymous reader writes "Last year Australian authorities tapped more phones all United States authorities combined. Australian phones were tapped at 20 times the rate of phones in the US according to this article in the Sydney Morning herald. The fact was revealed during a debate in the Australian parliament. The government is attempting to pass new legislation to to make it even easier for the country's domestic spy agency ASIO to tap phones." Update: 09/16 14:07 GMT by T : Julian Assange writes "The Australian is also running the story and has better stats." Thanks for the link.

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Big Brother (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4264253)

Ouch. Seems Big Brother is an aussie now.

FIRST ASSFUCK (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4264255)

I spread for you alone.

Claimed for NAMBLA and Jon Katz.

Old (0)

jaymz168 (555580) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264257)

Isn't this old news? Their government was using it to spy on other parties.

Re:Old (1)

frisket (149522) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264267)

Political parties? Well, the US has a precedent :-)

Either they have a lot of reds-under-the-beds paranoiacs, or they're using it in criminal investigations (do they have that many crooks?), or it's become a social necessity for the govmnt.

being tapped (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4264262)

And being one of those Australians who has been tapped - let me tell you it is not nice.

Especially when you are innocent.

Re:being tapped (-1)

Drunken Coward (574991) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264285)

If you are innocent, then you have nothing to hide and should therefore have no reason object to the authorities listening in to your conversations, right?

Unfortunately some people hold that belief that you have no reason to object to government surveillance as long as aren't breaking the law. I, on the other hand, believe that privacy should not be thrown aside in the quest for information.

Re:being tapped (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4264451)

im sure the gestapo wouldve agreed with what you just said

Re:being tapped (1)

Anonymous Conrad (600139) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264306)

And being one of those Australians who has been tapped - let me tell you it is not nice. Especially when you are innocent. How did you find out you were being tapped? Was it just an uncomfortable feeling from knowing you'd been tapped, or have you actually had some of your stuff played back to you, etc.?

Re:being tapped (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4264307)

WHy are you using a socialist OS? Have you attended or visited any terrorist related hacker or 2600 related websites? You are either with us or the terrorists. You have decided your move and you must live with it.

Re:being tapped (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4264319)

If you want to take a look at more serious government abuses, take a look at Sweden.

There is a discussion on www.dumblaws.com->Discussion Forums->Country Laws->Check out Sweden!

http://www.dumblaws.com/forums/vbulletin/forumdi sp lay.php?s=&forumid=11

Re:being tapped (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4264456)

hahahahaha, that's a good laugh. Let me guess, you're a conservative living in a big house with pool and keep complaining how darn high taxes are :)

I think this is the best one:
Sweden has a history of widespread government theft of private property during the late 70's to late 80's

Can you give two examples where the evil government took over a company?

Move to Texas dude

Re:being tapped (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4264384)

A friend of mine was raided by the Federal Police in full gear. They spent over $1 million ($500,000 $US) trying to get this guy..... And they turned up _nothing_ We found out from a contact in the Federal Police that naturally his phone was tapped, as were all his closer friends (this includes me).

It disturbes me that I was watched because of guilt by association with someone who was NOT guilty of anything.

ARE YOU OR HAVE YOU EVER BEEN A TERRORIST, SIR? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4264471)

Oh No (2, Funny)

WzDD (23061) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264266)

Lucky We Live In A Free Country Like America!

See What Happens When Citizens Give Up Their Guns?

This Would Never Happen If Australia Had A First Amendment Like The US!

Just wanted to get those out of the way. Carry on. :-)

Pathetic looser (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4264278)

Pathetic,

you have to be pathetic patriotic to be the first to be rewarded with a non-zero score on slashdot nowadays.

I'm happy not to be a pathetic moron living in a pathetic country...

Re:Oh No (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4264289)

I fail to see how you can stop a wire Tap with a gun ?

Re:Oh No (3, Funny)

rchatterjee (211000) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264298)

not to be too picky about your little rant there but the first amendment is:

Amendment I


Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.


I'm pretty sure Australia has most if not all of that somewhere in their constitution as well. What they don't have is something like our second amendment which is:

Amendment II


A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.


But i'm just one of those types who is picky about which amendment is which.

