• Secret 5-Eyes document shows surveillance partners discussing what information they can pool about their citizens

• DSD indicated it could provide material without some privacy restraints imposed by other countries such as Canada

• Medical, legal or religious information ‘not automatically limited’

• Concern that intelligence agency could be ‘operating outside its legal mandate’

 

 

Man typing on a computer keyboard
The secret document shows the partners discussing whether or not to share citizens’ “medical, legal or religious information”. Photograph: Kacper Pempel/Reuters

 

Australia’s surveillance agency offered to share information collected about ordinary Australian citizens with its major intelligence partners, according to a secret 2008 document leaked by the US whistleblower Edward Snowden.

 

The document shows the partners discussing whether or not to share “medical, legal or religious information”, and increases concern that the agency could be operating outside its legal mandate, according to the human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson QC.

 

The Australian intelligence agency, then known as the Defence Signals Directorate (DSD), indicated it could share bulk material without some of the privacy restraints imposed by other countries, such as Canada.

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