Sparta-question

It is well known that Catallaxy File readers are the most intelligent and well informed readers in Australia.  Very well known.

As such, Spartacus would like to take advantage of this knowledge and intellect and crowd source the answer to a question.  Spartacus does not know where else to look or ask.

For the telecommunication network experts out there …

Are Australia’s mobile networks (Telstra, Optus, Vodafone and soon to be TPG) independent of the NBN or do they interconnect via the NBN (and any legacy Telstra copper where NBN has not been rolled out)?

Spartacus’ question comes from the perspective of how easy would it be for the Government (or foreign Governments) to listen into and track citizen communications if it owns the primary and single national internet network.  And yes, it was the “private” Telstra prior to the NBN, but the question still stands.

Many thanks and bows in advance.

Follow I Am Spartacus on Twitter at @Ey_am_Spartacus

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36 Responses to Sparta-question

  1. 2dogs

    The mobile networks are independent of the NBN, but that is irrelevant to your stated purpose in your question. All mobile networks, even though privately owned, must provide access to ASIO anyway. ASIO can and does monitor mobile communications in Australia.

  2. max

    yust do not post any of this and you are going to be fine. xxxxxx

    = Complete list of DHS monitoring keywords =

    Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
    Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
    Coast Guard (USCG)
    Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
    Border Patrol
    Secret Service (USSS)
    National Operations Center (NOC)
    Homeland Defense
    Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE)
    Agent
    Task Force
    Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
    Fusion Center
    Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)
    Secure Border Initiative (SBI)
    Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
    Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF)
    U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS)
    Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS)
    Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
    Air Marshal
    Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
    National Guard
    Red Cross
    United Nations (UN)
    Assassination
    Attack
    Domestic security
    Drill
    Exercise
    Cops
    Law enforcement
    Authorities
    Disaster assistance
    Disaster management
    DNDO (Domestic Nuclear Detection Office)
    National preparedness
    Mitigation
    Prevention
    Response
    Recovery
    Dirty bomb
    Domestic nuclear detection
    Emergency management
    Emergency response
    First responder
    Homeland security
    Maritime domain awareness (MDA)
    National preparedness initiative
    Militia Shooting
    Shots fired
    Evacuation
    Deaths
    Hostage
    Explosion (explosive)
    Police
    Disaster medical assistance team (DMAT)
    Organized crime
    Gangs
    National security
    State of emergency
    Security
    Breach
    Threat
    Standoff
    SWAT
    Screening
    Lockdown
    Bomb (squad or threat)
    Crash
    Looting
    Riot
    Emergency
    Landing
    Pipe bomb
    Incident
    Facility
    Hazmat
    Nuclear
    Chemical spill
    Suspicious package/device
    Toxic
    National laboratory
    Nuclear facility
    Nuclear threat
    Cloud
    Plume
    Radiation
    Radioactive
    Leak
    Biological infection (or event)
    Chemical
    Chemical burn
    Biological
    Epidemic
    Hazardous
    Hazardous material incident
    Industrial spill
    Infection
    Powder (white)
    Gas
    Spillover
    Anthrax
    Blister agent
    Chemical agent
    Exposure
    Burn
    Nerve agent
    Ricin
    Sarin
    North Korea
    Outbreak
    Contamination
    Exposure
    Virus
    Evacuation
    Bacteria
    Recall
    Ebola
    Food Poisoning
    Foot and Mouth (FMD)
    H5N1
    Avian
    Flu
    Salmonella
    Small Pox
    Plague
    Human to human
    Human to Animal
    Influenza
    Center for Disease Control (CDC)
    Drug Administration (FDA)
    Public Health
    Toxic Agro
    Terror Tuberculosis (TB)
    Agriculture
    Listeria
    Symptoms
    Mutation
    Resistant
    Antiviral
