The Australian Government should immediately disclose whether or not it has access to private information on Australian citizens using the PRISM program used by US intelligence agencies to access the servers of nine major US tech companies including Apple, Google and Facebook.
The revelations are contained in a presentation leaked by an NSA whistleblower to the Washington Post, which notes that ‘much of the world's communications flow through the US' and goes on to list a menu of content that the US intelligence community can access via the PRISM program.
"A number of the tech companies are denying that they've ever heard of PRISM or that US intelligence agencies have installed ‘backdoors' in their servers," Senator Scott Ludlam, Australian Greens communications spokesperson said today.
"Australians use these services to the point of ubiquity. Does the Australian Government believe it is appropriate that the US intelligence agencies appear to be engaged in warrantless realtime surveillance of the entire online population? Does the Australian intelligence community have access to this material? And is this the reason the Attorney Generals Department have been so insistent that Australian ISPs institute a two-year data retention regime?
"This is a major example of the important role whistleblowers play, and it is unfolding with the trial of whistleblower Bradley Manning under way in the United States, and just one day before the anniversary of the publication of George Orwell's 1984. It wasn't intended to be an instruction manual," Senator Ludlam concluded.
Senator Ludlam intends to submit Questions to the Attorney General's department later today and has sought input and additions from Australian internet users alarmed by developments in the United States.