The NSA used the technology to target Australia’s major internet service providers in the United States, a new report has found.
The report by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) said that the National Security Agency (NSA) also used the data-mining tool “in the context of collecting foreign intelligence”.
It said the agency used the tools to target AT&T (T), Verizon Communications (VZ) and Google Inc’s (GOOG) Google Fiber.
“The use of the NSA’s Prism program by the NSA for collecting foreign information about Australia was a major breach of Australian law, a violation of international law, and in violation of Australia’s obligations under international law,” the ITU said.
“Australia’s obligations to comply with international law are even more grave when it comes to privacy.”
The report said the use of Prism could have “serious and potentially serious consequences” for privacy.
It said: “While Prism may be limited to targeting specific individuals, the scope of its use has the potential to affect the ability of Australia to carry out its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other international obligations to protect the privacy of all people in the digital world.”
“We urge all countries to ensure that any data collected under Prism is held in accordance with Australia’s data retention obligations,” the report said.AT&, VZ and Google were among the internet service companies targeted in the report.
The ITU report follows the release of an internal document which the Australian Federal Police (AFP) said showed the US agency spied extensively on Australian telecommunications providers.
It also alleged that the US government and intelligence agencies in other countries were able to use Prism and other data-collection tools.
The Australian Federal Privacy Commissioner, Fiona Nash, said the information released by the US agencies was a “serious breach” of Australian laws.
“We are outraged by the use by the intelligence agencies of surveillance tools that could have a serious and potentially grave impact on privacy in Australia,” Ms Nash said.
The AFP said it had received information from three other agencies in Australia.
“Information in this document was provided to the AFP by the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) and the National Broadband Network,” it said.
Topics:intelligence,internet-technology,internet,government-and-politics,internetlaw-and_policy,information-and -technology,law-crime-and,law,canberra-2600,act,australiaFirst posted March 09, 2020 07:36:49Contact Ashley WylieMore stories from New South Wales