Recently, Australia has come under fire for allegedly using their links with Asia to spy on other countries. The Australian government has been accused of using its foreign embassies located in various neighbouring countries to gather information during its diplomatic missions.
Intelligence expert Des Ball has stated that Australia do have a long standing agreement to feed information to the National Security Agency (NSA) in the US. The US government has already been at the heart of a series of investigations, with the NSA being accused to tapping into millions of phone lines including German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s own mobile phone.
Leaked documents have pointed to Australia being a focal point in gathering this information in Asia. Having embassies in Jakarta, Bangkok and Beijing, they are important vantage points to collect signals. The Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa has described the situation as “not only a breach of security, but also a serious breach of diplomatic norms and ethics.”
As far back as 1999, Australia has been accused of becoming a nanny state which oversees everything its citizens does. The then Prime Minister John Howard controversially acknowledged Australia’s role as a ‘deputy sheriff’ to the US in Asia. These revelations may provide further evidence that foreign embassies may be tapping our phones and communications data already without our knowledge. This has brought into disrepute the current longstanding relationship of not only the US but Australian government and its people.