AFP denies using TrapWire

Summary:The Australian Federal Police has denied that it uses TrapWire surveillance software to track Australian citizens, but the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation would not confirm nor deny if it uses the controversial software.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has denied that it uses TrapWire to track Australian citizens, but the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) has been much more reserved in its statement on the controversial software.

TrapWire is surveillance software that is used by industry and government across the globe, aimed at preventing crime and terrorism. The software gathers CCTV footage and other data, and using an algorithm, attempts to predict potential criminal activities.

The software gained notoriety last month when whistle-blower organisation WikiLeaks released its latest cache of e-mails from security firm Stratfor.

In Australia, Greens Senator Scott Ludlam last month attempted to ask the government if a number of its security agencies use this software. His motion to question the government was defeated when Labor and the Coalition joined together to reject it. Ludlam formally submitted his questions to the government, and on Sunday, Ludlam posted the responses he received (PDF) from the AFP and ASIO to those questions.

Through Senator Joe Ludwig, representing Attorney-General Nicola Roxon in the Senate, the AFP said it was unaware of TrapWire before media reporting.

"The AFP has no previous knowledge of that particular system, nor does the AFP use the system," the statement read. "The AFP has no procurement plans in place to acquire the system."

ASIO was more reserved in its response, stating that it "does not comment publicly on its intelligence collection capabilities", but added that ASIO didn't employ random surveillance.

"ASIO does not engage in random monitoring of the Australian population," the agency said. "ASIO's investigations are targeted against specific behaviours and activities relevant to security as defined in the ASIO Act."

Ludlam also put questions to Customs and Border Protection, the Department of Defense, the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service, the defense minister and the home affairs minister, but the responses have not yet been published.

Topics: Security, Australia, Government, Government : AU


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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