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Australian Government Rejects Data Retention Law After Report

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the no-sir-I-don't-like-it dept.

Australia 153

mask.of.sanity writes "The Australian Government has shelved its plans to proactively store communications data of every citizen ostensibly to assist with law enforcement and intelligence efforts. The shelving (video) comes after a scathing report by Australian parliamentarians who investigated the Government's plans, and three months ahead of a federal election in which the Government is expected to lose office."

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The current government is doomed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44096077)

They will have their asses handed to them in the next election.

Re:The current government is doomed. (3, Insightful)

Squidlips (1206004) | about a year ago | (#44096169)

Ha. Voters are idiots; you just watch Nancy Pelosi get re-elected despite her stance on surveillance...

Re:The current government is doomed. (5, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about a year ago | (#44096265)

Voters are idiots

Are you saying you don't vote, or that you are an idiot?

Re:The current government is doomed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44096283)

Or doesn't live in her district.

Re:The current government is doomed. (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#44096361)

Modal logic was discovered a long time ago, wasn't it? I'm sure you've had plenty of time to learn it.

Re:The current government is doomed. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44097027)

Squidlips did not use any modality in his statement that "Voters are idiots". Furthermore saying a form of logic was discovered is like saying someone has discovered a new number. They are constructs. Models made by human cognizance to describe what perceptibly does or does not exist (sometimes both and neither). Perhaps you should have paid more attention when studying such things.

Re:The current government is doomed. (0)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about a year ago | (#44096665)

Voters are idiots

Are you saying you don't vote, or that you are an idiot?

In Australia, it's illegal not to vote. So you're either a voter or a criminal (I guess at one point in AU history, most people were probably both).

Re:The current government is doomed. (2)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about a year ago | (#44096913)

It's a $50 fine. Plus you only have to get your name crossed off.

(And it's apparently easier to get out of than jury duty. "I had to work all day", "my youngest had a stomach bug and couldn't leave the house", etc.)

Re:The current government is doomed. (2)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year ago | (#44096957)

Yep, it's rare for people to actually have to pay the fine, however we consistently get 90+% of voters turning up to a state/federal election which is a GoodThing(TM).

Re:The current government is doomed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44097259)

Yet you still wind up with a government that's competing with the UK and USA for the Police State Award.

Unless people vote for one of the non-standard parties, this shit will just keep happening and things will just keep getting worse. The main parties are rigged so that choice between them is an illusion.

Re:The current government is doomed. (5, Interesting)

Capsaicin (412918) | about a year ago | (#44097657)

Yet you still wind up with a government that's competing with the UK and USA for the Police State Award.

Do we?!

I mean the inept Australian government actually felt it necessary to go to parliament to get legislative power to do what the UK and USA Police states just went ahead and did.

In Australia we were displeased because we were informed about the government's intentions. The US and UK governments did not see fit similarly to displease their respective constituents. The Australian government has backed down in the face of both public and parliamentary opposition to the plan. Do you seriously believe the US or the UK are about dismantle their machinery? For all the articles the Guardian may publish?

Not much of a competition I would say.

Democracy ... I'm occasionally hopeful that it might work after all.

Re:The current government is doomed. (2)

Bremic (2703997) | about a year ago | (#44098007)

Of course, Australia is likely to change government in September, and then we will have the government for which dealing with constituents will be a much lower priority - right after changing the filter in the coffee machine.

Re:The current government is doomed. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44098103)

You do realise that the government has (with the blessing of ASIO) introduced secret mandatory internet filter via IP blacklisting and deliberately did not tell the public or other arms of the government not once but TWICE, right?

They have only admitted to doing it AFTER being found out afterwards, and they did it in such a way that it would be concealed from the home user - the blacklisted sites just timed out.

I have no disillusions regarding changing the government, either; Liberal will be just as bad as Labor in this regard.

Re:The current government is doomed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44098259)

You do realise that the government has (with the blessing of ASIO)

Cart meet horse.

... secret mandatory internet filter via IP blacklisting

And this is relevant to a comparison of .au vs .us and .uk metadata gathering ... how?

