35 thoughts on “Monday Message Board

  1. I don’t know – that doing so creates metadata was the only objective I could think of. I suppose seeing if people are near their phones is another. The only additional objective I can think of is to make particular targeted people feel anxious. Exactly how it is constitutional for the parliament to engage the public service to pursue these sorts of objectives against the people is a question that should be answered.

  2. @Troy Prideaux

    I don’t know either, but ZM is probably right.

    They have two numbers and they may want to fish? E.g. do the people know each other? How, and on what basis? It could even be as simple as freaking you out by letting you know ‘Big Brother Is Watching’?

    Snowden’s worst fear, by his own account, was that “nothing will change.”

    “People will see in the media all these disclosures, they’ll know the lengths the government is going to grant themselves powers, unilaterally, to create greater control over American society and global society,” he told The Guardian last month after he’d asked it to identify him as its source. “But they won’t be willing to take the risks necessary to stand up and fight to change things, to force their representatives to actually take a stand in their interests.”

    Maybe some people are quite OK with unaccountable pervasive government intrusion, I’m not.

  3. @Megan

    Remember, I run an annoying website which is critical of our political and media establishment and the other person has connections to politicians.

    Dissent will not be tolerated. Remember also that they spy on peace activists, environmental activists etc..

  4. @Megan
    OK, that does make sense and is quite scary. A couple of years ago I would’ve said that such a conspiracy hunch would be just plain wacky. It’s quite sad that now I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it were spot on the money [deep sigh]

  5. Bugging can create glitches in communications systems. In the old days it was odd clicks on the line, lines open when they shouldn’t be and unexplained odd connections like the instance Megan notes.

    An odd event or odd series of events could be a normal bug event or sequence of the system or it could be induced by the interference of bugging and hacking. There is no way to know from the limited information a user or customer has access to.

    However, it is patently clear that the modern security state has access to everything if it wants to access, and I mean both metadata and data. So you could proceed on the assumption that the state can listen to very word you utter into any communication device, every piece of text you type on an electronic device, and that it has the potential to make full access to your social media accounts and indeed full access to your home PC if it is connected to the internet.

    Note I used the word “can”. Saying the state can do this is not the same as saying it is doing it in all cases for all citizens.

  6. @Troy Prideaux

    As an aside, I’m now onto my fourth computer in 3 weeks. Two brand new ones were returned and replaced in quick succession when they inexplicably had issues. In each case the ‘techs’ went through them thoroughly and ran a full factory reset but couldn’t resolve the problems. A third one had a complete failure and couldn’t even run the factory reset or an external reset. After two weeks in repair (hard drive and mother boards replaced and new factory reset using a new set of discs ordered in) it still has some issues – even though it is essentially a brand new computer.

    Just a coincidence, probably. Surely.

    I’m a bit surprised at the level of complacency around the hard evidence we have seen from Snowden so far. For example, the documents show around 20Billion communications recorded and stored daily from all over the world. The NSA explicitly (see the documents) declares its goal to “Collect It All”.

    So on that basis it strikes me as counterintuitive to adopt the position of assuming they’re not doing it rather than that they are.

  7. And what’s more, those who sleep well at night under the impression they’re safe from such activities because it’s illegal for our agencies to do it should be aware that there’s no legal barriers stopping foreign agencies/parties from conducting such activities and for such agencies/parties to just handover the data to our agencies/parties because they deem it to be in “our public” interest.

  8. @Troy Prideaux

    I wondered that too (I mean, about what would be the point) but then I reconsidered on the reflection that there’s no reason to expect the activities of ASIO (and like secret intelligence organisations) to make sense.

  9. Yee-ha! Just wait for this to hit the Newscorpse outrage bureau.

    The Islamic State claimed that an Australian fighter killed several Iraqis in a suicide attack at a Shia shrine in Baghdad today.

    The Islamic State said today’s attack in Baghdad was executed by “the brother,
    the knight, the emigrant, Abu Bakr al Australi,” according to a translation of the statement by the SITE Intelligence Group. Abu Bakr’s real name has not been disclosed.

    Australian jihadists in Iraq and Syria

    Several prominent Australian clerics are known to have traveled to Syria to support the jihad. Abu Sulayman al Muhajir, a firebrand cleric while in Australia, is currently a senior sharia (Islamic law) official in the Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria, which is a rival of the Islamic State. Abu Sulayman has been critical of the Islamic State in the past.

    Mustapha al Majzoub, a dual Australian and Syrian citizen who resided in Sydney before traveling to Syria, was killed in a rocket attack in Aleppo on Aug. 19, 2012. According to jihadists, Majzoub was known for his efforts to recruit fighters from Australia, and had gone to Syria in June 2012 to “join the resistance alongside jihadi Salafis.”

    Also, Musa Cerantonio, an Australia cleric who supported and joined the Islamic State, was captured in the Philippines on July 11. Cerantonio claimed on July 1 that he was traveling to Syria to support the Islamic State.

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