Articles on Spying

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The real issue in the Australia-Indonesia relationship is not what SBY has just done, but rather what incoming president Joko Widodo will do. EPA/Tanaya Pramudita Raras

Spying pact is SBY’s last foreign policy gasp – now for Jokowi

It’s not a good sign when parties cannot even agree on what they have just put their signatures to. On Thursday, Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop and her Indonesian counterpart Marty Natalegawa…
The signing of the code of conduct closes the rift between Australia and Indonesia over spying. AAP/Office of the Foreign Minister

Intelligence code of conduct saves face for SBY with added benefits

Australia and Indonesia have agreed on a code of conduct on intelligence co-operation, with Australia pledging never to use its spy agencies in ways that could harm Indonesia’s interests. Today’s signing…
The US Justice Department says members of the People’s Liberation Army hacked into US businesses to steal trade secrets. Jim Lo Scalzo/AAP

US Chinese military charges a smokescreen for its own spying

In a surprising move, a US District Court has charged five members of the Chinese military with hacking six US companies to obtain commercial secrets over the last eight years. The move has been denounced…
Countries’ anxiety about revealing their intelligence capabilities makes them loath to share the results of surveillance even for life-and-death searches. AAP/NEWZULU/Zaki Zulfadhli

The Ultra Syndrome: did it hamper the search for flight MH370?

Ultra was the Allies’ name for highly classified intelligence information obtained during World War Two by breaking encrypted enemy radio communications. “It was thanks to Ultra that we won the war,” Winston…
The news media and politicians often squabble over whether an issue is the public or national interest, renewing a centuries-old debate. AAP/David Crosling

Right to know: the ‘nation’, the ‘people’ and the Fourth Estate

We might forgive politicians for putting the “national” interest before the “public” interest. But when the news media makes the same mistake, it is time to be worried. The Guardian and the ABC rightly…
Recent revelations of Australia’s intelligence practices have brought oversight issues into sharp focus. What mechanisms are there to hold these agencies to account? AAP/Dan Peled

Intelligence oversight and accountability: who watches the watchers?

The recent revelations of alleged telephone interception of Indonesian politicians, espionage in East Timor and raids in Canberra have raised more questions than they have answered about Australia’s intelligence…
Tony Abbott argues his first duty is to advance the national interest, without telling us why acting in our own interests is always right or even permissible. AAP/Daniel Munoz

The spying game: what a 15th-century Irish warlord can teach today’s politicians

Irish philosopher Richard Kearney visited Melbourne last year and, being the fine raconteur he is, told a great tale from his nation’s past. In 1492, Black James, nephew of the Earl of Ormond, and a group…
Timor Leste claims that a treaty with Australia on regulating the exploitation of petroleum and similar resources in the Timor Sea is now invalid. EPA/Antonio Dasiparu

Explainer: Australia and Timor Leste in The Hague

Several issues of international law arise from Timor Leste’s dispute with Australia over the negotiations of a 2006 treaty regulating the exploitation of petroleum and similar resources in the Timor Sea…
Tony Abbott needs to learn a thing or two about Indonesian culture if he’s to have a successful working relationship with his Indonesian counterpart. EPA/Made Nagi

Saving face: lessons for Abbott on working with Indonesia

There’s a widespread perception in Australia that Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s reaction to Australia’s phone tapping is all about playing domestic politics in Yudhoyono’s home country…
Should Tony Abbott follow Barack Obama’s example and apologise personally to Indonesia leaders over the spying scandal, as Obama did to Angela Merkel? EPA/Andrew Harrer

Spying scandal: Obama, Abbott and why sorry is the hardest word to say

The contrast between Australian prime minister Tony Abbott’s self-defeating response to spying allegations with Indonesia and US president Barack Obama’s reaction to smooth its similar row with Germany…
It is sensible to keep an eye on our friends in order to manage risk. Image from shutterstock.com

I spy, you spy, we all spy – but is it legal?

The specifics of whose phone was tapped and when may be new to Indonesia but the fact that Australia monitored its close friend’s activities will not be a surprise. Governments have been watching each…
The Indonesian president, and his government, have experienced a serious loss of face at a time when they least wanted it. EPA/Abror Rizki

Diplomatic crisis: can the PM mend our relationship with Indonesia?

When The Guardian Australia and the ABC broke the news that Australian intelligence agencies had been monitoring the phones of Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, his wife and leading Cabinet…
For the Australian Signals Directorate – as with all organisations in the spying business – the secret of success is in keeping your success secret. AAP/Lukas Coch

Protecting secrets: inside Australia’s mysterious spy agency

Much like in the movie Casablanca, there is much huffing and shaking of heads about activities of the nation’s electronic spy agency, the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), after allegations emerged…
Indonesia foreign minister Marty Natalegawa has criticised Australia over allegations of spying, but will it actually adversely reflect our relationship? EPA/Bagus Indahono

Spying ‘scandal’: another challenge to the Australia-Indonesia relationship?

For anyone interested in Australia-Indonesia relations, nothing so characterises the phenomenon as a car on a roller-coaster. Any rise is followed inevitably by a fall. The ride is never boring, and in…
Australia has now been caught up in the web of Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks about spying. How might it affect relations with countries in our region? EPA/Ole Spata

Spies like us: Australia, America and the Asia-Pacific

Who would have thought it? Governments, it seems, have been spying on each other. As revelations go, this may be slightly less surprising than the news that the British tabloids are entirely without scruples…
With more internet users going dark, will tech companies follow them? Owen's/Flickr

US tech companies could go ‘dark’ to regain trust

With each new revelation of the scope of the American National Security Agency’s spying, perceptions of the importance of privacy are hardening around the world. Systematic monitoring of the world’s communications…
Australia’s intelligence agencies have allegedly set up listening posts in the Asia-Pacific to ‘spy’ on our nearest neighbours. But isn’t that what spy agencies are meant to do? Takver

Calm down, Australian intelligence forces are just doing their job

Revelations about Australia’s alleged spy network in Asia and listening posts in our embassies across the Pacific might be diplomatically awkward. But it doesn’t mean intelligence agencies have “gone rogue…
Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei is in the spotlight again. jontintinjordan/Flickr

Australia’s biggest ‘China threat’ is not Huawei, but itself

In a move that has drawn criticism from Chinese authorities, the Abbott government is upholding a ban on Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei from tendering for the National Broadband Network, after…

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