    Wave
    Pandemic
    Infection
    Water/air borne
    Sick
    Swine
    Pork
    Strain
    Quarantine
    H1N1
    Vaccine
    Tamiflu
    Norvo Virus
    Epidemic
    World Health Organization (WHO) (and components)
    Viral Hemorrhagic Fever
    E. Coli
    Infrastructure security
    Airport
    CIKR (Critical Infrastructure & Key Resources)
    AMTRAK
    Collapse
    Computer infrastructure
    Communications infrastructure
    Telecommunications
    Critical infrastructure
    National infrastructure
    Metro
    WMATA
    Airplane (and derivatives)
    Chemical fire
    Subway
    BART
    MARTA
    Port Authority
    NBIC (National Biosurveillance Integration Center)
    Transportation security
    Grid
    Power
    Smart
    Body scanner
    Electric
    Failure or outage
    Black out
    Brown out
    Port
    Dock
    Bridge
    Cancelled
    Delays
    Service disruption
    Power lines
    Drug cartel
    Violence
    Gang
    Drug
    Narcotics
    Cocaine
    Marijuana
    Heroin
    Border
    Mexico
    Cartel
    Southwest
    Juarez
    Sinaloa
    Tijuana
    Torreon
    Yuma
    Tucson
    Decapitated
    U.S. Consulate
    Consular
    El Paso
    Fort Hancock
    San Diego
    Ciudad Juarez
    Nogales
    Sonora
    Colombia
    Mara salvatrucha
    MS13 or MS-13
    Drug war
    Mexican army
    Methamphetamine
    Cartel de Golfo
    Gulf Cartel
    La Familia
    Reynosa
    Nuevo Leon
    Narcos
    Narco banners (Spanish equivalents)
    Los Zetas
    Shootout
    Execution
    Gunfight
    Trafficking
    Kidnap
    Calderon
    Reyosa
    Bust
    Tamaulipas
    Meth Lab
    Drug trade
    Illegal immigrants
    Smuggling (smugglers)
    Matamoros
    Michoacana
    Guzman
    Arellano-Felix
    Beltran-Leyva
    Barrio Azteca
    Artistic Assassins
    Mexicles
    New Federation
    Terrorism
    Al Qaeda (all spellings)
    Terror
    Attack
    Iraq
    Afghanistan
    Iran
    Pakistan
    Agro
    Environmental terrorist
    Eco terrorism
    Conventional weapon
    Target
    Weapons grade
    Dirty bomb
    Enriched
    Nuclear
    Chemical weapon
    Biological weapon
    Ammonium nitrate
    Improvised explosive device
    IED (Improvised Explosive Device)
    Abu Sayyaf
    Hamas
    FARC (Armed Revolutionary Forces Colombia)
    IRA (Irish Republican Army)
    ETA (Euskadi ta Askatasuna)
    Basque Separatists
    Hezbollah
    Tamil Tigers
    PLF (Palestine Liberation Front)
    PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization
    Car bomb
    Jihad
    Taliban
    Weapons cache
    Suicide bomber
    Suicide attack
    Suspicious substance
    AQAP (AL Qaeda Arabian Peninsula)
    AQIM (Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb)
    TTP (Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan)
    Yemen
    Pirates
    Extremism
    Somalia
    Nigeria
    Radicals
    Al-Shabaab
    Home grown
    Plot
    Nationalist
    Recruitment
    Fundamentalism
    Islamist
    Emergency
    Hurricane
    Tornado
    Twister
    Tsunami
    Earthquake
    Tremor
    Flood
    Storm
    Crest
    Temblor
    Extreme weather
    Forest fire
    Brush fire
    Ice
    Stranded/Stuck
    Help
    Hail
    Wildfire
    Tsunami Warning Center
    Magnitude
    Avalanche
    Typhoon
    Shelter-in-place
    Disaster
    Snow
    Blizzard
    Sleet
    Mud slide or Mudslide
    Erosion
    Power outage
    Brown out
    Warning
    Watch
    Lightening
    Aid
    Relief
    Closure
    Interstate
    Burst
    Emergency Broadcast System
    Cyber security
    Botnet
    DDOS (dedicated denial of service)
    Denial of service
    Malware
    Virus
    Trojan
    Keylogger
    Cyber Command
    2600
    Spammer
    Phishing
    Rootkit
    Phreaking
    Cain and abel
    Brute forcing
    Mysql injection
    Cyber attack
    Cyber terror
    Hacker
    China
    Conficker
    Worm
    Scammers
    Social media

  3. pete m

    So much for smartest commenters

  4. Megan

    That list ensures the Cat is under surveillance for the foreseeable future.

  5. Pedro the Ignorant

    No comms system in Oz is safe from the spooks.

    Warrants used to be the safeguard, but it would seem that the exemptions from requiring a warrant to listen in are pretty broad brush.

    Much appreciated, moslem blow ins.

    “They will not change the way we live” quoth some bespoke suited nonentity.

