The National Security Agency surveillance keeps getting more significant. In the Australian Financial Review on Friday, the IPA’s Executive Director John Roskam said this was a watershed moment for small government:
Barack Obama could end up doing more for the cause of small government than Adam Smith, Friedrich Hayek and the Tea Party put together.
Last week’s revelations about surveillance by the United States government of the phone records of millions of Americans would have been a major story at any time. But this has a special significance because it follows in the wake of a series of scandals involving the Obama administration’s abuse of political power and the abuse of confidential information.
And in the Sunday Age this week, I argued that Australians should worry about the scandal too:
Australia has not gotten quite that bad. But every policy change goes one way – towards more state power.
The Attorney-General’s Department wants Parliament to approve a suite of new security powers. This would include a massive data retention scheme, where records of all our internet usage would be kept by internet providers just in case we are later suspected of committing a crime.
The government is not transparent about what exactly these new powers would entail, or what they are supposed to solve. We have to piece together disparate pieces of information to figure out what our own government is doing.