Telstra sells Australia out to US intelligence

Following revelations that in 2001 telecommunications giant Telstra signed a deal to give the FBI and US Department of Justice surveillance access to monitor submarine cables linking Australia to the United States, Pirate Party Australia demands greater protections of privacy and data sovereignty for our nations’ citizens.

According to the documents released, call data, subscriber information and IP addresses are collected for all voice and data traffic traversing the US[1].

“If what the media is saying is true, why is an Australian company colluding with the United States Government to spy on Internet traffic of Australians citizens? This is entirely unacceptable and must stop immediately,” said Brendan Molloy, Lead Candidate for the Senate in NSW.

“The Government must answer why they have been complicit in the spying on of Australian citizens, as this began when Telstra was still partially Government owned.”

Recently there has been a plethora of scandals relating to the overreach of United States’ surveillance programs which have targeted not just citizens of the United States’ but also of its allies[2]. This is the last in an ever growing parade of covert privacy intrusions, blanket surveillance and breaches of confidence.

Telstra is no stranger to breaching the confidence of its customers, and incidentally breaching basic human rights[3] and Australian law[4], by retaining and giving the United States control over their data. in June last year Telstra secretly transmitted parts of its subscribers’ Internet history for processing in the US, potentially making those records subject to foreign, highly intrusive laws such as the PATRIOT Act without their knowledge. The previous activity was done for commercial reasons[5].

Pirate Party Australia is committed to the protection of privacy and the increased transparency of surveillance schemes. The Party has criticised blanket surveillance schemes as unnecessary impingements on personal privacy.