Does Australia have a constitution? (1)

tgma (584406) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264348)

Not trying to be funny, or anything, but isn't Australia in the same position as the UK, in that it doesn't have a written constitution? Just a network of constitutional laws and acts, and a supporting set of court judgements that delineate the powers of the state. I apologize for my ignorance, but if Australia is in the same position as the UK, then there is a problem with constitional rights, because there is nowhere that these rights are explicitly stated.
For instance, with regard to freedom of speech, the UK government can use something called a D-notice to suppress press reports that it doesn't like, although there has been a lot of controversy about this, and I think that the use of this power is limited by the courts. I don't claim to be a big expert on this.
I live in Russia, and used to work for a multilateral organisation here. We were always happy that our phones were bugged, because then the Russians might actually believe that we meant the advice that we gave them.

Re:Does Australia have a constitution? (3, Informative)

bukharin (344329) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264388)

Yes, Australia has a constitution!

http://www.dpmc.gov.au/docs/constitution.cfm

Australia has a constitution. Now shut up. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4264389)

Not trying to be funny, and you weren't.

You're wrong.

Shut up.

Re:Does Australia have a constitution? (2, Informative)

darkov2 (570389) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264402)

Actually, we do have one. See http://www.chanrobles.com/australia.htm I think what you're reffering to in part is the Common Law, which we have adopted along with many other English conventions.

Re:Does Australia have a constitution? (3, Informative)

pubjames (468013) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264417)

For instance, with regard to freedom of speech, the UK government can use something called a D-notice to suppress press reports that it doesn't like

As I understand it D-notices was/is a somewhat bizarre scheme, a kind of gentleman's agreement between newspaper editors and the Department of Defense whereby the DoD would supply the newspaper editors with privilaged access to certain information if they agreed not to publish it. It wasn't a legal thing as far as I am aware - the editors could (and some did) tell the DoD to stuff their D-notices.

With regards to freedom of speech in the UK it is something that is pretty fundamental. For instance UK journalists and newscasters are really hard questioners and don't give politicians an easy time in the way they do in many countries...

Re:Does Australia have a constitution? (2, Funny)

pommiekiwifruit (570416) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264497)

For instance UK journalists and newscasters are really hard questioners and don't give politicians an easy time in the way they do in many countries...

Let's see, we have:

  • Johnny Vaughan.
  • Richard and Judy.
  • Martin Bashir.

On the other hand we also have

  • Peter Snow
  • Jeremy Paxman
  • Ali G :-)

Hmm, depends who the politicians pick to interview them...

Re:Oh No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4264462)

What!? Is the right to have gun AFTER freedom of speech? Where is the world coming to?

Re:Oh No (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4264400)

you fucking moron the 2nd Amendment protects RKBA, not the 1st I can tell you're a product of gummint edumication

Re:Oh No (0, Troll)

narkotix (576944) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264409)

yeah true...we wouldnt be so thick headed like u yanks and have children killing other children like columbine high moron

protect us (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4264268)

its for our own good. what if somebody wants to commit a crime? huh? what then.

Suspicious ... (3, Insightful)

lushman (251748) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264269)

I think that maybe CIA/FBI statistics are a little less forthcoming than those from ASIO. With all these measures to prevent terrorism, I'd assume that the CIA and FBI combined would be at least 20 times what they were just over a year ago anyway.

In short: I don't believe it.

The USA can keep dreaming that they have privacy, but guys, face it - you don't live in the land of the free any more.

Re:Suspicious ... (3, Insightful)

1nhuman (597328) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264293)

I never got the whole big deal about "The Land of The Free". What's so "free" in the states that isn't in any other western country (Canada, Germany, U.K., Sweden, The Netherlands, France, Denmark, Iceland, Belgium, etc.etc.).

I travel a *lot* and personally I feel more free and more save in Europe then I do in the states, especially in my home country The Netherlands. And that has nothing to do with the 11th. I've felt like this for years.

Oh btw my favorite country in the world is still New Zealand.

Re:Suspicious ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4264297)

Canada and the UK have police surveilance video cameras in public locations. That's just not cool. Dunno about Germany/Sweden/Netherlands.

On the other hand, you're certainly not free from the overbearing state in Sweden.

Re:Suspicious ... (3, Insightful)

pubjames (468013) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264428)

I never got the whole big deal about "The Land of The Free". What's so "free" in the states that isn't in any other western country (Canada, Germany, U.K., Sweden, The Netherlands, France, Denmark, Iceland, Belgium, etc.etc.).

