Archive for December, 2013
The following article posted this morning, whilst alarming is completely unsurprising. The only surprise appears to be that someone in CSIRO actually detected the unauthorised access of information, when so much of the organisation’s efforts are focused on attacking those publicly critical of its practices and severely punishing those who speak out from within.
Espionage fears at CSIRO
Political News National
Date: December 4, 2013
Richard Baker, Nick McKenzie
Australian intelligence and security agencies are investigating a suspected industrial espionage case at the CSIRO, the nation’s top scientific organisation.
In revelations that will further test Australia’s relations with China, federal police and intelligence officials are investigating a Chinese national who until last week worked in the CSIRO’s highly sensitive nanotechnology laboratory in Melbourne.
The man, a post-doctoral student, is being investigated for allegedly accessing sensitive CSIRO data. A focus of the intelligence probe is determining whether the man sent CSIRO information to a foreign power.
The CSIRO’s nanotechnology area works closely with Australia’s Defence Science and Technology Organisation.
CSIRO spokesman Huw Morgan told Fairfax Media on Tuesday that “a matter relating to the possible unauthorised access and use of a section of CSIRO IT infrastructure by a CSIRO employee” had been referred to the Australian Federal Police.
Mr Morgan said the CSIRO was unable to comment further at this stage. The man’s alleged activities are understood to have been detected last week by the agency’s internal security.
A federal police spokeswoman said investigations were continuing and no further comment could be made.
The CSIRO has collaborated with leading Chinese universities on nanotechnology projects in recent years.
Details of the CSIRO case have emerged during a tense period in Australia’s relationship with China, with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop last week calling in the Chinese ambassador to register Australia’s concern over Beijing’s establishment of an air defence zone covering disputed territory in the East China Sea.
They also come amid global debate about the methods of Western intelligence agencies in the wake of disclosures by former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.
Australian and US intelligence chiefs have spoken publicly this year about the growing threats of industrial espionage and cyber crime. ASIO director-general David Irvine has flagged the need for his agency to focus more on cyber and industrial espionage.
In the US, a report by the Pentagon to Congress in May warned of China’s hunger for scientific and economic intelligence to support its military.
The report said China leveraged ”foreign investments, commercial joint ventures, academic exchanges, the experience of repatriated Chinese students and researchers and state-sponsored industrial and technical espionage” for technology and expertise to support its military.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Over the course of the year, Victims of CSIRO has reported on a number of occasions in which the Terms of Reference and other material relating to the CSIRO Investigation into Workplace Bullying and other Misconduct, have subtly changed.
This latest change yet again reinforces our conviction that the original Terms of Reference were ill-conceived and rushed through without the benefit of proper consideration or, in fact, any consideration with key stakeholders affected by the investigation.
In the latest change to appear on CSIRO’s website, it appears that the Investigator will not be making any findings of misconduct in relation to the investigation of complaint but will instead defer determination of whether specific acts or omissions constitute misconduct to the CSIRO who will determine whether or not it constitutes justification for sanctions against that officer or officers.
We know how effective leaving the CSIRO to determine whether certain acts constitute misconduct works. Recall in particular that:
– CSIRO’ acting General Counsel determined that senior officers who had misrepresented themselves before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in the matter of Martin Williams were not guilty of serious misconduct, despite being determined to be be unreliable to the point that the Deputy President of the AAT could not accept the veracity of any of the evidence provided by those senior officers and instead preferred the evidence of Mr Williams in all matters in which conflicting evidence was presented.
– CSIRO similarly determined through an internal investigation conducted by its own legal counsel that it had not participated in the Fraud of pharmaceutical giant Novartis. Such action is akin to handing the accused the power to make a determination in their own prosecution. What kind of planet do these people live on???
CSIRO has still failed to take any significant action in relation to numerous complaints of both former and current employees in relation to the misconduct of its officers, particularly in the handling of bullying allegations.
We are led to believe that the “raison d’etre” for the external investigation was to provide an impartial review of bullying allegations only to see that justification eroded as the powers of determination are again hand-balled back to the CSIRO because the investigator is seemingly incapable of making a judgement on whether certain acts constitute misconduct despite the CSIRO having clear policies identifying examples of misconduct.
It is quite clear to all (perhaps with the exception of CSIRO and the Investigator) that this process is irretrievably flawed and has been compromised from its very inception to the point where it cannot be held, in any way, shape or form to be credible.
The simple fact that the Investigator has gone to great lengths in an attempt to diminish the concerns of those critical of the process and to discredit those critical of the investigator, speaks volumes on the unapologetically Partisan politic at play here.
This gross waste of taxpayer money needs to cease and in its place, a credible investigation, overseen by the Australian Parliament needs to commence. This investigation should quite rightly be called out for what it is, a ‘Sham’
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