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AU Government Demands Universal Wiretapping

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the that-means-all-over-the-place dept.

Privacy 236

StonyandCher writes "The Australian government is pushing a bill to force all telecommunications providers to facilitate lawful data interception across fixed and mobile telephone systems, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), Instant Messaging (IM) and chat room discussions. Sweeping reforms will make it easier than ever for law enforcement to intercept communications if amendments to the Telecommunications (Interceptions) Act are agreed upon by a Senate standing committee. This follows from a story earlier this week where the Australian government is legislating to allow employers to snoop on employees' email and IM conversations."

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Fitting for ... (5, Funny)

Sepiraph (1162995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23111416)

the land of the Criminals.

"Sweeping Reforms..." (4, Insightful)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 6 years ago | (#23111868)

"Reform"

NewSpeak alert.

Re:"Sweeping Reforms..." (1, Insightful)

paulthomas (685756) | more than 6 years ago | (#23112438)

They're just reforming in the wrong direction. Much like Venezuela's land "reform".

Re:Fitting for ... (5, Insightful)

Eth1csGrad1ent (1175557) | more than 6 years ago | (#23112562)

the land of the Criminals.

Such a fine line between +5 Funny and -1 Flamebait.

To me this is simply insulting. Guess it comes down to which side of the fence you sit on and safetly in numbers.
Since the gun control debate has already surfaced as the supposed reason Australians are facing the prospect of unrestricted government wire tapping, I think I'll take my criminal ancestry, sit back on my Aussie arse...cop the insult on the chin, turn the TV on to COPS or 48 Hours and watch some pro-gun Americans shoot each other.

Hows that Patriot Act working out for y'all BTW ?

Re:Fitting for ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23112890)

To me this is simply insulting.
You're obviously very small-minded.

Re:Fitting for ... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23112698)

I'd rather come from a land built on the sweat of criminals than one built on the sweat of slaves

They took guns away, so who's left to stop them? (5, Insightful)

ImYY4U (539546) | more than 6 years ago | (#23111446)

Nobody...

This is why it is so important that we in the US fight for ALL of our rights, however trivial they may seem. Because once one is taken away, the rest soon follow...

Re:They took guns away, so who's left to stop them (1)

KlomDark (6370) | more than 6 years ago | (#23111604)

Amen!

Very good point of view. We need to put an immediate end to allowing leadership by these short-sighted legislative drones. They are destroying a lot of good, for no apparent reason.

Re:They took guns away, so who's left to stop them (4, Insightful)

name*censored* (884880) | more than 6 years ago | (#23111788)

@ Title: Now, I hardly think anyone's going to start an armed revolution over THIS. Armed revolutions are for when democracy fails (some might argue this has already happened, but that's another can of beans) or the government does something that is universally dispised - otherwise, the best way to announce your objection is to vote on it. If anything, having guns makes the situation worse, because it gives the illusion that people have a "nuclear option" - when really, they don't (I would imagine that the government/army would win in a fight vs the people). As an Australian, I'm glad the guns have been taken away - we have few real reasons for them (you can get gun permits for hunting), and they otherwise do more harm than good.

But good point about fighting for your rights, it's just a terrible shame so few people are passionate AND informed enough to understand the implications of potential laws and not just the PR-wrapper ("Won't Somebody Please Think Of The Children").

Re:They took guns away, so who's left to stop them (4, Interesting)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 6 years ago | (#23111942)

You're assuming the state would retain full control and command of the entire armed forces. If something truly devastating to the fabric of democracy happened that shook us to the very core, I'm sure the military would not be spared in being divided. So you combine that with a populous of well armed resistance fighters acting as irregular forces along with what ever military and paramilitary groups that oppose the government, and you could have a successful resistance. History is full of examples of small, vastly out gunned forces defeating a large conventional army using asymmetric warfare. Look what happened to the US in Vietnam, or the Soviets in Afghanistan or now the US in Afghanistan/Iraq. And just on a personal level, I'd rather die in a shoot out than in front of a firing squad if those are the choices.

Re:They took guns away, so who's left to stop them (1)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 6 years ago | (#23112484)

History is full of examples of small, vastly out gunned forces defeating a large conventional army using asymmetric warfare. Look what happened to the US in Vietnam,

Afghanistan and Iraq aside, in Vietnam the US was not significantly screwed until the NVA regulars got involved in a big way. And they had tanks.

Re:They took guns away, so who's left to stop them (3, Insightful)

MvD_Moscow (738107) | more than 6 years ago | (#23112548)

What makes you think that the American government won't retain control of the armed forces in case of an "emergency"? What makes you think that a significant portion of potential paramilitary groups won't support the government in an "emergency"? Since when did the 'rightist faction' of Americans start admitting that America does make mistakes? I didn't see any large scale protests (involving people from across the political spectrum) against the 'Patriot' act or the Bush's totalitarian policies such as the use of unlawful wiretrapping/torture/war mongering?

All your examples are largely irrelevant, they all involve a nation being invaded/occupied by an external power. That's no where near the same thing as a successful resistance against your own government. And lets not forget that South Vietnamese received enormous support from their brothers up north/the USSR.

