Australia's Telstra Also Aided U.S. Spying Efforts
Handed Over E-mails, Data, Phone Calls to U.S. Spooks
On the heels of revelations that Brazilian telcos appear to have helped the NSA tap into all communications, everywhere
, new information suggests that Australian incumbent telco Telstra has also been helping the United States government hoover up consumer data. According to The Canberra Times
, Telstra agreed more than a decade ago to store huge volumes of electronic communications it carried between Asia and America for U.S. intelligence agencies to sift through:
Under the previously secret agreement, the telco was required to route all communications involving a US point of contact through a secure storage facility on US soil that was staffed exclusively by US citizens carrying a top-level security clearance. The data Telstra stored for the US government includes the actual content of emails, online messages and phone calls. The US Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation also demanded that Telstra "provide technical or other assistance to facilitate ... electronic surveillance."
Like most recent revelations this shouldn't be surprising to anybody who has been paying attention. Back when total U.S. global surveillance was still considered fringe hysteria reserved for the worst conspiracy theorists, most security folk knew about Echelon
, a program (of which Australia is a member) started in the forties with the express goal of tapping into all undersea cables, satellites and transit networks.