Re:The current government is doomed. (1)

Gideon Fubar (833343) | about a year ago | (#44098311)

Turns out it was both unfeasible (i mean, it was obvious even to people who weren't going to have to implement it) to monitor everything and not everyone here is a complete idiot. Lucky for us, i guess.

http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/House_of_Representatives_Committees?url=pjcis%2Fnsl2012%2Freport.htm [aph.gov.au]

Re:The current government is doomed. (1)

mjwx (966435) | about a year ago | (#44097717)

Yep, it's rare for people to actually have to pay the fine, however we consistently get 90+% of voters turning up to a state/federal election which is a GoodThing(TM).

Not necessarily, how many donkey's are we getting per election.

Polly's viciously contest the coveted top spot on the ballot as a lot of people just go 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. I encourage highly apathetic people to start on the 2nd, 3rd or 4th box when they do this to try and introduce some randomness into this system. Fortunately the order on most ballot papers in Oz are randomly selected.

Aussies in general are reluctant to get involved in their own governance. I get a lot of people complaining about speed zone sign placements, many of them legit complaints (I.E. 5 changes in the space of 1 KM) but do you think one of them has even written the local council?

Re: The current government is doomed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44097895)

You're better off getting apathetic people to write nothing at all on the ballot. You don't have to fill it in whatsoever, and leaving it blank messes up the count less.

Re:The current government is doomed. (3, Insightful)

Bremic (2703997) | about a year ago | (#44098035)

Aussies in general are reluctant to get involved in their own governance.

This is what is going to cause Australia to follow the rest of the world into economic, social and environmental disaster. Many people (Australians) I speak to feel that we need to change the government, but when you ask them why they have little to no idea what the government actually does or how it works. The government we have now has not done a great job, but they have done extremely well considering the global issues going on - but many Australians tend to care nothing about the rest of the world unless it's broadcast in prime time in a sitcom format.

Re:The current government is doomed. (3, Interesting)

mjwx (966435) | about a year ago | (#44098085)

Aussies in general are reluctant to get involved in their own governance.

This is what is going to cause Australia to follow the rest of the world into economic, social and environmental disaster. Many people (Australians) I speak to feel that we need to change the government, but when you ask them why they have little to no idea what the government actually does or how it works. The government we have now has not done a great job, but they have done extremely well considering the global issues going on - but many Australians tend to care nothing about the rest of the world unless it's broadcast in prime time in a sitcom format.

This,

The Labor government hasn't done a terribly good job, but it was passable. However the Murdoch run press wants to paint it as the end of the world.

Really, I view the Murdoch press as a greater threat to Australia than all the politicians put together... Murdoch ultimately does not have to answer to the constituents.

Re:The current government is doomed. (1)

Capsaicin (412918) | about a year ago | (#44097599)

It's a $50 fine. Plus you only have to get your name crossed off.

I got fined once for failing to vote in a local council election, it was $10 back then. I tossed the fine in the bin, I mean a council election, pull the other one. That was close to a quarter of a century ago ... I'm still waiting for them to get back to me so I can mount my brilliant legal argument about local govt. not having any constitutional standing.

So now they are going have this referendum to give local govt constitutional standing?!!!! OMG, is this going to be retrospective? I'm packing it mate! ;)

Re:The current government is doomed. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44098219)

Plus you only have to get your name crossed off.

I work as an election official on election day. Posting as an AC to protect anonymity.

Legally, you are incorrect. Under the Electoral Act, it is your duty to vote, and an offence not to. Practically, of course, you are correct. Because voting is secret, nobody can tell if you voted... unless you admit it on Slashdot.

What I wanted to say is that I have one request, and one request only, on behalf of election officials everywhere: Please take the ballot papers that have been issued to you and put them in the ballot box. Fill them out or don't. Write a slogan on them. I don't care, do anything you want... just put them into the ballot box in one piece.

There have been some very close elections around the world recently, including Australia. What makes Australia different is that there has been no question of electoral fraud.

We don't often stop to consider just how remarkable this is. Look at the mess of the 2000 presidential elections in the US, or the previous elections resulting in a hung parliament in the UK, or Italy (just Italy; I don't think I need to expand on that). We may not know how to run a country, but we know how to run an election. We do it bloody well, and this is something you can be proud of.

