Australia’s secretive spy agency will join Microsoft to build “cyber shields” around the country, as part of a new $5 billion investment by the company.
Microsoft will expand its ‘support’ for national cyber security systems and cloud computing services across Australia, after announcing the injection of $5 billion into the domestic marketplace.
The significant investment, Microsoft says, will “…support Australia’s ability to seize the economic and productivity advantages of artificial intelligence”.
Flanked by the Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese at the Australian embassy in Washington, Microsoft President Brad Smith said he was keen to ‘boost national cyber security’ in our country.
To do this, Microsoft will enter a more formal partnership with the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), to be called the Microsoft-ASD Cyber Shield.
Yes, that is our international intelligence agency, similar to if Microsoft teamed up with the CIA in the U.S.
This eyebrow-raising partnership “…will enhance joint capabilities to identify, prevent and respond to cyber threats, particularly nation-state cyber threats”.
Microsoft says it will “level up” its hyperscale cloud computing and AI infrastructure in Australia over the next two years by 250%, including the expansion of its local data centre footprint to a total of 29 sites across Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney.
“This significant investment from Microsoft recognises the Albanese Government’s focus on supporting and growing our tech sector, including our target of 1.2 million tech jobs by 2030.”
Microsoft’s high-profile announcement, delivered together with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in Washington, couldn’t come at a more ‘convenient’ time for both parties.
The company, prior to this announcement, was facing a number challenges in Australia — including cloud computing competition and regulatory uncertainty.
Australia is in the process of considering what regulation is appropriate for the ‘AI explosion’, in tandem with existing regulations and laws, such as the Privacy Act.
Microsoft’s collaboration gives it leverage as regulators decide how to approach AI tools.
It also comes right before the federal government is set to unveil its new cyber security strategy later this year, covering the period from 2023 to 2030 (boy that number likes popping up a lot).
The core of this upcoming 2023-2030 Cyber Security Strategy will focus on building six “cyber shields around Australia”, to ‘increase cyber resilience’.
Microsoft’s close participation in these efforts positions it as a partner to Australia as ‘cyber threats’ rise.
But what type of ‘cyber threats’ are on the way?
And can we trust Microsoft to held ‘defend’ against these ‘threats’?
Or could this be a way to ensure something does come to fruition?
Let’s not forget that Microsoft is synonymous with Bill Gates, Mr. Eugenics himself, and although he is no longer with the company, the infrastructure was built around his entire vision (with the deep state of course, and carried on through his lackies).
We have also seen in recent months some very ‘convenient’ ‘cyber attacks’ that have been used as a means to accelerate plans for national and state digital identity systems.
The World Economic Forum’s ‘Cyber Polygon’ event simulated a ‘high-level attack exercise’ in 2021, much like Event 201, with Klaus Schwab warning of a “cyber attack with COVID-like characteristics”.
So, what is really going on here?
I cannot ever remember seeing an ASD partnership publicly-announced like this.
Do they want cyber criminals/state actors to know exactly what type of systems they are using?
Part of this new partnership will also include more training and jobs for technology; a shared national commitment to fill 1.2 million tech jobs across the country by 2030.
Microsoft argues it needs to “..invest in the skills and capabilities needed for success in a digital economy for it to realise the full potential of its investment”, and the job market should shift with it.
Australia looks to be primed at the forefront of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and it could very well be that once it is all ‘built up’, that’s when it will all come ‘crashing down’ (by design).