  6. Davey Boy

    A condition of having a telco carrier licence is the capability to provide interception capabilities to the relevant authorities, who need a warrant to make use of those capabilities. Doesn’t matter if it’s fixed line or mobile.
    Then there is also the retention of metadata which George Brandis, he of the quivering jowls, explained so well, access to metadata without a warrant is given to a growing list of organisations.

  7. Tim

    The mobile networks are independent to the NBN as the first comment states and is correct the security agencies have access to and can monitor communications networks in Australia. But that is not the only mob that are monitoring. Google has probably as much if not more access to info, every loyalty card holder is monitored by the firm providing the loyalty card etc etc etc and that list is longer than the list of keywords above

    We are all monitored every day in many ways. Every digital transaction has records and the feds are very keen to keep it that way because they can access all the info in one way or another. As Steve Wozniak co founder of Apple reportedly said a few weeks ago It has all gone to far Firefox has introduced anti tracking features and up popped a search engine called duckduckgo.com that claims not to track those using its service. There is now some fight back happening to protect internet users privacy. The problem is that artificial intelligence apps are probably already out there to collect the info off the wire. Many are unaware of the reach and uses of consumer info. The real issue with data monitoring is that the selective use of recorded comms can be used for devious purposes. Take the statement “I dont wan to talk to you until after 3pm” take off the “until afrer 3 pm” and the statement has a different has a different meaning . There are plenty of opportunities to misuse info and not a day goes by that I dont see such misrepresentation used these days.

    Take this situation.. An elderly lady in her 80s did a search on google many years ago for cats dogs and something else. I cant remember the something else but it was like collar. She was looking for collars and stuff for her dog and cat. To her surprise up came some very hard core porn. I know because she came to me and wanted me to shut down the internet. Very amusing to me in a sense because I knew no one could. That happened. Now take the current fictional situation that happens daily where a reported puts a microphone in front of someone like this elderly lady and says we know you have visited porn sites. Her reaction would be to deny any such thing then they produce the digital record and she then remembers and goes “oh but” and is cut off by the reporter. What would the viewers watching this think

    If you are worried about your privacy dont use technology to be a creature of habit. Use cash for those regular purchases ie the milk and bread at the same time every day. An example if you use your mobile banking app to pay for the milk and bread on your way home at the same time each day, there would be a mobile data record and gps plus a banking record

    Watch what you type in electronic communications. Ask yourself would I type this if I knew it would appear in the newspaper the following day. Be very careful using social media

  8. Billie

    Mobile comms, as the diagram shows, touches the infrastructure all the time. When the call is through the air on traditional PCS radio bands it is encrypted when it is in the infrastructure it is not.

    When we go full LTE and your house router whatever supplier it is, will also switch mobile comms using your router wifi and every router’s wifi in your street. Being done in Japan now, LTE can switch between wifi and radio bands (traditional PCS bands) with no dropped data. LTE currently supports +40mbs in Australia heading for 160mbs.

    So it is possible the NBN could end up with mobile coms traffic, when it is not at the radio bands or wifi. When it is in the NBN lines, see above … no encryption

  9. Tel

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PRISM_%28surveillance_program%29

    All Internet traffic is collected and monitored. You can use encryption, but as Tim points out above mobile device security is not good. Also, various Australian police departments are known to have purchased “Stingray” devices which can hijack your mobile phone (look it up).

    The Australian government basically admitted openly that they were listening in on Sam Dastyari’s phone when they released the recording of him saying that he thought someone might be listening in on his phone (and that’s not on a call either, that’s simply using the phone as an active mic pickup). Also the French government proudly declared they were listing to some of the recent terrorist shooters, also by using phone hijacking. Didn’t actually stop the terrorist of course, but God it made the authorities feel self important.

  10. Tel

    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fiber_optic_tap.png

    I would be guessing that “PRISM” is an oblique reference to fiber optic tapping, but in Australia they go for a more simple approach where they instruct the telco “give us access to the data you bastard” or maybe that’s not the official wording but very similar to that.

    Strange that they mix single-mode with multi-mode in that photo but we presume this is more for illustrative purposes.

  11. OneWorldGovernment

    I desperetly hope they are listening.

    Mad Malcolm and his crazy wife Lucy are leading Australia into the communist wilderness.

    Will someone farquing listen?

    How many cats are there alive in Point Piper?