One of the tenets of security is that you analyse known threats and look for patterns, and one of the mechanisms that is commonly used to rig elections around the world is to selectively remove ballot papers from being considered in the count. There are various methods to do this, from stealing and destroying them, to changing the rules of formality post facto (hanging chads, anyone?).

It's an unbelievably huge deal if ballot papers go missing. Removing ballot papers from the polling centre does not send any message to your politicians, nor does it help change the system. All it does is causes a major headache for already-exhausted casual employees. (Don't forget, we've been at the polling centre since an hour before it opened, and have to stay there until counting finishes. It's a very long day.)

Whatever you think about compulsory voting, or the state of the political system and the major parties, it is not the fault of the Australian Electoral Commission or their casual staff. So... yeah, please put the damn papers in the damn box.

Thank you for your assistance in this matter.

Sincerely,
Your friendly election official

Re:The current government is doomed. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44097583)

I guess at one point in AU history, most people were probably both

You guess wrong.

For the few decades that NSW and Tasmania especially (Victoria had an early penal settlement, but only really took off with the free settlers under John Batman) took the convicts the Americas could no longer accommodate (due to that pesky revolution), there was no universal suffrage. Voting, such as it was being restricted to men of property. By 1858 when the only property requirement in NSW became a penis, it has been a decade since the arrival of the last convict ship and the number of people in prisons represented a tiny fraction of the total population. Nor was voting then compulsory.

Australia, as a political as distinct from a geographical entity, only came about on 1 January 1901, by which time those who even bore traces of transported convicts in their blood were swamped by the descendants of gold prospectors and other free settlers. At the current time, the rate of incarceration, in Australia remains far below that of the US, despite recent NSW governments are trying their hardest to catch up.

If you want to use 'criminal' in its strictest meaning, ie. someone who at one time in their life committed some kind of legal offence, I'd suggest close to 100% of voters in any democracy are criminals.

Re:The current government is doomed. (2)

fido_dogstoyevsky (905893) | about a year ago | (#44097723)

Voters are idiots

Are you saying you don't vote, or that you are an idiot?

In Australia, it's illegal not to vote. So you're either a voter or a criminal (I guess at one point in AU history, most people were probably both).

And by some standards, many members of Parliament still are.

Rule government again = ~ $threefiddy per citizen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44096831)

I don't fall for the delusion of voting.
Instead I go right for the actual influence: I target lobbyist groups, while acting like a lobbyist myself.
A bit like the Yes Men.

The funny thing is that lobbyists themselves somehow never realize when they're brainwashed (by me) themselves.

Unfortunately it takes a lot of time. I should start a Kickstarter project to finance a ThinkTank(TM) with a billion dollar budget (that's about threefiddy per US citizen), and STEAMROLL the whole thing.

Re:The current government is doomed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44097501)

Are you saying you don't vote, or that you are an idiot?

Only an idiot doesn't realize that every one of us is an idiot at times.

Re:The current government is doomed. (5, Insightful)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about a year ago | (#44096321)

Parent AC didn't mean "...because of this"; the current government is pulling record low numbers in the polls. They are hated and are going to be destroyed in the next election.

And it sucks, because the leader of the next government is a US-style neo-conservative religious nutter. And his party is dominated by True Believers in US-style trickle-down economics. The current government's incompetence is going to allow something much worse to take over, not only to control the lower House (and hence the executive) but likely the Senate, giving them basically a rubber stamp on anything they want to shove through.

Re:The current government is doomed. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44096367)

Shhh don't wake the bogans.

At least the median income in Australia is still A$66,820*

The Chinese haven't quite sucked out the marrow yet.

Re:The current government is doomed. (1)

NFN_NLN (633283) | about a year ago | (#44097395)

Shhh don't wake the bogans.

At least the median income in Australia is still A$66,820*

The Chinese haven't quite sucked out the marrow yet.

I thought the AUS/CAN/US dollar were roughly on par. Does this imply a household income of > 100K (with both parents working)?
If not then the housing boom really is unsustainable!