I travel a *lot* and personally I feel more free and more save in Europe then I do in the states, especially in my home country The Netherlands. And that has nothing to do with the 11th. I've felt like this for years.


I agree with you, and I have posted opinions like this to Slashdot before. However, it's best just not to bother posting this type of stuff. You will just get insulted and called communist/ liberal/ socialist/ Eurotrash/ America-hater and whatever. Just don't post this kind of opinion. Lots of Americans just aren't tolerant of it. (Ironic isn't it? For people that go on about freedom of speech so much!)

Re:Suspicious ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4264459)

It is really quite simple, especially if you have seen the film Easy Rider.

Americans like to talk about individual freedoms, yet they freak out if they ever see a free individual.

I think it is tied into puritanism -- and homo-erotic sports like football, and professional wrestling. Men aren't allowed to 'like' other men, but they are allowed to 'like' being grabbed by other men.

It helps keep reality in perspective -- why face the fact that we fund the terrorists we fight when we can pile on top of one another?

Even theo now uses Solaris. Openbsd is dead (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4264300)

Look here [netcraft.com] . Just give up on bsd. It really is dead and the proof is in the pudding.

Re:Even theo now uses Solaris. Openbsd is dead (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4264315)

Look here [netcraft.com]. Just give up on bsd. It really is dead and the proof is in the pudding.

No, he doesn't. He doesn't personally host openbsd.org. This is in the FAQ [openbsd.org] .

If you're going to fucking troll, try and get it right.

Re:Even theo now uses Solaris. Openbsd is dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4264323)

He can't even trust his own OS. What a schmuck.

Re:Suspicious ... (2, Interesting)

k-0s (237787) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264326)

I'm in total agreement with you. Also has anyone thought that with Carnivore and our (remaining) rights here in America that maybe the CIA/FBI/NSA are just having the Aussies tap the American lines for them so as to prevent all those nasty civil rights violations we always hear in the media? Notice in the article it says "The data also reveals that the number of phone taps used *IN* Australia has increased threefold in four years, and ninefold in just over a decade" and "The Australian figures include *INTERCEPTIONS BY* the National Crime Authority, the Australian Federal Police and state policing agencies, but exclude ASIO." Nowhere does it say these are all domestic taps. I read somewhere thats how our government was getting around those pesky rights of ours, in regards (but not limited) to Carnivore, by having foreign governments do the tapping and keeping their hands clean of the matter. Seeing as how we are close allies with the Aussies it's not hard to believe that any information relavent to a case would be turned over to the American government. In the article it mentions how easy it is to get taps in the country so why go to a local judge when a tribunal half way around the world can get it done alot easier. I know this sounds all Men In Black, super spy, conspiracy theorist but I could have sworn I read about the skirting of our rights in regards to Carnivore on Slashdot a while back.

Re:Suspicious ... (1)

hype7 (239530) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264449)

I think that maybe CIA/FBI statistics are a little less forthcoming than those from ASIO. With all these measures to prevent terrorism, I'd assume that the CIA and FBI combined would be at least 20 times what they were just over a year ago anyway.


In short: I don't believe it.

The USA can keep dreaming that they have privacy, but guys, face it - you don't live in the land of the free any more.


And remember, this was last year. The year when the collective "intelligence" agencies in the US took an absolute beating for failing to catch the biggest terrorist act in history. Politicians, press, public... everyone came down on them like a tonne of bricks!

If they weren't tapping last year, let me guarantee you they're gonna be tapping left, right and centre this year.

-- james

Good luck to them... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4264273)

They're welcome to our line. I admire anyone that could stand more than 5 minutes of listening to the crap that my sister speaks about all day long on the phone.

Re:Good luck to them... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4264398)

So what does she talk about?

Re:Good luck to them... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4264465)

She likes to talk about my pipe in her mouth

I submitted this 30 years ago (2, Funny)

HacTar (86396) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264274)

Silly. What did you think seti was for?
To spy ET phone home..

Big deal (5, Informative)

Basje (26968) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264276)

I live in the Netherlands (pop 15 million, about as much as NYC) and the police over here taps more phones than the whole of the US.

