Feeds

Snowden's Australian 'revelations' are old news

Details of Oz NSA presence were documented ages ago

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Edward Snowden's leaks have alerted the world to a serious issue: the extent of government spying in societies that supposed themselves to be free. That does not, however, mean that every word he says to Glenn Greenwald is news.

Behind the star-struck reposting of whatever passes from Snowden to Greenwald is a lot of stuff that was already either on the record, or at least strongly suspected.

For example, there's this story in the Sydney Morning Herald, “Snowden reveals Australia's links to US spy web”.

A replay of an article in O Globo, the SMH piece tells us that Snowden has revealed that Pine Gap – more properly called the Joint Defence Facility Pine Gap – Darwin's Shoal Bay Receiving Station, the Defence Satellite Communications Facility at Geraldton, and Canberra's HMAS Harman communications facility.

“The US Australian Joint Defence Facility at Pine Gap near Alice Springs and three Australian Signals Directorate facilities: the Shoal Bay Receiving Station near Darwin, the Australian Defence Satellite Communications Facility at Geraldton and the naval communications station HMAS Harman outside Canberra are among contributors to the NSA's collection program”, the newspaper states.

The problem Vulture South has with this wide-eyedness is simple: in three out of four of the above cases, the co-operation between Australia and the USA was well-known, and the facilities were already named as having an association with the National Security Agency.

Those three facilities are:

  • Pine Gap (discussed in detail by ex-NSA spook David Rosenberg in his 2011 book Inside Pine Gap: the spy who came in from the desert;
  • Shoal Bay and Geraldton, among a group of facilities associated by then DSD director Martin Brady in 1999 as sources of cooperative collection with the NSA in this article reposted from The Age.

Only HMAS Harman wasn't already named in the press as an NSA source facility – and given its nature, it hardly rates as news. As for Pine Gap, the facility's association with signals intelligence has been accepted for decades, not least thanks to the Midnight Oil 1982 song "The Power and the Passion's lyric "Flat chat, Pine Gap, in every home a Big Mac."

Vulture South has followed Snowden's story with interest, but also with growing irritation at what seems to be a stage-managed process: the leaker adds another “revelation”, Glenn Greenwald publishes it without checking whether it represents new information, and a thousand outlets churn the story without troubling Google. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Tor attack nodes RIPPED MASKS off users for 6 MONTHS
Traffic confirmation attack bared users' privates - but to whom?
Multipath TCP speeds up the internet so much that security breaks
Black Hat research says proposed protocol will bork network probes, flummox firewalls
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.