Re:The current government is doomed. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44098009)

Yup. Australians are absolutely rolling in money, but if you were to listen to them speak, you'd think they were all under the poverty line.

I've actually seen people defend needing government handouts at $250k a year because of the expense of putting 3 kids through an elite Sydney private school....

Re:The current government is doomed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44098067)

Does this imply a household income of > 100K (with both parents working)?

Average individual wage is now around 85K pa.

Re:The current government is doomed. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44096873)

"his party is dominated by True Believers in US-style trickle-down economics."

    Oh yea, That worked so well for us. As a word of advice from one of those that's been through this crap already. If you do elect this group of psychos, revolt before they can do any damage. It's not worth it to find out what they will do. (My personal view is to kill them. Kill them and their families while you've got them separated out and thereby increasing the ethics and intelligence numbers of your country by double digits.)

Re:The current government is doomed. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44097019)

As much as I dislike the guy he is not a "US-style religious nutter", just a garden variety pious Catholic.

Re:The current government is doomed. (1)

Bremic (2703997) | about a year ago | (#44098061)

The only reason he isn't a "US-style religious nutter" is he doesn't have the charisma or personality to carry it off. He wants to be. Look at the speeches he manages to get out without tripping over his own tongue and he is very much striving to be this. I can't imagine how bad things will get when this ideology, combined with his frequent confusion when taken off-script or dealing with foreign governments, gets into power. Ask me again in 12 months and I am afraid we will all have an answer.

Re:The current government is doomed. (2)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about a year ago | (#44098231)

Abbott is what Santorum (who comes from the same Catholic faction) would look like if he had to run in a country like Australia.

However, I meant "US-style neo-con" and "religious nutter". Not "US-style religious nutter". For the latter, you need Steve Fielding's party.

[Hey, secular Americans, our ultraconservative evangelical movement had to create a third party, which got about 2% in the last election. (7% in even the most conservative state.) Livin' the dream baby.]

Re:The current government is doomed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44097117)

it's true tony abbott is the worst thing about the liberal party and it just so happens he is also the leader. However the country is hardly going to change depending on the leadership. The election is just there for the illusion of control for the public.

Re:The current government is doomed. (3, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year ago | (#44097209)

Yes, this is a non-story in Australia.

The current government's incompetence is going to allow something much worse to take over

No, the incompetence of the Australian voter will be responsible for that. However numerous polls also show that the majority of voters would have preferred to be choosing from Rudd vs Turner. Turner leads the traditional side of conservative politics, the side that still has some principles and common respect for their ideological opponents.

The fundamental problem in Oz is that the mining unions are pulling the strings in the Labor party and the mine owners are pulling the strings in the Liberal party, and Murdoch controls 70% of the press. On many subjects the union and the bosses are in lockstep agreement, eg: the unionists ousted Rudd because of his mining tax plans, their bosses ousted Turner because of his plans to regulate carbon emissions. Neither the union leaders or mine owners want anything to get in the way of digging holes in the ground, everybody seems to have forgotten about Tony's prediction of economic Armageddon, the carbon tax was instituted a year ago and we are still one of the healthiest economies on the planet.

Disclaimer: I believe we should exploit our resources but not at the cost of our natural life support systems, for instance coal mines on cape york are potentially a threat to the great barrier reef. The reef is not only a valuable tourist attraction it is also a massive fish nursery, The shelf waters around Australia's coast are the breeding ground for much of the southern hemisphere's fisheries, the planetary food web is not something you can put a price on, it's essential natural infrastructure that (if given a chance) is so productive it allows some of us enough time to do things like dig massive holes and sell magic rocks to China.

Re:The current government is doomed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44097871)

Turner? Did you mean Turnbull?

Re:The current government is doomed. (1)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about a year ago | (#44098247)

However numerous polls also show that the majority of voters would have preferred to be choosing from Rudd vs Turner.

Assuming you meant Turnbull, then no. He was about as popular a Gillard. [I do not understand the popularity of Rudd.]