It's not as much the phone taps that are in place that worry me. It's the taps that should be there and that are prevented by corrupt officials.

Land of the free. Yeah sure, but only when you've bought your local politician/whatever.

Re:Big deal (1)

bengen (209685) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264295)

I live in the Netherlands (pop 15 million, about as much as NYC) and the police over here taps more phones than the whole of the US.

Same thing here in Germany. I suspect that each European country (well, what about the UK?) taps more phone calls than the US. Probably because we had our terrorism experience 30 years ago.

This makes sense (-1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4264277)

Considering that the population of Australia consists almost entirely of banned convicts from England, it's no wonder that they need the tap that often. Hell, I'm suprised those criminals are even allowed to use a phone.

Re:This makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4264343)

A typical ignorant comment made by a typical ignorant Yank, and seeing as you posted as anon, then it shows your enthusiasm for being known... then so will I.

Re:This makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4264344)

Ah, you must be an American.

Re:This makes sense (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4264360)

Which fuckwit modded this "funny"?

Americans wonder why the rest of the world hates them -- because you're self-righteous ignorant provincial racist pricks, as the above poster demonstrates.

Re:This makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4264366)

fuk you uncle tom nigger, atleast our country isn't built on the backs of slaves

Re:This makes sense (0)

charlemange (600223) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264387)

How did this ever get modded in?

Slashdot is really taking a dive if this is the level of comment considered commendable.

Re:This makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4264391)

LMAO !!! you guys sound like someone just yanked the chain of a hundred dogs all at once. c'mon, get over it. history is past tense, can't be changed, should be lived with or ignored if necessary. peace

Re:This makes sense (1)

narkotix (576944) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264414)

and america consists of gun tooting wankers who think that their right to have a gun (in their constitution) is because the king of england (yes i know we have a queen) MIGHT invade.....hows that for paranoia :-)

Re:This makes sense (1)

Jondor (55589) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264422)

But then again, all the other (religiouse) nuts europe wanted to get rit of went to america.. explains a few things too..;-)

(ok, now, where are my asbest undies...)

Re:This makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4264438)

Haha, what a fucking joke.

To all the morons saying that I'm from America: I'm not. I'm from the Netherlands. What I wrote was a JOKE. Guess what, that was the reason it was modded funny! Some people actually understand humour!

What a bunch of clowns you are.

Aren't Australians All Descended From Criminals? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4264281)

Clearly, wrongdoer blood still flows thick in Aussie veins. Their government is right to keep a close eye on them. I don't trust any of those people myself. New Zealand is a far more civilized place.

Re:Aren't Australians All Descended From Criminals (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4264303)

Triumph the Insult Comic Dog's new line:

Yeah, it's a much more civilized place... for me to fuck sheep in.

Re:Aren't Australians All Descended From Criminals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4264424)

New Zealand has a higher crime rate than Australia.

New zealand's crime rate (1)

pommiekiwifruit (570416) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264509)

This was front page news in Taranaki, New Zealand for days!. Somehow seems less violent than where I live now. NZ front page news [bbc.co.uk]

Big Cobber? (0, Offtopic)

alnapp (321260) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264287)

1984X?

Holy Shnike! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4264290)

Why the fuck was Slashdot so slow for almost all of the last twelve hours?

Did the peer to peer linux worm get used to DOS it? Or was it just another MySQL freakout since we all know that the only reason Slashdot still uses it is because the devs are too stuborn to change to any of the three open-sourced alternatives that are superior to it..?

US Gov too busy (1)

svindler (78075) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264299)

They are probably all too busy tapping us foreigners, so they don't have the time to tap themselves.
Besides, when you've heard one yankee, you've heard them all.

Re:US Gov too busy (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264335)

Yup, you're onto it.

After bugdget cuts, the Oz spies could no longer afford international calls so they spy on their own folk instead.

Echelon... (5, Insightful)

kinko (82040) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264304)

Echelon makes this kind of irrelevant. The 5 countries that are part of Echelon (US, UK, Canada, Australia, and NZ) can basically listen in on ANY phone call/fax/email/IP etc in any of the other countries. There are some computers here in New Zealand that are directly controlled by the US (NSA I think). This means that the NZ govt (and Aust govt etc) can listen to US phone calls. Now part of the reason it is set up like this is that the US authorities can use the NZ bit of the network to listen to US calls. This way it is technically not "domestic spying" as it is occurring over here.

