[LINK] Fwd: MEDIA: ASIO bugs 3000 calls a year

Jan Whitaker jwhit at janwhitaker.com
Wed Jun 10 14:02:22 EST 2009


ASIO bugs 3000 calls a year

Natalie O'Brien | May 29, 2009

AUSTRALIAN authorities, including the spy agency ASIO, are bugging 
the telephones of Australian citizens at a rate of more than 20 times 
their US counterparts.
Figures cited in a federal parliamentary estimates hearing this week 
revealed that about 3000 Australians had their phone calls 
intercepted every year.

Greens senator Scott Ludlam told the committee there was something 
"rather peculiar happening in Australia".

"We are per capita vastly more likely to have a telephone intercept 
than a citizen of the US," he said. Senator Ludlam said that on a per 
capita basis, Australians were 23 times more likely to have their 
phones bugged than Americans. He told the Legal and Constitutional 
Affairs committee that a comparison of data showed that 2929 warrants 
were issued in Australia in a 12-month period but in the US there 
were only 1800 during the same time.

Senator Ludlam was asking questions of new ASIO chief David Irvine, 
who took over at the agency six weeks ago, including how many of the 
phone taps were performed by ASIO.

Mr Irvine, formerly the head of the Australian Secret Intelligence 
Service, said he "most certainly would not answer".

He did admit, however, that he was surprised by the figures.

The Attorney-General's Department first assistant secretary of 
national security, law and policy division, Geoff McDonald, said data 
from the two countries could not be compared because there was 
substantial undereporting in the US. [JW: how does he know that? How 
does he know there isn't underreporting in Australia? Absurd.]

ASIO is one of a number of agencies, including the Australian Crime 
Commission, the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity, 
the Federal Police and state and territory police and intelligence 
agencies, that can apply for telephone intercept warrants.

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
jwhit at janwhitaker.com
blog: http://janwhitaker.com/jansblog/
business: http://www.janwhitaker.com

Our truest response to the irrationality of the world is to paint or 
sing or write, for only in such response do we find truth.
~Madeline L'Engle, writer

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