Indonesia backs UN privacy push on spying

PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 November, 2013, 8:48pm
UPDATED : Monday, 04 November, 2013, 8:48pm

Indonesia on Monday backed a UN text highlighting anger at US-led data snooping, as Australian websites came under cyber attack in protest at Canberra’s reported involvement in the surveillance network.

Jakarta said it would co-sponsor the draft resolution at the UN General Assembly following reports the US and Australian missions in the Indonesian capital collected data as part of the American-led spying efforts.

“Enough is enough,” Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa told reporters.

“The recent revelations will have a potentially damaging impact in terms of the trust and confidence between countries concerned.”

He added that Indonesia was “joining Germany and Brazil in co-sponsoring a resolution in the General Assembly of the United Nations to address precisely the kind of issues that are now being brought up”.

On Friday, Brazil and Germany submitted a joint draft resolution on the protection of individual liberties to the UN General Assembly’s human rights panel, according to Brazilian diplomats in New York.

The text does not explicitly mention the United States. But it calls for necessary measures to end violations of the right to privacy, including in digital communications and to force countries to respect their obligations within the framework of international human rights laws.

The spying row started off between the US and its European allies but last week erupted in Asia after The Sydney Morning Herald reported there was a network of US intelligence facilities in the region.

The newspaper, amplifying an earlier story by German magazine Der Spiegel, said Australian missions were also involved in the US-led spying network.

On Sunday, The Guardian newspaper reported Australia and the US mounted a joint surveillance operation on Indonesia during the 2007 UN climate change conference in Bali, citing a document from US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden.

The Australian government has said it does not comment on intelligence matters.

The row has strained relations between Canberra and Indonesia, its northern neighbour and strategic ally, with Jakarta last week summoning the top American and Australian diplomats in the country over the reports.

As well as official anger, cyber activists vented their fury on Monday with the group Anonymous Indonesia claiming to have defaced more than 170 Australian websites in protest at reports of Canberra’s alleged spying activities.

“Hundreds of Australian Websites Attacked for *OpAustralia By Indonesian Hackers,” it posted on Twitter, listing the sites which appeared to be mostly small businesses that ended with the Australian domain .au.

Calling up the web pages was met with the message: “Stop Spying on Indonesia” underneath an Indonesian flag imprinted with a black graphic of the face of Guy Fawkes, whose image is used as a mask by Anonymous internationally.

Anonymous is believed to be a loosely organised hacker collective that conducts online attacks internationally, most recently in Singapore on Friday when a newspaper website was defaced over internet freedom in the city-state.