I guess the wiretaps they're talking about here are for court-issued wiretaps for the police, rather than the secret services.

Re:Echelon... (1)

k-0s (237787) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264371)

I knew I wasn't losing my mind when I posted this [slashdot.org] basically when you were also typing your response. Thanks for proving to me (and others by default) that I'm not a loony (or at least the only one)

Re:Echelon... (1)

kinko (82040) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264469)

Google for Nicky Hager [google.co.nz] , an activist over here who made a lot of details public in a book a few years ago.

New business-model? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4264305)

1: Write free software.
2: ?
3: Tap phones.
4: Profit!

What now? (1)

jobbleberry (608883) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264308)

How will I go about conspiring with my terrorist buddies now. It's getting harder to be a sleeper agent in the asia pacific region. Looks we will will have to go back to pidgeons.

Telling quote. (3, Funny)

Camel Racer (134168) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264311)

I found the quote
The spokeswoman said the Australian figures reflected the "increasing sophistication of criminals and their use of new technology".
especially telling.

Guess that explains everything. The crooks, labor organizers, and opposition, have mastered the "sophistication" of the telephone.

so that means (1)

Gabrill (556503) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264317)

the ratio of tapped phones to population must be tremendous. Theres only what? 20,000,000 people in Australia?

Re:so that means (3, Insightful)

danamania (540950) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264440)

It's a far larger amount certainly, but of a fairly small number.

To recap, Australia did 2150 taps in 19million people, the US did 1490 taps on 284 million.

For Australia, that's about one in 10,000 people, compared to about one in 200,000 people for the US

a grrl & her server [danamania.com]

Been there done that. (5, Funny)

Black Copter Control (464012) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264322)

I've been friend and associate of enough interesting activists that ther have been times when I just pre-emptively presumed that my line was being tapped (there was actually one instance where I had some circumstantial evidence that my line really was being tapped.

I know that one friend of mine had her phone line bugged over some activist work she was doing. She saw the transcripts. Her comment on it was "all they got were some really nice recipies".

Not that all that stopped me from saying much: As Ghandi once said:

Let then know exactly what you're going to do, and then hope that they overreact

At one point, my outgoing phone message (on the phone company's voice messaging system) said:

Hi: You've reached the home of Stephen and Regan. Unfortunately, our answering machine is broken, but that's OK -- Our phone line is being tapped. So speak clearly and we'll get the transcripts from our lawyers.
Most people recognized it as a joke, but a couple took it seriously... Regan's mom, particularly left a message worrying about whether or not we were going to get the message, and what kind of roommates did he have that we were getting our line tapped?

It was the best laugh I had for months.

Phonetapping just-in-case, fishing for crimes? (2)

jukal (523582) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264325)

As the article also states that:" However despite the greater reliance on phone taps, it seems Australian authorities have had less success with solving crimes. Figures also show that in 2000-2001 Australian agencies made 1033 arrests and obtained 623 convictions, while US authorities made 3683 arrests with 732 convictions."

So, maybe this means that phone-tapping in Australia has become the default part of crime solving-process at very early stage and that the right to phonetap can be obtained on very vague basis. Atleast here in Finland, AFAIK, it goes so that first they have to show quite strong evidence, and then if the evidence exists they can phonetap to get more evidence. In australia - based on these figures - it seems to be the reverse: phonetap to get initial evidence, then do rest of research.

Re:Phonetapping just-in-case, fishing for crimes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4264351)

Hmm something wrong with your math there eh?

The aussie figures show a 60% conviction rate, where the figures you give for the US rate is around 19%. Seems to me the Aussies are better at getting em in jail.

Re:Phonetapping just-in-case, fishing for crimes? (2)

jukal (523582) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264383)

>Hmm something wrong with your math there eh?

Actually, no. Just something wrong with my copy-pasting. What I was supposed to copy-paste was supposed to include this: "more than 2150 warrants were issued for phone taps in Australia, but only 1490 in the US".

-> which goes down to: 2150 australian warrants -> 1023 arrests
-> 1490 US warrants -> 3683 arrests

Re:Phonetapping just-in-case, fishing for crimes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4264381)

What?