I dare you to give me a recent example where the population was able to successfully organize a resistance against a relatively well funded/organized government that was willing to use military force to remain in power. African regimes with constant rebellions and other chaos don't count. Now you might say that this kind of stuff always happens in countries were personal firearms are banned, but that's just an excuse. We both know that if your government allows you to bear arms, chances are your democratic institutions are sufficiently developed for a rebellion not to occur in the first place.

The idea of firearms being a last resort for the protection of democracy is a myth. Chances are by the time you get to the point where you have to use the last resort, you won't have your firearms. Traditions/norms/values don't change overnight, you can't go from a relatively well functioning democracy to a totalitarian state in one night, not without external influences that render your last resort argument meaningless (fighting an external enemy is a whole different story).

Now don't get me wrong, I don't oppose the use of personal firearms. I do favor more regulation and bans on M16s and stuff, but in principle I am fine with people having licensed pistols for self protection and licensed rifles for hunting. I would never by a gun myself, but if you are into this kind of stuff it's your choice. What I do oppose is the promotion of the myth that democracy can be protected with firearms. It's a stupid idea that underlines a fundamental misunderstanding of democracy, the whole point of democracy is to promote compromise and enable solution without the use of violence.

Re:They took guns away, so who's left to stop them (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 6 years ago | (#23112658)

You make a very good point about gun-owners being likely to side with government. Take out the ultra-patriotic and your remaining gun owners are probably mostly criminals or whackos.

Re:They took guns away, so who's left to stop them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23113240)

Pansy. I will be sure to wave bye-bye as they take you away.

Re:They took guns away, so who's left to stop them (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 6 years ago | (#23112828)

History is full of examples of small, vastly out gunned forces defeating a large conventional army using asymmetric warfare. Look what happened to the US in Vietnam, or the Soviets in Afghanistan or now the US in Afghanistan/Iraq.
So...when were you planning on giving us an example of a "small, vastly out gunned forces defeating a large conventional army using asymmetric warfare"?

Not to be pedantic, but none of your examples were military defeats. They were all political decisions. And while Vietnam and the Soviet defeat are borderline when it comes to illustrating your point (mainly due to the large human loses incurred by the major powers), using the current Afghanistan and Iraq campaigns as an example is just ludicrous.

Re:They took guns away, so who's left to stop them (1)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 6 years ago | (#23113190)

The current situation in Iraq and Afghanistan is an apt comparison because the forces that we are trying to defeat there have persisted despite the best effort of the greatest military power on Earth. They are using the same kinds of tactics and equipment that can be found or improvised for in the US, and their numbers are actually much fewer than would be found in a type of citizen revolt in the United States following a catastrophic loss of confidence in, or outright betrayal by the government. The people fighting us in Iraq will continue to fight, using the proven tactics of guerrilla warfare until we leave. That's another advantage, they actually don't have to defeat us to be victorious, they just have to hang on long enough until we no longer have the political will to carry on the fight--that IS a victory for them.

Re:They took guns away, so who's left to stop them (1)

Architect_sasyr (938685) | more than 6 years ago | (#23112342)

Move to Adelaide, I made that mistake mid last year. Just because the weapons have been taken away doesn't mean they're not there ("Criminalise the gun and only the criminals will have guns or whatever it is") and the amount of fire power in this city is phenomenal (albeit concealed - so entirely unlike America). Taking them away didn't really solve the problem, it just prevented every dick and his dog from getting one (ok, I will concede this is a good thing)

How would we go about fighting for our rights exactly? If someone tells me that all I can do is write a letter to my local MP then I'm mildly disturbed that this would be my only option...

Re:They took guns away, so who's left to stop them (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#23112498)

...the best way to announce your objection is to vote on it.

You know that yours is the only post that mentions the word "vote"? (before mine anyway) At least someone maintains a semblance of reason while all about you is losing theirs. Less than 1% is showing any objection by voting the bums out. Wake me when it reaches 51%. Then if they don't vacate the office, they can cry about not having their guns. The people have spoken, and they don't care how intrusive the government gets. In fact they seem to like it. They feel safe. That's the way the cookie crumbles.

Re:They took guns away, so who's left to stop them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23113016)

As an Australian you seem to be pretty misinformed.

In 1992 pro and anti gun groups estimated betwen 2 and 10 million guns in the country.

700,000 were bought back in the gun buy back scheme. So only a small percentage of guns have been removed from the community.

You're deluding yourself if you think the gun laws of 1996 have made you safer, so says the Australian Institute Of Criminology...

http://www.aic.gov.au/research/homicide/homicideRate2.png [aic.gov.au]
http://www.aic.gov.au/publications/rpp/77/rpp77.pdf [aic.gov.au]
http://www.smh.com.au/ffximage/2006/12/13/gr_guns_narrowweb__300x362,0.jpg [smh.com.au]

And no you can't just get hunting permits willy nilly, you have to own a farm and show a need to remove pests. Also, by getting a gun license now you give the government power of entry into your home at all times with no warrant.

