ozduo writes: Intelligence expert Professor Des Ball says the Australian Signals Directorate — formerly known as the Defence Signals Directorate — is sharing information with the National Security Agency (NSA).
The NSA is the agency at the heart of whistleblower Edward Snowden's leaks, and has recently been accused of tapping into millions of phone calls of ordinary citizens in France, Germany and Spain.
Mr Ball says Australia has been monitoring the Asia Pacific region for the US using local listening posts.
"You can't get into the information circuits and play information warfare successfully unless you're into the communications of the higher commands in [the] various countries in our neighbourhood," he told Lateline.
Mr Ball says Australia has four key facilities that are part of the XKeyscore program, the NSA's controversial computer system that searches and analyses vast amounts of internet data.
They include the jointly-run Pine Gap base near Alice Springs, a satellite station outside Geraldton in Western Australia, a facility at Shoal Bay, near Darwin, and a new centre in Canberra.
ozduo writes: 2nd May The Australian National times reports that "THE government is expected to target one of the more delicate areas of medical care — cosmetic genital surgery — in its search for cuts to the cost of Medicare. The increase in so-called ''designer vagina'' surgical procedures is expected to come under tougher scrutiny in relation to eligibility for Medicare benefits in Tuesday's budget."