In a shocking revelation from Senate Estimates Hearings last week, the Australian Federal Police Commissioner Tony Negus has admitted that his officers hack Australian MPs’ phones:
The Australian Federal Police has admitted to Continue Reading →
The Washington Post is reporting that an Australian spy agency gathered more than 300,000 contact lists in a massive breach of individuals’ online privacy.
I’ve previously written that the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) was expected to be granted access to a US hacking program, allowing the spy agency access to personal email accounts, phone calls, social networking accounts, web searches and even bank accounts.
Former Attorney-General Nicola Roxon first put forward plans to introduce a blanket surveillance regime that would have spelled the end to Australian’s rights to privacy whilst browsing websites and sending emails. The IPA led the charge against the government’s spying proposal, with Roxon’s successor as Attorney-General, Mark Dreyfus QC, shelving the plans.
Now the retiring head of the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) John Lawler, is calling for ‘crucial’ Continue Reading →
The most recent Essential polling reveals that 45% of Australian are opposed to the US government secretly collecting phone and internet data. Just 24% favour government surveillance.
This latest poll is a yet another warning against anyone who wants Australia to give government agencies the power to monitor our online activity without the need for a warrant.
Careful what you retweet. New Chinese laws censoring tweets can land individuals in jail.
Yang Hui, a 16 year old from Zhangjiachuan, was recently locked up in a detention centre as one of his ‘false’ tweets on a Chinese microblogging site was retweeted more than the legal amount. Under new Chinese law:
…anyone whose message is retweeted more than 500 times on Chinese microblogs or is seen by more than 5000 online users can be subject to jail for up to three years if the original post turns out to be false.
Put simply, freedom of conscience demands that people are able to say things that are untrue without the state restricting expression. This includes being able to tweet something that turns out to be false.
If you think such government censorship is nothing new in China, you are correct. But if you think this kind of proposal would only be floated under a communist regime, you’re dead wrong.
The Finkelstein Review into media regulation, initiated by the Gillard government in 2012, recommended government-run media regulation of similarly successful bloggers. The review recommended that internet sites that had 15,000 hits per annum (a little over 41 hits a day) be subject to the proposed government media regulator that would be responsible for upholding standards including “accuracy.” Sound familiar?
If you’re using any form of electronic communication (including a mobile phone or email), Australian authorities will soon be monitoring you.
Confidential information about Australian security agencies is now emerging from Edward Snowden’s disclosure of confidential US security documents.
According to various leaked documents, the US National Security Agency operates a program called ‘Bullrun’ which breaks the security systems protecting personal email accounts, phone calls, social networking accounts, web searches and even banking systems. Recently leaked documents also show that the NSA repeatedly and knowingly breached court orders in relation to data spying. They cannot plead ignorance any longer: they are deliberately reading private communications.
Not only is the NSA using the program, but now even our own Australian Signals Directorate, is ‘expected to be granted access’.
The ASD would join the NSA and other intelligence agencies in the UK, New Zealand and Canada in using the program to spy on its own citizens.
If you thought the US was the only government listening in on its citizens, think again. Australia is soon to follow suit.
If you read one article this week make it this one:
Like hits for Katy Perry, the scandals for the National Security Agency just keep coming. In the wake of revelations that the NSA has been tracking virtually every phone call ever made and sifting through Internet data like a crazed prospector panning for gold at Sutter’s Mill, there’s yet more disturbing news with every passing day.
Nick Gillespie uses the piece to clearly outline the four principles that should form the basis of a classical liberal national security state. Gillespie’s four principles are:
1. Transparency uber alles
2. Legal authority is not optional
3. Target the bad guys
4. Track the effectiveness
These principles are an excellent guide to the development of national security policy in any liberal democracy. They are as relevant to the US as they are here. It’s only when these four principles are used as the basis for a national security state that the rule of law can be upheld and the human right to privacy respected.
Peggy Noonan has a must-read piece in the Wall Street Journal this week on the latest NSA revelations:
Siobhan Gorman and Jennifer Valentino-DeVries reported in this newspaper that the NSA, which is supposed to have only limited authority to spy on U.S. citizens, has built a surveillance network that covers substantially more communications than had been disclosed. The system is able to reach roughly 75% of all U.S. Internet traffic: “In some cases it retains the written content of emails sent between citizens within the U.S. and also filters domestic phone call made with Internet technology.” Sources on the story were current and former intelligence and government officials.
Also this week, a finding was revealed that the NSA violated the Constitution for three years running by collecting as many as 56,000 purely domestic communications without appropriate privacy protections. The secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court slammed the agency for “misrepresenting” its practices to the court, and noted it was the third time in less than three years the government misrepresented the scope of a collection program.
All this in just the past few days. Makes you wonder what might be coming in a Labor Day weekend document dump, doesn’t it?
To say the US has overdone surveillance is being laughably generous. When judges sitting on secret courts start getting annoyed about inadequate levels of transparency you know the surveillance state has gone way too far. It’s time for a return to specific warrants and a rejection of invasive, blanket spying.
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