Regarding the ability of our government to prevent a full blown revolution...You have got to be kidding. There's ~40,000 people in the Army here, provided you could even get half of them to go to war against their own countrymen, we're a country of 20 million, vs 20,000. If 100,000 thousand people will turn out to protest the iraq war, I reckon I could find at least 50,000 to take up arms and march down Commonwealth Ave in Canberra if the government ran away with itself.

The cynics among us do tend to see a correlation between the man who drove the pre-written gun laws through on the back of a national tragedy in 1996, admitting on many occasions that he knew didn't believe they would reduce gun crime. As the same man who tried to tear the foundations of this country apart and rebuild it in an image that *he* prefered whether the we liked it or not. The same man sho shut and locked down the CBD of the biggest city in the country, surrounded it with barbed wire fences and 5000 armed agents so that the rich and powerful could rub shoulders without having to worry about seeing or hearing the rabble. He was a little emperor and thank $diety, our system of governance worked extremely well and never allowed him to fully project his narrow idea of what this country should be onto everyone else.

That said I do agree with you, democracy and liberty in general is better protected by robust debate, citizen involvement and under our (Australian) system a strong *diverse* senate. If the only reason the governing power isn't authoritarian is because it fears out an out revolution...then the country is already lost.

Re:They took guns away, so who's left to stop them (4, Informative)

Trentus (1017602) | more than 6 years ago | (#23112022)

Didn't they really only take away semi-automatics? You know, the one's that can kill a lot of people in a very short amount of time? Admittedly, I was only about 8 at the time of the Port Arthur massacre, so my understanding of what took place following is a little hazy, but from what I remember, they put a ban on semi-automatic weapons, and it was made mandatory that you have a firearms license and register each firearm you own.

So, we still have guns, but in order to get them, you must be at least 18 years of age, licensed, and the weapons must be registered and kept in secure storage.

Re:They took guns away, so who's left to stop them (4, Insightful)

HillBilly (120575) | more than 6 years ago | (#23112158)

So how is a gun going to protect you when the goverment can bomb you from miles away or 30,000 feet?

Re:They took guns away, so who's left to stop them (4, Insightful)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 6 years ago | (#23112872)

So how is a gun going to protect you when the goverment can bomb you from miles away or 30,000 feet?
Ah, yes, all those WW2 foot-soldiers were totally redundant, we should have just fought with bombers. And why the hell are there men on the ground in Iraq? Should have just bombed them into the stone-age, right?

Seriously, I can see that you obviously have no military experience, but that comment is pretty ignorant even for a run-of-the-mill civilian. Give your head a shake. The airforce may be able to destroy shit in a spectacular fashion, but only men with guns can actually hold ground. You can't occupy a piece of land from 30,000 feet, no matter how many bombs you have.

Re:They took guns away, so who's left to stop them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23113026)

well, I think the theory goes that airforce pilots aren't going to bomb their own people. Of course, if they've been brainwashed well enough, then the theory breaks down. Ideally, the armed forces should recognise that they exist to protect the country from external enemies only, and refuse to deploy inside their own borders unless the country has been invaded, but experience shows that they probably won't so that's a bit moot.

Re:They took guns away, so who's left to stop them (1)

purplepolecat (1108483) | more than 6 years ago | (#23112524)

Yes, hang on to those guns, they are the sole reason that this kind of unconstitutional domestic surveillance program could never happen in the U.S.

Seriously, when they come to strip you of your rights, do you think they're actually going to ring the doorbell and say "Hi I'm from the government, I'm here for your rights", and then act really surprised when you march them off your property at gunpoint ?

You WON'T see them coming. You WON'T get to fight back.

Re:They took guns away, so who's left to stop them (1)

Pseudonym (62607) | more than 6 years ago | (#23112616)

Seriously, when they come to strip you of your rights, do you think they're actually going to ring the doorbell and say "Hi I'm from the government, I'm here for your rights", and then act really surprised when you march them off your property at gunpoint?

Of course! Don't you know your history? The government tried to intern a lot of Japanese-Americans in WW2, but it didn't work because all of those law-abiding gun owners stopped them!

And don't forget the Patriot Act! I remember well the NRA marching against that particular piece of legislation!

Re:They took guns away, so who's left to stop them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23112670)

Idiot. Nobody "took guns away" - nobody over here had them in the first place. Besides, what good are guns when the government has better guns, many more troops, tanks, aircraft, bombs, missiles, and god knows what else?

Re:They took guns away, so who's left to stop them (2, Insightful)

adona1 (1078711) | more than 6 years ago | (#23112732)

Guns only seem to be something to care about in the US...

Speaking as an Australian, it didn't make that much difference when most guns were banned following the Port Arthur shootings [wikipedia.org] . Semi-automatics & shotguns were generally banned, and it was mainly people in rural areas (farmers etc) who had these for pest control. Gun violence in Australia makes the news in a big way because it's so uncommon - more often than not it's between underworld figures/biker gangs etc than against civilians.

So please don't try to use something as important as proposed universal wiretapping to push a pro-gun agenda on the other side of the world, because over here one is an important fight for civil liberties and the other is ancient history that was supported by most Australians.

Having said that, please do fight for your rights over in the US, because most Australian politicians seem to have a monkey see, monkey do approach to policy and if Americans stand up against wiretapping etc, then there might be less chance of legislation allowing it being enacted here.