As the other AC said, those numbers say nothing of the sort.

Instead, they suggest that the police in the US arrest people just for the hell of it when there is no real evidence to support them having committed a crime.

Re:Phonetapping just-in-case, fishing for crimes? (3, Informative)

jukal (523582) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264394)

Copypaste from the other branch:

Actually, no. Just something wrong with my copy-pasting. What I was supposed to copy-paste was supposed to include this: "more than 2150 warrants were issued for phone taps in Australia, but only 1490 in the US".

-> which goes down to: 2150 australian warrants -> 1023 arrests
-> 1490 US warrants -> 3683 arrests

PATRIOT! (3, Funny)

DoctorFrog (556179) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264329)

America must claw its way back to the top. We can't have the Aussies showing us up! Support your local PATRIOT Actors...

I seriously would like to see... (1)

elixx (242653) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264429)

a comparison of US wiretapping before and after the passing of the so-called PATRIOT act...

Exactly how much is this power being [ab]used?

As someone who does the tapping, let me say: (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4264337)

Don't be fooled.
We tap all the calls you make.
We don't stop at our own borders either. We listen to everything that we can. Basically in any city in the world where you can buy a can of Coca Cola, we're there and we're listening.

privacy vs conviction rate (5, Insightful)

Jotham (89116) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264339)

  • Figures also show that in 2000-2001 Australian agencies made 1033 arrests and obtained 623 convictions, while US authorities made 3683 arrests with 732 convictions.

Out of 3683 arrests they only made 732 convictions? that's less than 20% compared with Australia's 60% conviction rate.

Either the US is arresting a hell of a lot of innocent people or they need to spend a bit more time collecting evidence before they make their arrests.

but only 1490 in the US (1)

humandj (547981) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264367)

only 1490 warrants issued. maybe, but how many phones are tapped without the warrant in the usa? with all the technology for taps. do we really think it's only 1490? i don't think so...

So... (1, Redundant)

J4 (449) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264374)

I should be happy, because Australia is worse than the US in this regard?
Sorry, that's bullshit.
I suppose I should shut up because because I don't have to deal with the GFoC either?
Fuck it, none of this is important. I should
concentrate on bitching about the RIAA instead.
My bad.

does anyone believe these figures ???? (4, Interesting)

The Famous Druid (89404) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264382)

Does anyone really believe that the entire US spy industry only taps 1490 phones per year???

At current levels of funding, that would work out at about $50 million per phone tap.

Missquote? (5, Insightful)

BoBaBrain (215786) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264386)

Shouldn't it read "Last year Australian authorities admitted to tapping more phones all United States authorities combined"?

Wow (1)

fldvm (466714) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264390)

Some one needs to tell Washington! We are getting behind ... not tapping nearly enough phones.

echelon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4264403)

does that include phone tapping on europeans with echelon?
fucking americans...

don't feel too good about this... (2)

g4dget (579145) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264408)

I kind of doubt US government agencies could give an accurate accounting of how many phones they have tapped if they wanted to, and they probably don't even want to. And "tapped" probably doesn't take into account any kind of monitoring and audio keyword search that isn't aimed at a specific person.

hmm.. i wonder.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4264410)

what happens when people are having phone sex..

guy: oooh baby.. give it to me.. right now

wire tapper: hmm.. this might seem interesting.. they may be exchanging something

girl: oh my god.. i'm coming! i'm coming!

wire tapper: raid his house now! they're up to something..

eh.. a stupid thought, nonetheless, always a possible situation :-)

They must have really low crime rates... (1)

ceeam (39911) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264412)

... if cops have nothing to do except listening to other people's phone talks.

Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4264418)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe Australia hasn't a so high crime rate or shouldn't fear about being attacked by terrorists like other countries. I miss the whole point here. Why a government should take away its citizens privacy and freedom for no apparent reason?

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4264481)

To get reelected.

Just not so (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4264419)

These are phone-taps which have come under the gaze of the law. Most phone taps are done by intelligence agencies, which can and do operate outside of normal legal constraints. Something like Echelon isn't just to pick up Espn.

The Australian is also running the story (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4264420)

We're bugged more than US By Duncan Macfarlane September 16, 2002

POLICE are being given authority to tap telephone conversations at
such an unprecedented rate that Australians are 20 times more likely
to be bugged than Americans. But despite the rate of tapping
increasing ninefold over the past decade, the ability of Australian
authorities to secure convictions as a result of listening to
telephone calls is lower than in the US.

