Technology and online rights
iiNet has written a powerful submission to an Australian Senate Committee looking at telecommunications reform, stating the need to take data retention off the policy agenda to ensure the privacy of its customers. In a piece published in Continue Reading →
Today on ABC’s The Drum, the IPA’s Chris Berg warns that we ought to feel concerned about government regulators’ insatiable hunger for power:
This paper from 2012 finds that traditional crime costs the typical citizen at least a hundred-fold more than computer crime. The paper concludes that the best way to deal with cybercrime is Continue Reading →
A policy of mandatory data retention was proposed by former Attorney-General Nicola Roxon in July 2012, before being Continue Reading →
Parliamentary Secretary for Communications Paul Fletcher has announced that the government is planning to draft legislation for its ‘Children’s e-Safety Commissioner’, according to ZDNet Australia:
Fletcher said today that the government would now proceed with legislation on the eSafety commissioner.
“It is clear that all stakeholders share the same objective, that is, to protect children from online dangers such as cyberbullying,” he said.
“I welcome the input we have received in these many thoughtful submissions, which will be carefully considered as we proceed to develop legislation.”
This is a terrible policy, as Simon Breheny and I explained in our submission to the Department of Communications, and I wrote in the Sunday Age last weekend. The government’s proposals will do nothing to tackle the root causes of bullying, ignore solutions that already exist, and will vest the government with a vast new censorship power.
Of course we wait to see the legislation. But it’s astounding that at the exact time the government is looking at reforming the Racial Discrimination Act to protect freedom of speech, it would be also looking to clamp down on that very same freedom on social media networks.
The recently released submission by ASIO to the Senate Inquiry into the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979 argues, unashamedly, that Edward Snowden’s exposure of a massive US government encroachment on privacy means that Australia needs to massively encroach privacy too:
These changes are becoming far more significant in the security environment following the leaks of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Since the Snowden leaks, public reporting suggests the level of encryption on the internet has increased substantially. In direct response to these leaks, the technology industry is driving the development of new internet standards with the goal of having all Web activity encrypted, which will make the challenges of traditional telecommunications interception for necessary national security purposes far more complex.
You can read ASIO’s submission here. As the Sydney Morning Herald reported last night, many of Australia’s law enforcement bodies have lined up to support a mandatory data retention scheme. Even regulators like ASIC want data retention.
In 2012 Simon Breheny and I argued that the Gillard government’s proposed mandatory data retention would risk a serious breach of our civil liberties.
But the Snowden angle is a new one, demonstrating the rhetorical leaps that agencies such as ASIO are willing to make to grab new powers.
Well done to Alex Hawke for standing up against the federal government’s proposed anti-cyber bullying regime:
…Liberal MP Alex Hawke, deputy chairman of the last Parliament’s cyber safety committee and a member of the online safety working group, is not convinced Continue Reading →
Eternal vigilance is the price we pay for liberty.
Certainly that’s true when it comes to the seemingly perennial threat of mandatory data retention. Several government bodies have made a fresh push for the universal online surveillance regime. They’ve now been Continue Reading →