Re:They took guns away, so who's left to stop them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23112960)

Just because the right to bear arms is written into the US constitution and heralded as a fundamental right by American conservatives does not mean that conservatives worldwide agree with that notion.

In fact it was "the most right wing prime minister that Australia has ever had" (Paul Keating - the most left wing Prime Minster Australia ever had - said this) who implemented the tough gun control laws here in this country.

I personally am a Liberal voter. Before you scream at me for being a leftist, realise that in Australia the Liberal party are the conservatives, the Labor party are the populist leftists and the green party are most closely associated with the far left. I despise the shallow populism of the current centre-left party (which is currently brilliantly demonstrating how to impose doublethink upon the masses), but in no way do we need or are even considering a violent coup in our country.

In fact, despite - or maybe because of our cultural history as a bunch of criminals, there is a very conservative culture in this country when it comes to trusting those in power. In fact the previous conservative government was kicked out of power despite all of the statistics saying that real wages (after inflation) had grown, governmental debt had been paid off, personal wealth was the highest that it had been in Australia's history and unemployment was the lowest that it had been since the Menzies era (a conservative PM who held office for 18 years - 16 of those in a row). We are skeptical of our leadership in this country and are not afraid of kicking out a government when necessary. But above all, we are one of the longest lived democracies and will continue to be that without the need for private gun ownership.
 

Re:They took guns away, so who's left to stop them (1)

beav007 (746004) | more than 6 years ago | (#23113162)

Precisely. Because gun ownership in the USA has prevented unconstitutional laws [wikipedia.org] , illegal wiretapping [politechbot.com] and government-mandated human rights abuses [wikipedia.org] .

Gun laws are now being tightened in Australia (thankfully), with farmers being required to justify ownership of handguns. And it's about time.

The civilian ownership of guns in the USA is a false sense of power and security. Should anything happen, in response to which the use of guns would be appropriate, your army of (1) Go-it-alone Rambos; (2) idiots who don't know which end of the gun to hold; (3) patriots who will side with the government, no matter what they say or do; and (4) wack-jobs who will use it as an excuse to carry out personal vendettas will be entirely ineffective against the large amount of the military and police-force who will do as they are told.

THE NEW WORLD ORDER (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23111476)

It's time to start killing politicians.

lets spy on everybody (5, Insightful)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 6 years ago | (#23111478)

including the all of the governments of the world, whats good for the goose is good for the gander & vis/versa...

Re:lets spy on everybody (3, Insightful)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 6 years ago | (#23111822)

Insightful indeed, the law as it stands applies to all business right? So government contractors would have their emails subject to this as well. Would government employees be subject too? Since third party contractors can gain access to the information, what would prevent them from publishing all the correspondence between the gov and its contractors? Wouldn't it be lawful for a private company (or a NFP like the EFF or someone) to get "permission" to access all such emails and publish them?

Re:lets spy on everybody (1)

GonzoPhysicist (1231558) | more than 6 years ago | (#23112592)

Working at a government research facility I already have to sign my right to privacy away when using any computer. I'm curious who has a right to view this information though.

Welcome to the club. (4, Insightful)

StreetStealth (980200) | more than 6 years ago | (#23111488)

This sounds just like the USA CALEA program.

I hereby patent Latency Delayed Messaging (0, Offtopic)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 6 years ago | (#23111498)

By employing the physical distance between two points and the limit to the speed at which information can be propagated these messages will experience a delay between the time the sender transmits the message and the recipient receives the message.

I also hereby place this patent into the public domain.

I do wish I could figure how they managed instant communications. Blasted C going and ruining my plans.

Re:I hereby patent Latency Delayed Messaging (0, Offtopic)

Gideon Fubar (833343) | more than 6 years ago | (#23111850)

I hear you.. but delayed.

also, why was this modded offtopic?

Pick that up... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23111520)

Only a 27 year old graduate of MIT with an interest in theoretical and practical teloportation could save Australians now!

Please apply somewhere in Arizona, goatee, handiness with a crowbar encouraged. Mutes are welcome to apply. Benefits may include hot woman being inexplicably attracted to you, becoming a cult figure for human and other species. Workplace hazard pay not included.

Thats funny (2, Insightful)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 6 years ago | (#23111556)

I was under the impression that Oceania was supposed to be the former UK along with some of Europe. Perhaps I've been misinformed?

Re:Thats funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23111922)

You have been. Oceania was the The British Isles, both Americas, Australia/ NZ and a big chunk of South Africa

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oceania_%28Nineteen_Eighty-Four%29

Re:Thats funny (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23112038)

AU has become a vassal of the US.

Re:Thats funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23112336)

Oceania was never an ally of Euroasia!

Re:Thats funny (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 6 years ago | (#23112672)

No, Oceania includes the UK, but none of Europe, Europe all belongs to Eurasia, along with Turkey and most of the old Soviet Union (that's why the UK is "Airstrip One"). Oceania is the UK, all the Americas, Australia, and Africa south of the bulge. Eastasia is China, Japan and northern India, for the most part. The rest is disputed territory.

