In a new cache published on Monday NSW police are listed as a client of Gamma International, a German company that develops powerful spyware to remotely monitor computer use.
The documents show that NSW police have used several of the company’s spy programs for a number of investigations at a cost of more than $2m.
The software – known as FinSpy – allows widespread access to computer records, including extracting files from hard drives, grabbing images of computer screens, full Skype monitoring, logging keystrokes and monitoring email and chat communications.
“When FinSpy is installed on a computer system it can be remotely controlled and accessed as soon as it is connected to the internet/network, no matter where in the world the target system is based,” earlier documentation published by WikiLeaks said.
In NSW the police can apply for a special type of covert search warrant that would allow police to monitor computers remotely. The warrants are obtained from an “eligible judge” of the supreme court who is able to grant warrants.
The computer access possible under the program is extensive. In one communication with the software developers, a NSW police officer writes that there are risks that sensitive information – such as privileged communication with a lawyer – could be caught by the program.
Due to law restrictions on how certain information obtained … is it possible to implement a categorisation feature that can show categories for certain information ? For instance. A key logger captures information which is between a lawyer and a known criminal which is not an offense in itself.NSW Greens MLC David Shoebridge said the WikiLeaks revelations were deeply concerning.
“The captured information needs to be able to be identified as legal privilege and not used in any further intelligence capability as it is considered private. There are other categories that may come up so it would be useful if the categories could be implemented at the user level rather than hard coded by Gamma.”
“Information that should be privileged, including communications with a lawyer or information that’s well beyond the scope of the warrant, is almost certainly being captured by this warrant. It looks as if the police don’t have systems to exclude it, and it’s deeply troubling.”
He also said the documents highlighted the need for a public interest monitor in NSW to ensure there was sufficient scrutiny over the warrant process.
“There’s obviously a significant flaw in a system which has no public scrutiny of it and nobody there testing the case, with the evidence only put forward by the police. It’s not the role of the judge to test the evidence, so the hearings just have one side of the argument put forward.
“We should have a public interest monitor that appears in these proceedings to do just that – to be there as an independent third party testing the police evidence, and that’s an office we’ve been calling for [for] some time now.”
Despite the substantial costs associated with the program, there appear to be no online tender records of Gamma International or any of its subsidiaries holding contracts with the NSW police.
A spokesman for NSW police said: “Given this technology relates to operational capability, it’s not appropriate to comment.”
theguardian.com 15 Sep 2014
From what the general populous is told, hacking - unauthorised or 'illegal' access to computer (I.T. equipment, phones, etc) is a criminal offence.
So when are the police (those individuals) going to get charged?
Also in relation to this article, there is no lawfully issued warrant in Australia.
The land mass known as Australia is a Police State.
The corrupt legal system supports the criminal activities of the so called authorities.