Australian Flag with Big BrotherAustralia missed out on being ranked among the world’s top 10 countries due to concerns over state surveillance and the lack of safeguards against it.

While Australia ranks near the top of the list at 2nd position in regards to providing access to ‘relevant content’ we fare poorly when compared to other nations in areas such as providing universal access and ensuring freedom and openness. Where the ‘free and open’ web is concerned Australia comes in at a low rank of 30th out of the 81 countries surveyed.

The index, which was first released in 2012 by web inventor Tim Berners-Lee’s foundation shows that Australia, as well as the US and the UK, were found to have inadequate safeguards and due process against digital surveillance by the government.

The report states:

“While developing countries are most likely to resort to blocking and filtering to control online communication, thanks to Edward Snowden we now know that the developed world is far more likely to spy on such communications,” 

”It has been suggested that the knowledge that someone is tracking what you say and do online may be more likely to produce self-censorship than overt banning of certain websites.”

World Wide Web Foundation chief executive Anne Jellema added in a statement:

”…a growing tide of surveillance and censorship now threatens the future of democracy,… …Bold steps are needed to protect our fundamental rights to privacy and freedom of opinion and association online.”

Australia angers Indonesia over phone tapping revelations

Last week saw a break down in relations between Australia and Indonesia as a result of Australian government surveillance. The Indonesian Prime Minister voiced his anger on Twitter with a stream of tweets:

Indonesian hackers attack and deface Australian websites

In retaliation to the news that Australia had been tapping the Indonesian government Anonymous Indonesia hacked into over 100 Australian websites replacing the websites’ content with the message “Stop spying on Indonesian”

Stop Spying on Indonesia

Indonesia Anonymous defaces Australian business websites with the message ‘Stop Spying on Indonesian’

Hackers have more recently attacked and successfully taken down the websites of Australian Secret Intelligence Services and the Australian Federal Police. The Reserve Bank of Australia was also attacked with partial success.

Vintuitive contacted to repair hacked websites

So far over 170 businesses and organisations in Australia have been hacked and defaced as a direct result of Australia’s surveillance of Indonesia’s government. Vintuitive was directly involved with attacks being made on this website in an attempt to gain access but were thwarted. Other small businesses were not as secure and Vintuitive was employed to help reclaim and repair some of those websites that were hacked and defaced. Upon investigation I found that several of the attacks on these small businesses originated from Brazilian Government IP addresses. Brazilian Government websites have been the target of Anonymous and Lulzsec in the recent past and it’s possible that a compromised Brazilian Government server was used in the attack.

Australian cyber security expert Ty Miller says that hacking attempts on Australian small businesses will most likely continue as Indonesian hackers vent their anger over the spying incident.

“When there are international boundaries being crossed, it’s very difficult to get people arrested for cybercrimes,” Mr Miller said.

Australia Misses Top Web Ranking
S. B. Yudhoyono on Twitter
Anonymous Indonesia hacks dry cleaning, plumbing websites in response to Australia spy claims
No end to hackings on Canberra: expert

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