How long until... (4, Insightful)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#23111558)

"We have always been at war with Oceania."

Re:How long until... (3, Insightful)

Mr. Beatdown (1221940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23111700)

We have always been at war with Eastasia.

What's the deal with Australia the last few years? (3, Interesting)

KlomDark (6370) | more than 6 years ago | (#23111566)

Have they actually had any circumstances justifying such Draconian legislation?

Or is this just a big power grab?

If any country should be aware of the dangers of somewhat-haphazardly designating a large number of people as criminal/undesirable/incorrigible, it should be Australia. A whole bunch of supposedly worthless uncivilizable "criminals" shipped to Australia as "lost causes" turned the whole thing around and built themselves a nice place to live, and now they are fucking it back up themselves. Trying to turn most of themselves back into so-called "criminals".

I do not understand.

Re:What's the deal with Australia the last few yea (2, Insightful)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 6 years ago | (#23111792)

It's not a big power grab, it's the influence of America and it's policies that is hurtling us down this path - rather sadly at that.

Re:What's the deal with Australia the last few yea (4, Informative)

WaltBusterkeys (1156557) | more than 6 years ago | (#23111802)

Have they actually had any circumstances justifying such Draconian legislation?

The headline is incredibly misleading.

The law, like the US CALEA, just says that law enforcement needs to be able to tap into the system upon showing a lawful warrant. It's a technical standardization measure, not a warrantless wiretap measure.

It makes it easier to abuse the system, but nothing about this law allows warrantless wiretaps. It makes it possible for law enforcement to have a standardized set of hardware used to access lawful (with warrant) wiretaps.

Re:What's the deal with Australia the last few yea (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23111874)

Chances all this power will never be abused? 0%

Chances some of this power will be abused? 100%

Chances it's going to improve the quality of life for the average Australian? 0%

Seems like voting NO is a no-brainer here.

Re:What's the deal with Australia the last few yea (2, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#23113192)

Chances all this power will never be abused? 0%

Chances some of this power will be abused? 100%
Which says the same thing, and amounts to "no system is perfect, there's always the possibility for abuse". If you followed through on that we'd have no power strucures at all, only anarchy.

Chances it's going to improve the quality of life for the average Australian? 0%
Quite. It's not like wiretaps are doing anyone any good and they should be banned outright. Wait, are they part of making law enforcement work and making a civilized society under the rule of law? Nope, no benefit there.

Seems like voting NO is a no-brainer here.
Maybe it is, but I didn't see it. I saw two knee-jerk reactions and a general conclusion you can use against pretty much anything.

Re:What's the deal with Australia the last few yea (4, Interesting)

Mike89 (1006497) | more than 6 years ago | (#23113220)

Seems like voting NO is a no-brainer here.
Voting no? Coming from an Australian, we don't have a choice.

And fuck off they don't do this already. An Australian guy posted on 4chan [wikipedia.org] saying he was going to shoot up a mall in America (obviously bullshit). Someone, we managed to figure out who this guy was. How? Obviously 4chan is Anonymous. I seriously doubt they handed over his IP, because I seriously doubt they had it (highest turnover I've ever seen, thread would've died before the authorities did shit). Which leaves what? Data logging. Maybe not here, almost definitely there, but to me it's fucking scary that they tracked this guy down and tried to fine him a shitload ($20, 000 I recall), just because he was talking shit on some website.

Re:What's the deal with Australia the last few yea (1)

Gideon Fubar (833343) | more than 6 years ago | (#23111884)

The AFP have been pushing hard for powers like this. As far as they're concerned, this law is a slapdown. .. That is, it doesn't give them anywhere near the powers they've been saying they 'need'.

I'm still not happy about it though.

Re:What's the deal with Australia the last few yea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23112180)

and now they are fucking it back up themselves?

really? then why are they rolling over and doing whatever the USA tells them?

Hell we have controlled canada and the UK for decades, Oz was a easy thing to control.

Hate that comment? then rise up and force your government to work for you and not the US intrests.

If you dont, then you love US control over you.

Re:What's the deal with Australia the last few yea (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23112184)

>> Or is this just a big power grab?

more or less... except it's more an attempt at efficient legal tapping, rather than blanket civil spying.

As for all the oblig 'criminal' comments... it's quite rare for an Australian to be descended from so called 'convicts'. And even if they were, you should be careful to lump 'convicts' in with 'criminals'. Many of the 'convicts' deported to Australia in the 19th century were Irish, Scottish and other minority groups deemed undesirable in England, and were deported for minor crimes such as pinching bread to feed their families. Sure, some were deported for assault and murder, but a good portion weren't. The 'convicts' who built Australia at the urging of the empire were little more than white slaves.

By all means comment on the erosion of civil liberties, but don't call us criminals.

Re:What's the deal with Australia the last few yea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23112400)

Convicted of being Irish? Sounds like a criminal to me!

Re:What's the deal with Australia the last few yea (1)

mge (120046) | more than 6 years ago | (#23112416)

Very shortly after the colony was first set up, it became obvious that very few people, especially those of any sort of professsional standing in GB, were willing to risk either the new continent, or even the journey itself.

