An Australian government agency has announced it will begin using a “remotely controlled” computer to intercept emails from its users, effectively turning them into a kind of digital surveillance system.
The Federal Government’s intelligence agency, the Australian Signals Directorate, announced on Monday that it had “conducted a significant, multi-year” study to understand how the technology can be used to prevent terrorism, crime, and identity theft.
The project is the first step in a “strategic approach” towards a similar kind of technology being developed in the United States, the agency said in a statement.
This kind of system is a new form of intelligence that is not based on information gathering and does not require any interaction with a human being,” the statement said.”
Rather, it is a ‘virtual surveillance’ system, meaning it is not connected to the real world and does all of the work of a computer, but operates in real time.
“The technology could help to identify the perpetrators of crimes such as cyber-attacks, mass shootings, and other crimes, the statement added.”
A significant portion of the information gathered by the system can be shared with law enforcement and intelligence agencies in order to prevent, detect, and deter terrorist activity.
“Australia has been a vocal proponent of electronic surveillance in recent years, with some US states now mandating a state-of-the-art surveillance system that would be able to identify and track people within a few miles of their home.
It’s a similar strategy in Australia, where the federal government recently approved a law that would give the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation the authority to intercept communications on behalf of the Australian Communications and Media Authority, which is tasked with defending Australia’s national security.