Re:The current government is doomed. (2)

Gumbercules!! (1158841) | about a year ago | (#44097881)

I see it another way. I see it more that we have 2 choices and they're fundamentally the same thing. It's not about Gillard and Abbott (they're figure heads, we don't have a president here, the "leader" is a mouthpiece, not a policy maker - policies are made behind closed doors and then communicated via these mouthpieces).

So I couldn't care less who the leader of either party is. When it comes to policies, though, they're both much the same thing. Both parties are so close to each other that the only real difference that comes is how the market reacts to one or the other. Yes there are minor differences - but they're minor only.

If you truly think we're going to take the country in a whole different direction by changing from Labour to The Coalition, I've got a bridge to sell you. :-P

Re:The current government is doomed. (1)

Bremic (2703997) | about a year ago | (#44098083)

I agree the country won't change too much, but the quality of life for the average Australian will. Look at what is happening in Queensland and Victoria; leasing of National Parks, decimation of the Public Service directly impacting services (wait times at a lot of public services is up over 200%), corporations given exclusions to local planning regulations...
All of these sort of things make a regular impact on the day to day life of people living at or below the median wage.

Of course, the NBN plans alone are a good enough reason to resist a change of government.

Re:The current government is doomed. (1)

Gumbercules!! (1158841) | about a year ago | (#44098279)

Yeah I'm not sold. I recon the govt will change in September and life won't be any better or worse than it would have been under the existing one (of course, this can never be verified).

We basically have a cyclic 2 party system in Australia and although it's ludicrously inefficient, it basically works. We actually need to change the government every decade or so. We need Labour to spend money on big infrastructure and we need Liberal to earn the money to spend - a spend and save cycle. If we had one or the other for too long, we'd wind up in too much debt (and we're almost there now) or we'd wind up to run down on the public infrastructure. If you leave Labour in charge for too long, the middle class winds up bearing endless tax increases and benefit cuts and eventually, they begin to crack financially, which slows the entire economy, which means less money for NBNs or other things you care about. If you leave the Libs in for too long, then the disadvantaged suffer over time and public services start to get over sold or run down, which means things cost more for the average person, which means they have less money and the economy slows down, which means less money for NBN's etc.

The problem comes in when one party has their turn and doesn't do their part. I think the other problem is that many things are becoming too expensive for either side to maintain, yet we still require them (i.e. healthcare).

Re:The current government is doomed. (1)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about a year ago | (#44098287)

This. A thousand times this.

I despise people who say "They're both the same". The only time they are the same is when people are watching, when parliament is divided. As soon as people stop watching, you see their true colours. (Such as when Howard's government got control of both houses. And the same thing will happen with Abbott after the next election.)

Re:The current government is doomed. (3, Insightful)

Capsaicin (412918) | about a year ago | (#44098239)

And it sucks, because the leader of the next government is a US-style neo-conservative religious nutter. And his party is dominated by True Believers in US-style trickle-down economics.

I've been watching Tony's political career for longer than most (he buttonholed me outside the Fisher Library in 1978 I think it was). He was a certifiable nutter then* and many of my cohort of students from that degree have been living in fear these past 35 years that one day we would be facing the prospect of his leading an Australian government. [*To be to fair to Mr Abbott in the '70s, he was in this more than outbalanced by members of the "loony Left." We tend to forget that the rejection of material reality which now forms the central plank of the neo-con/Tea Party ideology, was once the province of the more radical sects of the Left. For instance the ideologically motivated denial of Climate Science is an echo of the denial of Plate Tectonics which was at one time held to be inconsistent with Marxist dialectical-materialism! A position which would no doubt have perplexed even Dr Marx.]

However, it appears to me that, like most of us, Tony has mellowed with age. I find his opportunistic "blood pledge" to repeal a market based solution for addressing carbon usage with an ironically more "socialist" orientated Direct Action approach to be highly reprehensible (and one hopes unsuccessful). Similarly, once in government, one hopes they will recognise the folly of their ways in regard to the NBN rollout. In general, however, I don't think we should be overly concerned about the radicalism of his current political position. His adherence to "trickle-down economics," for example, is I think is vastly overstated, my feeling is that his personal economic position has developed from the kind of Catholic corporatism preached by his mentor B.A. Santamaria. But here too he has become less ideological. Moreover his views in regard to the academy (and pure research) are far more enlightened than anything we've witnessed in Australia's recent anti-intellectual history. To the point that some of use working in the sector (traditionally part of the natural constituency of the centre left) dare to hope for some small moves to correct the wrecking of Australia's university system which began with the Dawkins "Reforms."

