Conceptual slippage: The Spy Catchers & Dirty Secrets
In 1950, ASIO’s Canberra office could record only two telephone lines from the Soviet embassy at any time. By contrast, in a single month in 2013, according to Edward Snowden, the US National Security Agency acquired data from more than 3 billion calls and emails. Perversely, the staggering gulf between then and now makes ASIO’s history more relevant than ever. We do not (and cannot) know what the secret organisation does today, but its record allows us to extrapolate.