HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP Privacy International has asked for a formal investigation into whether the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) offered to dump Australian citizens' personal comms data into the lap of the Five Eyes surveillance coalition.
Privacy International has reacted swiftly to a report in the Guardian newspaper that is based on Edward Snowden's whistleblowing revelations.
That report said that in a meeting the ASD offered the data to the five headed snooping hydra, which is made up of the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
A memo produced in the report stated that there was a proposed sharing of "bulk, unselected, unminimised metadata" that would include information about an individual including "medical, legal, religious or restricted business information".
Privacy International has repeatedly tried to shine a light into the Five Eyes. In this latest salvo it said that it has found "clear" signs of shadowy shenanigans. It said that the ASD's offer runs counter to its remit, which is to protect the interests of Australians.
"The offer by ASD to secretly hand over bulk data on Australians to be mined and analysed at will by their intelligence partners is one of the clearest signs yet that the members of the shadowy Five Eyes alliance consider themselves ultimately answerable to no one but themselves," said Carly Nyst, head of International Advocacy at Privacy International.
"By operating in secret, the Australian government has moved from being endowed with defending fundamental rights to seeing them as insignificant. Secret agreements such as these need to be scrutinised in the light of day to ensure they are adequately protecting the rights of Australian citizens. The Inspector General must now open an investigation to establish to what extent ASD has compromised the rights of Australians in favour of serving their Five Eyes masters."
Privacy International requested that the Australian Inspector General carry out a comprehensive investigation immediately, and quickly. µ