It might seem oddly self-serving that the head of Australia’s intelligence watchdog wants to assure Australians that we’re not all being spied upon as much as we think, but that was the message from Dr Vivienne Thom, the overseer of Australia’s intelligence community. According to the good Dr, Australians aren’t being spied upon nearly as much as American citizens are.
In a speech to the Law Society of NSW last week, reported by Fairfax, Dr Vivienne Thom
And she would know, too. Dr Thom is the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security: the agency that oversees the activities of other intelligence agencies to make sure they aren’t overstepping their remit in Australia.
In her address, Dr Thom said that Australians are paranoid about surveillance, but said that we shouldn’t be concerned that our phone and internet histories are being vacuumed up and analysed in Canberra.
She said that what little data is collected stays with telcos and ISPs, and that said data can only be accessed by spy agencies with the proper warrant and reasonable cause.
Having said that, she wouldn’t be drawn on whether Aussies should be scared about falling under the magnifying glass of US surveillance. [Fairfax]
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