Australian Spies Want to Be Hackers

Share it on Twitter  
Share it on Facebook  
Share it on Linked in  

According to News Limited, the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO), Australia's spy agency, is seeking authorization to hack into the computers of suspected terrorists.

"The ASIO Act now bans spies from doing anything that 'adds, deletes or alters data or interferes with, interrupts or obstructs the lawful use of the target computer by other persons,'" writes News Limited's Natasha Bita. "But ASIO wants the ban lifted, so Attorney-General Nicola Roxon can issue a warrant for spies to secretly intercept third-party computers to disrupt their target."

In a statement given to News Limited, a spokesman for the Attorney-General's Department said, "The purpose of this power is to allow ASIO to access the computer of suspected terrorists and other security interests. [It would be used] in extremely limited circumstances and only when explicity approved by the Attorney-General through a warrant. Importantly, the warrant would not authorize ASIO to obtain intelligence material from the third party computer."

"The plans are opposed by civil rights organisations and data protection officials," The H Security reports. "The Electronic Frontiers Australia organization has criticised the government for copying the techniques used by cyber-criminals. The Privacy Commissioner for the State of Victoria has complained that the plan is 'extraordinarily broad' and intrudes deep into the basic rights of the third parties involved. He describes the proposed powers as 'characteristic of a police state.'"