However, not only has Tony's ideology been mollified by age, his ambition too has overtaken his principles. Remember this is the guy who, we are to believe, when bargaining for government at the start of this hung parliament, told an independent either that he would "sell his arse," or do "anything but sell his arse," to become P.M.

It's not what Tony believes that you need to worry about. It is the editorial policy of the company which publishes the Daily Telegraph and the Herald Sun is that will once again determine the policy direction of the country. Witness now what happens to any government that dares not tow the line! Abbott's ambition will preclude him from making the same mistake.

The current government's incompetence ...

A case in point. While this has perhaps not been the most stellar government in Australia's history, the fact that even you have been sold the idea of the government's supposed "incompetence" is a the real concern. True, there have been political mistakes made. Most recently Ms Gillard's raising of the "abortion" issue. An crude attack on Mr Abbott's catholic faith, and an issue on which Tony, his ambition taking the driver's seat, has taken a leaf out of Pilate's book. Made all the more inept by the fact that the coded term "reproductive rights" would have satisfied the present audience just as well. Or allowing the Carbon "Tax" (which is actually a trading scheme with only a temporary lead-in tax like structure) to be known as a TAX (booword!).

However, putting aside emotive public discourse for a moment ... any dispassionate assessment of the current government's performance could not fairly reach anything like the conclusion of 'incompetence.'

We have for the first time in my living memory (and, correct me if I'm wrong, probably for the first time since Federation) a government which has managed to avoid a major international economic downturn from swamping Australia. In regard to macro-economic policy this is arguably the most competent government in Australia's history. Not only was the stimulus successful it was, and one would not know it from "reading" the Tele (who for some odd reason don't quote debt as a percentage of GDP?!) without raising any significant sovereign debt. It's only arguable, of course, because the contribution of the savings enacted under Costello's watch must be acknowledged here too. Biblical economics (fat and skinny cows) served us well, IMO we were just lucky to have the two opposing economic ideologies in power at exactly the right time!

Moreover while the current government has had some much publicised policy failures, which thankfully include the present scheme and the internet filtering scheme, any objective analysis of the legislative record is, a fortiori in a hung parliament, shows them to have been remarkably successful.

I will concede that the supposed "incompetence" of the current government has been masterfully marketed.

To reiterate it's not what Tony believes that should scare you shitless. Australian democracy would be well served, I feel, if we could address the high levels of functional illiteracy which leads to News Ltd enjoying nearly 80% of the nation's physical newspaper readership.

Re:The current government is doomed. (1)

interval1066 (668936) | about a year ago | (#44096941)

Don't count yer chickens, ace.

Re:The current government is doomed. (1)

fido_dogstoyevsky (905893) | about a year ago | (#44097711)

Ha. Voters are idiots; you just watch Nancy Pelosi get re-elected despite her stance on surveillance...

Who is this "Nancy Pelosi" of whom you speak? For which House of Parliament is she standing?

Re:The current government is doomed. (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about a year ago | (#44098093)

I've seen her on TV. I think she stars in some kind of "Judge Judy" style sitcom/reality show.

It doesn't seem very funny, but then again I've never really got American humour.

Re:The current government is doomed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44098283)

Correct. This Government has been one of the best performing in history by the numbers and aren't actually that unpopular, and they'll be voted out because the opposition (whose policies are thin on the ground, and those that have appeared are actually quite worrying in their collective ideological bent, but much of which will go over the heads of the mouthpieces here for similar ideologically based reasons...) has managed to convince the media to assist in an what is hard to describe as an ongoing smear campaign at multiple levels.

Mainstream people are starting to lose faith in the ability of the media to report accurately here. A recent radio poll found that 99% of respondents were sick of it. The readership of some australian newspapers has actually halved in the last month. I'm looking at you, The Age.

