ASIO resource boost to give spies bigger appetite for data

ASIO's IT department will improve its capacity to analyse large volumes of information, following a cabinet-approved plan to expand the spy agency's ranks by 150, a spokesperson for the organisation said today.

ASIO's IT department will improve its capacity to analyse large volumes of information, following a cabinet-approved plan to expand the spy agency's ranks by 150, a spokesperson for the organisation said today.

According to the spokesperson, ASIO's IT recruitment drive -- which accounts for around 10 percent of the of the overall staff increase -- will help the organisation improve its ability to handle the jump in the volume of intelligence data processed by the organisation since September 11 and the October 2002 bombing of the Sari club in Bali.

The increase in data volumes is said to stem from increases in investigation activities and in intelligence exchanges with other intelligence groups.

While ASIO says the jump in the volume of data available wasn't specifically related to monitoring of any particular communication medium, the intelligence agency is seeking specialists to help the organisation better pursue the powers afforded to it by the Telecommunications Act.

"We're also recruiting IT people in telecommunications interception fields, which are starting to become more specialised in respect to the kind of equipment used and knowledge base behind it," the spokesperson said.

Other roles ASIO wants to fill will include those supporting IT infrastructure for it recently announced National Threat Assessment Centre (NTAC) and more senior positions to improve its internal communication infrastructure.