    And how much money does Crazy Lucy and Mad Mal’s son earn from the Chinese?

  12. Up The Workers!

    Crikey!

    Those spooks must be busy chaps.

    Looks like we need to give the finger to all forms of electronic telecommunications and head back to the good old-fashioned apparatus of ‘two sticks and a hollow log’ (or a hollow politician, if one is handy – there is very little difference between one and the other, though the sticks are essential in either case).

  13. Davey Boy

    Then there is also the retention of metadata which George Brandis, he of the quivering jowls, explained so well, access to metadata without a warrant is given to a growing list of organisations.

  14. You have hit upon the NBN’s very raison d’etre.
    Surveillance was Conroy’s only intention. Krudd ws too stupid to notice.

  15. John Bayley

    The authorities may not even need to actively listen in when the end users, particularly the younger ones, happily share all sorts of private information about themselves on Facebook and other social media platforms.
    The recent Cambridge Analytica & Facebook ‘scandal’ has not even made a dent into FB user numbers.
    Mobile devices, on any network and world-wide, are becoming the preferred way to access the internet and social media. The ‘apps’ which act as portals to FB etc then get to harvest not only what you actively post, but pretty much everything else that is on your phone – contacts, text messages, e-mails, web searches; you name it.
    The very recent (few days ago) bit of news about FB selling information obtained in such a manner to hardware manufacturers and really anyone prepared to pay is a case in point.
    In other words, Orwell was an optimist and the surveillance means available these days to anyone who either can pay (commercial entities) or has the authority to demand (government) would make the Soviet Communists blush with envy.
    Of course, nobody cares and none of it matters – “I’m not doing anything wrong, so I have nothing to fear!”
    Right?

  16. Entropy

    Ensure your device encrypts messaging, use DuckDuckGo, use an adblocker, do not use Facebook or Instagram, and use browsers like Firefox and Safari with cookies blocked, location services turned off and the security settings maxed out.
    And even then…

  17. egg_

    All mobile networks, even though privately owned, must provide access to ASIO anyway. ASIO can and does monitor mobile communications in Australia.

    On the transition to digital mobiles, Telcos had to surrender their GSM “keys” to ASIO back in the 90s, for surveillance purposes, it’s nothing new.
    Call tracing (records) is done via the Telcos Law Enforcement Liaison Office and handed over to the Police upon request – so, e.g. all of the alleged 911 phone calls were traceable – the FBI could produce no successful call records for the alleged ‘box cutters’ phone call in court.
    You’ve been had.

  18. egg_

    And even then…

    Tinfoil hat?

  19. Diogenes

    When I worked for Telstra, I looked after a system that connected customers. When the AXE /A4 was introduced, I was warned the changes could not be late, as ASIO required, and partially funded the new exchange technology, no further details were given. The /A4s were rolled out much faster than the /66 and the /36 ever were.

    When I was testing on a live exchange (Nth Sydney) I accidentally caused many exchange restarts due to a bug in Ericsson’s code , where a particular combination of customer products would crash the exchange.

  20. Genghis

    O’h but the really really good thing is that the ATO will be able to track all card purchases and if they do not match income questions will be asked about the black economy. George Orwell had nothing on this!

  21. Dr Fred Lenin

    So Max ,apart from those on your list ,no one else is involved?

  22. Amadeus

    2Dogs, you left off “pornhub”…

  23. RobK

    So Max ,apart from those on your list ,no one else is involved?
    👍😊

  24. Amadeus

    Sorry 2Dogs…comment was meant for “Max” and his liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiissssssssssssssstttttttttttttt.

  25. Speedbox

    The fact is that most people don’t know or don’t care that their every action outside the home is potentially subject to surveillance. They happily go along with this because “the authorities” are keeping them safe.

    I have often wondered whether those same people actually recognise the real depth of the intrusion and the march forward of surveillance techniques fostered by technology.

    Until now, the home was the last bastion of privacy with the obvious exception if you have been specifically targeted by the Police/ASIO et al. A few months ago I was reading about law enforcement experimenting with Google Home and similar smart(ish) systems as live microphones thereby allowing the authorities to evesdrop on conversations within a property.

    When I raise my concern with friends they all tell me that “If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear” but to me, this misses the point entirely. At a practical level, it doesn’t matter if the authorities know where I buy my biscuits – but they can now know everything about me.