In the past four years alone, the number of phone-tap warrants
approved by the courts and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal has
tripled from 675 to 2157 - one-third more than all state and federal
taps approved in the US.

In contrast to the US, our national security authorities, including
the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation, do not
publish statistics of their bugs.

The extent of the tapping has prompted federal Labor justice
spokesman Daryl Melham to call for a new body to oversee the use
of phone taps by Australian police, possibly based on a model used
in Britain , which has a chief surveillance commissioner.

"There is an urgent need to strengthen the resources available for
external scrutiny of telephone interception activities and other
forms of intrusive surveillance," Mr Melham said.

Labor analysis shows that only seven of the 2164 police applications
for interception warrants were rejected by the courts last year.
Since 1999, when Administrative Appeals Tribunal officers were
first given power to issue warrants, numbers have increased sharply.

AAT officers now issue 94 per cent of all warrants, Family Court
judges 5 per cent, and Supreme Court judges only 1 per cent.

The Australian Council of Civil Liberties said the explosion in
warrants showed that police were forum shopping and targeting
sympathetic judicial officers.

Cameron Murphy, secretary of the council, demanded the federal
Government publish more detailed information to reveal if a handful
of judges and officials were responsible for most of the warrants.

"We think Australians would be aghast if they knew so many people's
phone conversations were being bugged," Mr Murphy said.

Labor also warned that Australian police were achieving far fewer
criminal convictions per phone tap than US authorities.

Between 1996 and 2001, US police made 3.31 arrests and secured 1.55
convictions for each phone tap.

Over the same period Australian agencies made only 0.63 arrests
per phone tap and 0.46 convictions.

A spokesman for Mr Melham said technological advances were part of
the reason for the explosion in tapping.

All telecommunications providers were now required to construct
their facilities so that police could tap phones centrally instead
of climbing telegraph poles.

Phone tapping en masse is wrong (1)

dazdaz (77833) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264423)

I think phone tapping en masse is wrong, and should only be used in the most severe of circumstances. Phone tapping people as hoc, or because their the wrong shade of blue or *may* be doing something that's unethical or perhaps illegal sets a very bad precedent.

So we trust the government through the election process, they should trust us, if trust is taken away from our society, then what's left?

but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4264425)

but how many planes have they had fly into their buldings, killing 1,000s'?

20x US phone taps? (1)

red_flea (589243) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264426)

You wanna know what's even worse? Look at this...

Australia "officially" tapped 2150 phones and has a population of about 20 million, roughly 1 tap per 10k people.

The U.S. "officially" tapped 1490 phones and has a pop. of 280 million... That's about 1 tap per 187k people.

Of course, I'd bet my nest egg that the U.S. does more unofficial taps than Australia, so the real rate is probably something barely less shocking. But fear the day lawmakers point to this and say, "We're not doing enough phone taps!"

But... But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4264427)

But CNN told me that Bush is taking away all my freedoms! Those damn Ozies can't beat us at this. I *demand* that the US tap every phone now!

I'm writing Barbara Boxer to inform her of this crisis.

Oh my gawd -- guess what happened to me... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4264435)

Last night I was lying in bed trying to get to sleep when I thought I heard a strange noise coming from the bathroom.

Knowing that I wouldn't be able to doze off until the mystery was solved, I hauled by sad ass out of bed and stumbled down the hall to the "little room"

At first I thought it must just be tinnitus because the sound was really indistinct and seemed to be coming from multiple directions at once.

After a few minutes walking around the bathroom with my hands cupped to my ears I finally traced the source of the noise to the basin.

Yes, those bastard law-enforcement officials -- they'd phoned my tap!

So does Germany (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#4264443)

So does Germany

releif (3, Funny)

tanveer1979 (530624) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264447)

so ggod in living in a developing country .. our phones dont work half of the time whew ;-)

but hey ... (/. joke coming ...) (2)

cascadingstylesheet (140919) | more than 12 years ago | (#4264506)

... at least the Aussie's have better high-tech wireless phones than the US ...

Thank you, I'll be here all week ... :) remember to tip your waitress ...

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