The Indonesian branch of Anonymous, or at least a group of people purporting to be that, has launched a series of attacks on the websites of Australian businesses.
The hacks were apparently revenge for revelations late last week that Australian embassies across Asia have been used as spying hubs, in collaboration with the NSA. The targets ranged from dry cleaners and psychologists to a bouncy castle company — all seem to have been targeted on the basis that their websites end in “.com.au”.
The fallout from the latest Snowden revelations could be more serious than that, though. Following the news of the wider Australian intelligence effort, The Guardian reported on Saturday that the U.S. and Australia had run a big surveillance operation at the 2007 climate change conference in Bali, Indonesia.
On Monday, Indonesian foreign minister Marty Natalegawa said the country may stop cooperating with Australia on the sensitive issue of people-smuggling. “If Australia feels that there are ways of obtaining information other than the official one then one wonders where we are in terms of co-operation,” Natalegawa was quoted as saying.
Australia is a member of the so-called “Five Eyes” club of Anglophone countries that all cooperate on espionage – the other four are the U.S., Britain, New Zealand and Canada. However, cooperation extends beyond this club.
On Friday, it emerged that intelligence services in Germany, France, Spain and Sweden all work closely with the UK’s NSA analog, GCHQ. GCHQ reportedly advised these agencies how to change or circumvent their national anti-surveillance laws in order to tap communications being carried over core telecoms networks.
As I have noted before, when it comes to surveillance, we’re probably all in it together — a fact that somewhat complicates the professed outrage of the French, German and Spanish governments over being spied upon themselves.
Leading German figures have called for the country’s government to offer Snowden asylum, in exchange for revealing the truth about U.S. espionage on leaders and citizens around the world. However, the German government has rejected these calls. Snowden may nonetheless testify to the German parliament – most likely remotely from Russia – about the hacking of Chancellor Merkel’s phone.
Meanwhile, a bipartisan delegation of U.S. lawmakers is set to tour Europe, meeting with national leaders to discuss the fallout of the Snowden leaks.