    Can I be absolutely certain that only those with a genuine “need to know” will ever have access to the information and that request for access will be vetted by an independent judicial authority? (no). Can I be absolutely certain that the information will be secure from hacking or accidental release? (no). If the information is gathered/used unlawfully, do I have the right to review/edit/withdraw that information from the record? (no) If I am subsequently assessed as a non-threat to national security, am not wanted by the Police and have no outstanding Government matters are any records not essential to establishing my identity destroyed? (no) Do the Government have a track record of behaviour that will promote my trust in their actions? (no).

    I could go on and on about this but I will spare you from my hobby horse and leave you with one final thought.

    Almost eighty years ago the Nazis eliminated vast numbers of European j*ws using, in part, paper records and the word of informers. Just imagine the outcome if Hilter and his cronies had access to todays databases and high speed computers. And, whilst re-creation of the circumstances that lead to WW2 are implausible, I could confidently set out other scenarios that could see the misuse of data against citizens.

  26. Senile Old Guy

    Look up VPN and enable one.

  27. Kneel

    “If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear”

    “Fine – so you’re happy to have your tax return, your AIDS test results and your bank statement sent to you on a postcard? No? Why not – you must something to hide!”

    Watch ’em run straight to the “that’s different!”. Although they can never justify the reason logically.

  28. Kneel

    “Look up VPN and enable one.”

    If you are paranoid enough, rent dedicated servers in 3 countries that rarely share data with yours, VPN to one and use a TOR like process to make the data “come out” in the country of your choice after blasting back and forward a few times. Get even more paranoid and do an end-to-end VPN inside the ‘connection’ VPN. Use military grade RSA encryption for both. Make sure you buy a pre-paid credit card somewhere that doesn’t have CCTV to pay for your ‘security’.
    Review your security every 12 months at the most.

    Or take the foot-and-mouth disease “fix” – ie, if there isn’t any disease, there won’t be any problem. Go back to your steam-powered word processor (AKA typewriter), go back to using public phones instead of your mobile, and actually get off your arse and go see people in the flesh instead of IMing them on FB, tweeting etc.

    The first solution costs you, but you get to keep your toys.
    The second is free, but you lose your toys.
    The third is do nothing and relax.

    Choose.

  29. Empire 5:5

    Hi Fort Meade!

    Ensure your device encrypts messaging, use DuckDuckGo, use an adblocker, do not use Facebook or Instagram, and use browsers like Firefox and Safari with cookies blocked, location services turned off and the security settings maxed out.
    And even then…

    They have everything. What they can do with it is limited by analysis capability, resources and intent. AI will change that. We’re at the mercy of the human decency of those in power.

    You ca[N] aV(i)0_d the sniffers to some degree, but who wants to communicate in stringer?

    God bless Mike Rogers.

  30. Speedbox

    SOG

    I go to significant lengths to keep my electronic profile “low” but I resent my image being the subject of facial recognition and data logging my whereabouts at the time. It is none of their damn business!

    I am a law-abiding citizen who goes about his daily business – the State and Federal authorities know my address and other details if only because I hold a Driver’s Licence, Passport and lodge tax returns. But that doesn’t give them the “right” to log my whereabouts, purchases, internet activities etc. Alternatively, having established that I (or you) do not present a threat to the country, non-essential records should be destroyed forthwith.

    I cannot shake the feeling that the outlook for my children, or more particularly my grandchildren, is grim.

  31. Dr Fred Lenin

    When the gangrene communists assume power,they will open micro chipping centres in shopping centres ,it will be compulsory for all people of European descent to be microchipped , a moderate fee of $_5,000 will be made ,failure to wear one will incur 200 years imprisonment without parole . Non Europeans will not be required to be microchipped they can be trusted ,politicians and public servants will be excluded from the programme ,they can be trusted too . SHY has been suggested as commissar for microchipping ,a good choice with her naval experience during the “reffo rescue plan “ of a few years ago .

  32. Senile Old Guy

    I go to significant lengths to keep my electronic profile “low” but I resent my image being the subject of facial recognition and data logging my whereabouts at the time. It is none of their damn business!

    The accuracy of facial recognition is overstated in the media. VPN can show you at a place where you are not. Encryption is now routine and the companies that make the devices probably can’t break it.

  33. Chris M

    Or just use a public computer at a library like the mos terrorists do.

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