I don't like to conspiracy IRL, but it honestly wouldn't surprise me if the GP was part of the Fairfax grassroots team. That's how ridiculous this has gotten.

Re:The current government is doomed. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44096231)

Yeah right. All they have to do is say "Think of the Children" and accuse everyone who supports the other guys of being pedophile sympathizers.

Really, do you think that doesn't work in practice?

Re:The current government is doomed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44096943)

"use everyone who supports the other guys of being pedophile sympathizers."

      And what's wrong with that?!! Versus the corporate crooks who abuse us with faulty products, banking thieves that rob millions for billions, and political pricks who lie and cheat, then there's murderers and rapists, and every other liar and cheat out there, in comparison pedophiles are practically angels.

Re:The current government is doomed. (1)

fido_dogstoyevsky (905893) | about a year ago | (#44097667)

They will have their asses handed to them in the next election.

Unless they are already in possession of their donkeys, in which case handing over won't be necessary.

hmm (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44096101)

"A Senate committee has slammed Australia's proposed data retention scheme, recommending it only be considered if it only collected metadata, avoided capture of browser histories and contained rigorous privacy controls and oversight." - Basically, we want the American system and not a bit more.

Re:hmm (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44096175)

contained rigorous privacy controls and oversight

That doesn't sound like the American system at all.

Re:hmm (3, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#44096847)

Actually, based on what has been happening in Australia lately this is a huge change of course, and probably a sign that the average citizen is getting a little sick of the shenanigans pulled by the current government, (sometimes pulled by only a minister here or there, without the consensus of his own party).

As for it being basically the American system, that is not true at all, because regardless of what they say they collect, you can be sure the NSA collects your entire email, not just the headers. And the us system has no such thing as privacy controls.

Re:hmm (1)

mjwx (966435) | about a year ago | (#44097707)

Actually, based on what has been happening in Australia lately this is a huge change of course, and probably a sign that the average citizen is getting a little sick of the shenanigans pulled by the current government, (sometimes pulled by only a minister here or there, without the consensus of his own party).

This is pretty much the story with every Australia-bashing political story on /.

Frank P. Frankston, Member for Frankston introduces hit pet bill into parliament. Seeing as no-one else wants it it doesn't pass.

No doubt the minister you're eluding to is our "honourable"* Mr Conroy, his pet project internet filter has consistently failed to gain any traction in parliament over the last 6 years. Its as dead as Sam Newman's career.

* Honourable is just a title, politicians are the most dishonourable people on the planet.

Re:hmm (1)

koona (920057) | about a year ago | (#44097721)

> this is a huge change of course, and probably a sign that the average citizen is getting a little sick of the shenanigans pulled by the current government, More likely they are concerned about the possible repercusions of the Snowden affai.

G'day, mates! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44096119)

Fosters: Australian for beer.

Re:G'day, mates! (2)

blackpig (1112913) | about a year ago | (#44097705)

Fosters: Only for gullible tourists and export to gullible foreigners.

new hero (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44096135)

Edward snowed in, autralian for hero

Democracy works! (2)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#44096145)

Thank goodness there's a pacific Ocean between Aus and the USA. Or this subversive thinking might infect us.

Re:Democracy works! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44096193)

Thank goodness? No!

Thank Snowden instead, that man is a hero.

This bill (or whatever it is) has been rejected thanks to Snowden.

Snowden has made too obvious for the People what governments do against them.

Re:Democracy works! (4, Interesting)

bloodhawk (813939) | about a year ago | (#44096685)

Normally I doubt the influence world public opinion has on moronic pollies, But I suspect in this instance this is actually correct. The current government has tried to get other orwellian legislation passed including internet filters so them actually being against it themselves is unlikely. I think Snowden has highlighted how unpopular such ideas are and with a government that is almost certainly getting thrown out for incompetence come september they hardly need another nail in their coffin.

Re:Democracy works! (5, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#44096897)

If only Snowden hadn't been such a true believer in Obama, he would have released his cache before the prior election and forced the issue into the spotlight in the US. Both parties would be backpedaling furiously.