Therefore, many people (such as Francis Greenway, architect) were selected for transportation on relatively minor charges. In short, transportation became way to get very specific, particular, skills to the new colony.

Re:What's the deal with Australia the last few yea (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 6 years ago | (#23112610)

I was hoping that after Little Johnny was kicked out that sort of policy would stop.

Meet the new lizard, same as the old lizard.

We were first (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 6 years ago | (#23111580)

If all that passes in the worst possible way, it is about what we have in the US now. All data from a user, given a subpoena, shall be sent to the government. It has been ruled in the US that the computer and everything running on it and through it belongs to the owner. If you get a work computer for work, they own all emails you send from it, files you store on it, and can track everything you do through the corporate Internet connection. That's all perfectly legal now in the US. So, hearing some other country could be getting closer to what the US has been for years, I bring myself to utter a apathetic "so what." (now, if I were in Australia, I might be pissed about this, but I have no idea what the state of the law is down there now for what they can and can't do, so I don't know if this is a very minor change or a huge difference to them)

Re:We were first (3, Insightful)

Umuri (897961) | more than 6 years ago | (#23111622)

I would argue that you are comparing apples to oranges good sir.

A company handing over data about what happens on their network is VASTLY different from the government being able to spy on what a user does in their personal time at home.

You should always assume you have no privacy in a corporate environment, because a company is paying for YOUR time. Therefore if you do anything other than work on that connection/resources, you are just being stupid.

That is like complaining that you work at 7:11 and there's a camera monitoring you, so if the government puts cameras in your home, it's the exact same thing.

VOIP (1)

EverDense (575518) | more than 6 years ago | (#23111600)

Can someone explain how exactly are they going to snoop on encrypted VOIP conversations?

Re:VOIP (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 6 years ago | (#23111680)

Hah! You think VOIP conversations are encrypted?

Unlikely.

Re:VOIP (1)

Lord Pillage (815466) | more than 6 years ago | (#23111940)

I'm sure there's a way to encrypt it, but it kinda makes it impractical. Voip is only feasible by making the delay as little as possible. By adding an encrypt/decrypt step I would certainly expect some delay.

On another note, who really cares if the government finds out your mom sent a care package in the mail? Unless that care package is meant to take care of someone for good (if you catch my drift).

Re:VOIP (2, Insightful)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 6 years ago | (#23112074)

Voip is only feasible by making the delay as little as possible. By adding an encrypt/decrypt step I would certainly expect some delay.

I don't know if you've been keeping up, but CPUs are getting pretty fast. Network latency will dwarf encryption overhead by several orders of magnitude.

On another note, who really cares if the government finds out your mom sent a care package in the mail?

If they are legislating that the networks will be required to have security holes, the question becomes: who really cares if everyone can listen to all of your phone calls?

If I were a thief, I would be very interested in exactly when you are expecting a package. Narrowing my target would save me some time and risk.

Re:VOIP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23111970)

They are if you do it yourself...

Re:VOIP (4, Informative)

Quattro Vezina (714892) | more than 6 years ago | (#23112000)

IP phones can and do support TLS encryption over the SRTP [wikipedia.org] media protocol. Not all of them use or support this feature, but TLS/SRTP calls happen.

I work at a VoIP-related company, and trust me, we deal heavily with TLS/SRTP calls.

Re:VOIP (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23111690)

They won't, they'll just make encrypting VoIP illegal - if you encrypt VoIP, you're preventing the wiretapping that'll be legally mandated to be possible, so you will be automatically a criminal.

Re:VOIP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23112272)

They cant unless they put a bug in your machine. Skype is automatically encrypted and I recall the German government was trying to tap Skype with little success.

Re:VOIP (1)

bug1 (96678) | more than 6 years ago | (#23112404)

Well if they cant snoop then it must be a tool of the terrorists, it must be banned !

551 Projects and counting.... (1)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 6 years ago | (#23111616)

Don't worry aussies! some freindly type folks have been so kind as to share encryption software! [sourceforge.net] And how precisely will the AU Government deal with that? If everyone there starts encrypting all their IM's Emails and VoIP calls, there is simply not enough processing power to make it valuable to tap anything in the first place. I predict significant backlash once Law Enforcement figures out that this isn't going to help them at all, but rather it is going to popularize encryption (which is in my view A Good Thing Anyway).

Re:551 Projects and counting.... (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 6 years ago | (#23111646)

Make encryption illegal! /sarcasm

Re:551 Projects and counting.... (1)

Mike89 (1006497) | more than 6 years ago | (#23113258)

Make encryption illegal! /sarcasm
I think you're overestimating our government.

Re:551 Projects and counting.... (1)

lordSaurontheGreat (898628) | more than 6 years ago | (#23111780)

That would do nothing more than create more funds for faster chips. It takes time to legitimately decrypt data as well as to break the encryption, too! If everyone started encrypting their data, and assuming that the government started actively breaking everyone's encryption, people would simply buy bigger and faster chips, as would the government.


