Data intelligence, the covert intelligence agency that gathers intelligence about the world through data analysis, is facing serious threats, with an estimated 80% of its funding cut in the last three years.
Key points:The data-mining intelligence agency was created in 2005 by the United States to spy on foreign leaders and foreign institutionsIt is widely considered the best spy agency in the world but is facing major funding cuts and the potential collapse of the organizationIt is expected to be the subject of a major inquiry into the Government’s surveillance programs by the parliamentary inquiry into intelligence and security in the lead-up to the federal election on September 7The data analysis agency, known as Deep Packet Inspection, collects, processes and stores vast amounts of information on all types of digital communications, including the internet and phone calls.
The agency is considered one of the best intelligence agencies in the global intelligence community, but the threat to its viability is increasing.
According to the report, the agency’s chief executive officer, David Drummond, has announced that the agency will be shutting down and the $7 billion in funding will be spent on a “dynamic, cost-efficient, and cost-effective replacement”.
Mr Drummond said the agency would “focus on a new and exciting and transformative strategy”.
But data analysts are warning that the funding cuts are not inevitable.
Data analysts have said the funding crunch is not the end of the world.
The Australian Strategic Policy Institute said in a statement that the organisation has a plan to meet “all the challenges of the future”, but “this is not a final decision and we are confident the next step is the right one”.
“Data analytics is a critical component of our national security, and it is our hope that this funding will provide the necessary funding for the agency to continue to deliver value for money and improve its performance,” the statement said.
“It will be a huge relief for our members, their families, and our national community.”
Deep Packet Intelligence, which was founded in 2005, was created by the US National Security Agency (NSA) as part of a covert program called XKeyscore.
The program, which became known as XKeysource, collected vast amounts to gather intelligence on foreign countries and institutions.
The NSA was also working on an alternative system, XKeysystem, which it said was designed to gather information about communications between US allies and China, but this was abandoned by the NSA in 2012.
In response to the funding cut, Mr Drummond told The Australian Financial Press that “the data collection and analysis is our mission, and that we will continue to do it as long as we need to.”
Deep Packets mission is to protect our nation, our allies and our citizens.
Our data collection, analysis and dissemination is necessary for us to do that.
The budget cuts have been announced under the federal budget framework, which gives agencies the option of raising funds from their shareholders or using the proceeds from sales of goods and services.”
We have seen this in the past, when the agencies [the US National security agencies] and the intelligence agencies [CIA] were looking for a way out of a tough budget,” Professor Scott said.”[But] this will be an issue that will have to be addressed and it will not be fixed overnight.”
The budget cuts have been announced under the federal budget framework, which gives agencies the option of raising funds from their shareholders or using the proceeds from sales of goods and services.
Professor Scott said the cuts were “hugely problematic” because the agency has already been under severe budget pressure since 2014.
“There’s been a lot of talk about the [intelligence] budget cut but the reality is the budget cut is going to be even bigger, it will be even more difficult to raise money, it’s going to put off important infrastructure, and so the next three years are going to see these agencies have to deal with this,” he said.
DeepPacket has faced financial problems since its inception, with the cost of operating the agency increasing from $3 million in 2015 to $4.5 million in 2017.
The organisation has been under pressure since its founding, with Mr Drummonds saying at a speech in November last year that the data analysis program was the “most significant thing that I have done in the organisation’s history”.
But the agency faced a funding crisis in 2018, when it ran out of funds to continue its operations.
It was forced to close its offices and move its headquarters to Sydney in order to continue operations.