The NSA has been accused of eavesdropping on Australian phone conversations.
A report in The Australian newspaper reveals that the US National Security Agency has bugged phones and computers, tapped internet lines and listened in on emails and text messages.
The Australian reports that the NSA had the capability to listen in on conversations around the world.
The documents, obtained by the Australian media, also say the agency has collected intelligence on Australia’s phone calls.
“The NSA collects signals intelligence by monitoring and analyzing signals intelligence data acquired through NSA programs, and intercepts signals intelligence in transit through US communications satellites,” the report said.
In a statement to ABC News, the Australian government said it had “taken a number of actions” to improve security in Australia.
“[It is] a matter for the Australian Government to take further action as appropriate, but it is important that we take appropriate steps to ensure the security of Australian citizens’ communications.”
The NSA’s existence was first disclosed in 2013 by the whistleblower Edward Snowden, who said it was collecting data on US citizens and foreigners.
Snowden has been charged with espionage and theft of government property for leaking documents revealing the extent of the NSA’s spying.
Documents obtained by The Australian in response to Freedom of Information requests reveal that the agency had a “high degree of access to the servers of the major telecommunications providers” and “a significant amount of NSA-derived intelligence”.
According to The Australian, the US government had access to metadata about Australia’s mobile phone conversations, including calls made from mobile devices to their subscribers.
Australian politicians have called for greater transparency and accountability over the use of intelligence agencies.