Also, this would fuel an interest in better encryption technologies. Hopefully it would also start people using stronger hashing techniques. I'm amazed that there aren't many services that use the much stronger Whirlpool hashing algorithm, instead opting for weaker SHA1 and MD5 sums. You can go to sites which will break those digests and find you a collision - for free!


In the end, that which does not kill us makes us stronger. Wouldn't harming privacy only make it stronger? Assuming its not killed to the point that it's beyond recussitation, of course. It wouldn't be funny if we actually had a 1984 going on for real.

As everyone knows (1)

Verteiron (224042) | more than 6 years ago | (#23111676)

All that iocaine must be affecting their thinking.

Re:As everyone knows (1)

zedlander (1271502) | more than 6 years ago | (#23111734)

No, mate, it's the vegemite.

Re:As everyone knows (1)

Gideon Fubar (833343) | more than 6 years ago | (#23111924)

Yes, and we've spent the last lifetime building up an immunity.

Can they trace this post? (0, Troll)

tyrantking31 (1115607) | more than 6 years ago | (#23111688)

I guess that's why no one ever threatens to move to Australia.

Maybe it's a deterrant to itself? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23111710)

Sometimes, I like to think that maybe, just maybe, some of these laws are going to intentionally fail, and set a precedent. I guess that's idealism for you.

Stop relying on "service providers"! (1)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 6 years ago | (#23111722)

Service providers can be regulated. Software cannot (at least not easily).

And remember: if governments can intercept, other parties can too. Regardless of where you fall within the fascist/anarchist spectrum, privacy is something that must be implemented by the endpoints.

It doesn't surprise me that governments are trying to do this, but their efforts ought to be in vain. From a network's or provider's PoV, VoIP and IM should just be a bunch of ciphertext.

Re:Stop relying on "service providers"! (1)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 6 years ago | (#23111864)

Yup. Put a couple of taps on the PM's phone, with realtime relay of all his telephone calls over radio and TCP.
After all if he can listen to us, we can listen to whoever is wasting our money.

Surprise surprise (1)

Fuzzums (250400) | more than 6 years ago | (#23111746)

Well, not really, but if the police (and higher up the investigation chain) aren't able to (and already do so) tap IM and video streams I'll eat my socks.

Re:Surprise surprise (1)

bluemetal (1269852) | more than 6 years ago | (#23111834)

Certainly if it is already the case, I bet there are a great number of people who would prefer not to even know it was happening. The old ignorance is bliss argument. But whether or not ignorance IS bliss, we can certainly conclude that the governments of the world don't seem to think so.

Behind the Times (2, Funny)

Sentry21 (8183) | more than 6 years ago | (#23111786)

Pfft, this is sad. Ambrosia's offered a Universal Binary of Wiretap Pro [yourmaclifeshow.com] since last August.

I know Australia's a little behind sometimes, but seriously, this is what automatic updates are for.

Has always been legal to snoop au emails (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23111870)

It has always been legal for employers to snoop on email
in Australia. The courts had ruled that the e-mail is
the property of the business; if they had a reason to
snoop, they could snoop, no matter how slim the pretext.
Now, I guess the rule change means that they can
make the monitoring full-time, all accounts, all the time.

The Helen something, John Howards' communications minister
had 'guidelines' on workers
e-mail rights, but typical of governments, they refused
to put this code of practice into law.

Funny how it goes (1)

overshoot (39700) | more than 6 years ago | (#23111902)

Time was, countries like the USA and Australia prided themselves on standing up for individual freedom and protecting the rights of the individual against the State. Well, it seems there is a life cycle to cultures as much as anything else.

I'm old enough that I worry more for my grandchildren than for myself, but I am inclined to take some degree of pride and comfort in the thought that my parents' generation managed to spread some of those values widely. What I've seen from Brazil, for instance, gives me hope that there are seeds of Jefferson and Paine scattered around the world for when we forget them.

Re:Funny how it goes (1)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 6 years ago | (#23112468)

Time was, countries like the USA and Australia prided themselves on standing up for white male landholder freedom and protecting the rights of the white male landholder against the State
There, corrected that for ya! :)

It's easy to pick out some bad trends and conclude that the world is going to hell in a handbasket. It's equally easy to pick out some good ones and conclude that we're entering a golden age. Both conclusions are grotesque oversimplifications. Where the exact balance is, I've been unable to determine in the mere four decades or so of my life, but I have come to the conclusion that things are getting better and worse at ever-increasing rates. I'm not sure I believe in the singularity, but the last couple of centuries have been a wild ride, and it doesn't look like it's slowing down any time soon. :)

In the instant case, I might suggest that the governments in question have removed the "white" and "male" requirements over time, but have decided that "landowner" was too inclusive, so now they just work to protect the rights and freedoms of corporate officers and directors. Of any race or sex. It's the old principle of "one lobbyist, one vote". If you don't like it, go buy yourself a lobbyist and get your own vote. :)

Universal? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23111932)

You'll need a pretty long wire to tap the Andromeda galaxy

How can they watch instant messaging? (1)

raving griff (1157645) | more than 6 years ago | (#23111934)

How can they watch instant messaging? Chat room conversation? To monitor either (and especially the latter) could easily violate privacy that they have no business violating. While people in Australia will be contacting other people in Australia, what about international conversation? I, for one, have several contacts in my Buddy List who live in Australia, and the IRC channel that I regularly visit has it's fair share of Australian visitors. Does that mean that I will be monitored as well? Does that mean that what I say will go down in Australia's little black book? What right, then, would Australia have to collect information from people who don't even live in their country? What right would Australia have to monitor me, a citizen of the USA, or anyone else who is not an Australian citizen?

