Month: November 2013

Missing the story – Indonesia’s been asking for and using “Phone Tapping” technology for years

By Kate Doak.
By Kate Doak.

Over the past few days I’ve been getting rather bemused by the phone tapping scandal that’s been hiting the Australian and Indonesian Governments.  However the events surrounding this scandal haven’t surprised me anywhere near as much as some of the comments that have been made about it.  Namely, that Indonesia didn’t have a clue that Australia was tapping the phones of Indonesian citizens.  This is closely followed by some of the seriously deficient research that parts of the Australian and Indonesian media have conducted into this story, since it first broke. The context of a story often provides its key, and in all honesty that’s what I feel has missing from this entire scandal so far.

Now as anyone who follows South East Asian current affairs and politics closely would know, Indonesia’s Detachment 88 has been tapping the phones of Indonesian citizens for ages.  Given that none of the tapped phones on the list provided by the Australian Signals Directorate to the other “5 Eyes” members were secure models, it’s no surprise at all that these phones were tapped.  As a Reuters article from 2010 shows, phone tapping technology and expertise are resources that the Indonesians have requested and received from Australia, the US, France and the UK throughout most of the period since the 2002 Bali Bombings.

Reuters:

A U.S. embassy spokesman in Jakarta declined to comment, but a U.S. government document showed the unit had received technical support, training and equipment under the State Department’s Anti-Terrorism Assistance (ATA) program since 2003.

An Indonesian official, who spoke on condition on anonymity, confirmed the unit got Australian and U.S. help in advanced wiretapping technology, and also some British and French aid.

Indonesia and the United States are likely to discuss further security cooperation during Obama’s visit. Washington has been considering whether to lift a ban on military training for Indonesia’s notorious special forces unit, known as Kopassus.

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The Internet isn’t the problem, the loss of the “story” is…. Freelancers and Media Business Models….

By Kate Doak.
By Kate Doak.

A few days ago, Andrew Stafford posted one hell of an interesting article on Mumbrella about freelance journalists and other content producers not getting paid for the material that they produce, by various media outlets.  Needless to say, it was fiery and gave me the general feeling that a river of blood had been created during its production, purely from the frustration of seeing hours of work being all for naught time after time, with only the hint of “exposure” being given as potential remuneration.

Photo of Mr Andrew Stafford, Courtesy of Mr Stafford and Mumbrella
Photo of Mr Andrew Stafford, Courtesy of Mr Stafford and Mumbrella

But why stop there? While I admit that it would be fun to grill both Crikey and MamaMia amongst others in-depth like Andrew has over their policies towards the remuneration of bloggers and various freelancers for their time, perhaps the way that some parts of the media treat casual employees (and how freelancers often view themselves and their work) can help explain why so many media companies worldwide are in the dismal states that they find themselves in.  As fanciful as this might sound, it’s a thought worth pursuing given some discussions that I’ve had with some Human Relations experts over the past few days.

During one such discussion, I had one of the aforementioned experts explain to me the intricacies of the “Personal Advertisement” and the impact that it can have on the way that people are not only viewed by others, but how they view themselves.  As simple as it sounds, the way that somebody (such as a freelance journalist) communicates with others either within their CV, story pitches or the first 30 seconds of encountering them in a public setting, can be the difference in whether they get work awarded to them or not.  Consequentially she said, if we don’t value ourselves as people and wear a uniform of confidence and honesty when we meet new people, then it will be impossible for them to trust and freely desire to engage financially with us.  Needless to say, that kind of got me wondering if the same thing could be said about the media industry as a whole, which would in turn explain why some media companies are thriving, while others are in dire financial trouble.

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