Indonesia has increased its intelligence spending, though its equipment is not advanced enough to effectively target phones inside Australia.
Associate professor Greg Fealy from the Australian National University has told The Australian that while Jakarta could intercept some signals, it’s equipment was geared towards domestic intelligence gathering.
“My understanding is that the main intelligence agency in Indonesia, BIN, does have domestic electronic surveillance capacity and some capacity to intercept signals, but hardly any of that would be directed at Australia.
“They would use it more if they had it, but they don’t have it.”
The article details how Indonesia has increased its spending on intelligence equipment, though most of its efforts are aimed at monitoring activists and terrorist organisations inside the country.
This week it was revealed that Australian spies at the Defence Signals Directorate (now the ASD) targeted Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in August 2009.
His phone was tapped, along with devices belonging to his wife, senior cabinet members and individuals in the president’s inner circle.
Relations are at a low point now, with Indonesia demanding an apology and a promise it will not happen again.
Prime Minister Tony Abbot has expressed his regret, though earlier said he would not say sorry for Australian intelligence gathering.
Indonesia has recalled its ambassador and halted military and intelligence co-operation, including joint operations targeting people smugglers — a major political issue in Australia.
There’s more here.
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