Who's snooping who?

Who's snooping who?

Summary: The attorney-general doesn't want Chinese authorities, through Huawei, snooping on our internet activity. Meanwhile, in the UK, Prime Minister David Cameron has declared that no one should be tracking what's happening online, except for the government.

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The attorney-general doesn't want Chinese authorities, through Huawei, snooping on our internet activity. Meanwhile, in the UK, Prime Minister David Cameron has declared that no one should be tracking what's happening online, except for the government.

This week on Twisted Wire we look at how governments are getting more and more involved in what's happening on the internet. Nick Pickles from Big Brother Watch, a lobby group in the UK, describes Cameron's proposals as indiscriminate.

I can see his point, although, as I discuss in the program, if all they are looking at is the logs of who has communicated with whom, without seeing the content of those communications, isn't it a sensible step to study trends, highlight abnormalities and determine who they need to investigate further?

The response in Britain seems to have been as overwhelming as the first reaction here to Communications Minister Stephen Conroy's mandatory internet filter.

In Australia, the reaction has been mixed to the attorney-general's decision to ban Huawei from supplying equipment for the National Broadband Network. Paul Brooks from Layer 10 Advisory provides one strong reason why we should be careful when choosing our suppliers — imagine, for example, in a time of war, if our major network suddenly stops working. Isn't that a possibility we should be concerned about?

Tell us what you think. Do you think the government is becoming too involved in analysing and restricting what we do online, or is there a role for them to play? Leave a comment below or leave a message on the Twisted Wire feedback line (02) 9304 5198 and have your say on the program.

Running time: 32 minutes, 02 seconds

Topics: Government, Broadband, Government AU, NBN

About

Phil Dobbie has a wealth of radio and business experience. He started his career in commercial radio in the UK and, since coming to Australia in 1991, has held senior marketing and management roles with Telstra, OzEmail, the British Tourist Authority and other telecommunications, media, travel and advertising businesses.

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9 comments
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  • I think it is good if the governement is involved in filtering possible security problems. Australian Defence force ought to be involved, however, as a matter of Internation and National Security. Clearly there are other ways these days to attack a country without explosive power. In this day narcissism has been rebranded and accepted as an acceptable quality when competing in the market place. But as we all know, narcissism requires narcissism to work together effectively for the dollar market share. Trust is a fluffy word that has no place in international and national security. If we think it does then we all have our heads in the clouds.
    wokeap
  • I might be wrong (my schoolboy english is a little rusty), but shouldn't that be "Who's snooping whom?"
    Pachanga-4184c
    • It was paying homage to the Aretha Franklin classic of 1985 - Who's Zooming Who.
      phildobbie
  • It is appropriate for the government to ensure we are using suppliers that can be trusted to keep our network running, even in a time of war or natural disaster.
    It is also appropriate for ASIO to snoop on internet users who pose a threat to national security.
    It is not appropariate for the government of the day to attempt to enforce a mandatory internet filter based have a secret list of banned websites. Too bad if your perfectly inncocent business website accidentally ends up on it.
    In addition, from a technical perspective, trying to enforce a filter is a futile waste of resources.
    ITenquirer
  • Quite frankly I am more worried if the government monitors individual's Internet activities. I don't think the Chinese would be interested in me.
    Knowledge Expert
  • This has opened a can of worms on the issue of national security.
    Who is to say that other existing vendors aren't doing the same thing that Huawei is accused of?
    Technically a solution is to make the firmware and software contained in these products open.
    brakenridge@...
  • it is certianly reasonable to assume other suppliers may be building in thier own exploits, but other suppliers are from countries less likely to be our enemy should a war break out .
    seano2101
    • logically speaking

      a lot of people aren't smart or honest enough to make that distinction
      Stroyde
  • China is a closer neighbour than the USA - most of our computer hardware imported into this country is manufactured in China. It's now too late to take sides, we should accept the reality that the USA is a past power in IT manufacturing.
    What is your solution to Australia's IT national security?
    brakenridge@...