Re:How can they watch instant messaging? (0, Troll)

What me a Coward (875774) | more than 6 years ago | (#23112254)

Your line of reasoning presuposess that the Constution and or liberty exists in Austrailia which it does in fact not.

    The goverment has ultimate say about what goes on ar is allowed within it's boarders that includes youre email conversations with whatever friends their you may have as they see fit to pass their laws to that affect.

    In other words It aint the land of any free or home of the brave! And Freedom isn't free It comes with great sacrafice and vigilance or goes as a whimper in the night.

Re:How can they watch instant messaging? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23112338)

Does that mean that I will be monitored as well?

Yes.

Does that mean that what I say will go down in Australia's little black book?

Only if you're being naughty.

What right, then, would Australia have to collect information from people who don't even live in their country?

Because your conversation is going over wires that are in Australia.

What right would Australia have to monitor me, a citizen of the USA, or anyone else who is not an Australian citizen?

Citizenship has nothing to do with it, numbnuts. Australia is a sovereign nation. A sovereign nation can control what goes on in its territory.

And, when authorized by a judge, it is perfectly reasonable to wiretap your pathetic chat room conversations.

Beware the politician with "freedom" as an agenda (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 6 years ago | (#23111968)

I love how "freedom" and "anti-terrorism" are the new trademark things being fought for whenever the governments bolster their own power and authority. I wonder if that is the case in countries such as China and the like where the government is already insanely powerful - do you hear the Chinese ministers making announcements such as "We are going to mobilize the army and arrest these protesters because they are all threats to the freedoms of the Chinese people."

I'm running out of toilet paper... (1)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 6 years ago | (#23112042)

... Can someone hand me our Constitution? It's a kindness compared to what the government is doing to it.

Re:I'm running out of toilet paper... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23112290)

You seem to be under the impression that the Australian Constitution actually says something meaningful about freedom of speech or privacy or the like.

Here's a tip: it doesn't. We've never been free.

Re:I'm running out of toilet paper... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23112340)

Good luck with that. When you're done, you might want to read the headline again. Australia doesn't have a Constitution that guarantees any personal rights.

Is Howard still in office? (1)

Randym (25779) | more than 6 years ago | (#23112202)

Because this sounds like something that *he* would be pushing. I guess Australians have a funny-peculiar definition of "liberal".

The Terrorists Have Won (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#23112252)

If the Qaeda's dreams came true, it would have us hand it our huge telecom infrastructure so their terrorists could spy on our every move.

Why bother fighting when we're just laying down and surrendering?

Re:The Terrorists Have Won (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23112496)

#define TERRORIST

Re:The Terrorists Have Won (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#23112948)

Terrorists are people who use fear of threatened violence to coerce people into political changes.

Sounds just like the Australian government's actions here.

Re:The Terrorists Have Won (1)

PopeGumby (1125507) | more than 6 years ago | (#23113208)

If the Qaeda's dreams came true, it would have us hand it our huge telecom infrastructure so their terrorists could spy on our every move.

Why bother fighting when we're just laying down and surrendering?


Could you please provide us with a link to the Al-Qaeda handbook where it mentions that one of their goals is the Australian (or any western, for that matter) government monitoring and controlling the telecoms infrastructure of the country?

Don't you get it? Al-Qaeda FUCKING HATE YOU! They hate me too. They hate all of us. They want us to die. Because they dont believe in the things we believe in, and one of the things they believe in is the eradication of the people who don't believe the things they believe in.

So believe it or not, they're not sitting at home, having a party because the Australian government decided to more actively monitor it's citizens.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not in love with this move, or any of the ones done in the name of 'freedom' and 'anti-terrorism', but I'm sick and tired of the kneejerk, the-terrorists-have-won response that seems to pop up every single time.

Android to the rescue? (1)

vik (17857) | more than 6 years ago | (#23112810)

Roll on Android phones, assuming that it will let you encrypt the speech data stream...

Vik :v)

There goes another country down the road (1)

Whuffo (1043790) | more than 6 years ago | (#23112860)

Down the road to fascism or worse. The problem with deploying these "investigative" technologies isn't necessarily what use the current administration will put them to (although just wanting this kind of access to peoples private lives is troubling) - it's what the next administration or the one after that will do with it.

Human beings are what they are; a certain percentage would look upon this ability as a way to prevent anyone from mounting any kind of opposition to their continuing domination of the country. It's just a matter of time until one of these kind of misfits finds their way into power and then they'll make the country regret the day they allowed this to happen...

Freedom of information act? (1)

sc0ob5 (836562) | more than 6 years ago | (#23113236)

I wonder if the records of everyone's conversations will be made available under the freedom of information act, I sure hope so. I'd love to know what the P.M. is having for dinner tonight.
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