Feeds

NSA leaker Thomas Drake says Oz security reforms are 'scary'

Australians urged to oppose NatSec laws before they silence whistleblowers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Thomas Drake and Jesselyn Radack

Thomas Drake and Jesselyn Radack

National Security Agency whistleblower Thomas Drake says Australia's looming national security reforms makes him 'shudder', labelling them ambiguous and a plot to stamp out legitimate public-interest whistleblowing.

Drake, who Edward Snowden said was his inspiration for leaking the NSA spy documents, blew the lid in 2006 on the NSA's massively inefficient Trailblazer Project while at the agency that wasted billions of US dollars in spy operations post 9/11.

He along with NSA colleagues had built ThinThread what he said was a much more efficient intelligence program that cost a fraction of the Trailblazer Project and had more checks and balances in place to prevent wholesale collection of private data.

Youtube Video

Podcast: Listen to Drake's talk at the Ruxmon security event last week.

"A secret is what the Government says is a secret, and what is a special intelligence operation," Drake told a small gathering of security and privacy pundits in Melbourne on Friday.

"I think it is really designed to deal with people like myself and others who would dare to bring to light those activities that are behind the shield of national security.

"It will send an extraordinarily stark message; 'even if you see something bad, just shut up'."

George Brandis

George Brandis

The Australian security reforms, spearheaded by Federal Attorney General George Brandis, would criminalise journalists and activists who would help whistleblowers leak information to the public.

The laws would introduce enhanced abilities for clandestine targeted malware implantation to combat whistleblowing terrorism and impose strict penalties for those who leak sensitive state information.

Drake said the laws will criminalise attempts to reveal corruption and invasions of privacy and urged Australia's press to rally against the laws to prevent them from coming into effect.

Drake was prosecuted under the Espionage Act in 2010 for leaking information to The Baltimore Sun, but the case collapsed and he plead guilty only to inappropriate computer access.

He criticised the NSA's zealous internet data-hoovering and said the agency did not "need to suck the ocean dry to find out things about the ocean".

He was widely credited with whistleblowing in the public interest and now works at an Apple store in San Francisco.

Drake and US national human rights attorney Jesselyn Radack, who counts Drake and Edward Snowden as clients, spoke at the free monthly Ruxmon security meet up in Melbourne. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
Shellshock: 'Larger scale attack' on its way, warn securo-bods
Not just web servers under threat - though TENS of THOUSANDS have been hit
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
Hackers thrash Bash Shellshock bug: World races to cover hole
Update your gear now to avoid early attacks hitting the web
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.