As it is, the administration (along with the opposition party) will do everything in its power to demonize him, when in fact he should be getting the Medal of Freedom. Here's hoping there is another Snowden in position to divulge the illegal spying in the run-up to the next election and perhaps some headway can be made on this issue. If not, it will all peter out in the States, and then all pretense if restrictions will be gone.

Re:Democracy works! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44097787)

Democracy does work. When we have more democratic control of the FED , IRS , FBI and MILITARY, expect to live in a great society. Until l then expect poverty and inequality.

Re:Democracy works! (2, Insightful)

interval1066 (668936) | about a year ago | (#44096947)

The current government has tried to get other orwellian legislation passed...

You talking about the Obama admin or another country? Becuase the current admin has been wildly successful and proactive at passing all sorts of such legislation, including the hideus Patriot Act that was created under Bush, and renewed with tongue-wagging fervor by Obama. So "tried" isn't the obvious adjective here.

Re:Democracy works! (1)

interval1066 (668936) | about a year ago | (#44096949)

Or adverb if you prefer.

Re:Democracy works! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44097139)

It's OK Uncle Sam, put your stars and stripes away, we're talking about Australia.

Re:Democracy works! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44097151)

We have internet filiters here. Just recently 1200 sites were blocked for no reason.

Re:Democracy works! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44097263)

They were blocked for a reason, one site contained illegal content, the rest just happened to share the same IP address. It isn't a good reason but their was certainly a reason. It is one of the problems in the world of shared hosting, you suffer the same fate as the kiddie porn site that just happens to have the same address.

Some Australians thank Snowden... (1)

Pav (4298) | about a year ago | (#44098257)

...with some irreverant comedy rap : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnMPQmIPibE [youtube.com]

Check out other stuff by these guys... they're great.

Australian Secret Service already doing it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44097421)

If its anything like Britain, the Aussie secret service is already doing it in secret, and that's why the push for the law. To make it legal. That's the problem we have with GCHQ, NSA etc. the democracy part is there, but the spook part drives the government part, not the other way around.

Why can't this happen in the US (5, Insightful)

davydagger (2566757) | about a year ago | (#44096147)

In other countries, occationally orwellian laws are blocked by elected officials.

In the US, they all shrug and try to explain away our rights.

Re:Why can't this happen in the US (5, Interesting)

Mitreya (579078) | about a year ago | (#44096295)

In other countries, occationally orwellian laws are blocked by elected officials.

In the US, they all shrug and try to explain away our rights.

Not at all. When the outrage gets too loud (think SOPA and the ilk), laws will be temporarily stopped and shelved, only to be re-introduced piece-by-piece in "Think of Rainbows And Puppies Act"

I assume this is what is happening there -- a full law could not be passed openly, so it will be re-built quietly piece-by-piece later.

Re:Why can't this happen in the US (2)

jrumney (197329) | about a year ago | (#44097273)

I don't know about Australia, but most countries do not share the same enthusiasm for legislation by rider that the US has. Most likely Australia follows British law, where any part of a bill that is not covered by the long form title of the bill must be excluded from the act when it is passed by parliament.

Re:Why can't this happen in the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44097949)

Or...
  Australia just realised you can get the NSA to do it at a fraction of the cost..

  Which is the whole point. If the Americans are doing it, for everyone, why do they have to do it themselves.

Not that it matters, your frequent flyer/loyalty card tells the corporations everything they need to know. What the NSA/CIA/ASIO/ASIS should do is just implement a loyalty card program to reward you for being frequently snooped.

Re:Why can't this happen in the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44096417)

In other countries, occationally orwellian laws are blocked by elected officials. In the US, they all shrug and try to explain away our rights.

Actually, when people discovered Total Information Awareness (TIA) [wikipedia.org] it was rejected too, then quietly renamed [wikipedia.org] . I suspect the same thing will happen in Australia.

Today must be opposite day. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44096153)

Exactly what the subject title states.

The US is doing the same (1)

Squidlips (1206004) | about a year ago | (#44096161)

You don't really think that the gigantic Utah Data Center was created to store a few thousand phone conversations, do you? Nope. I suspect that the NSA is storing ALL electronic communications such as phone and email from everyone in US. It might examine only a few thousand by hand, but it is all being recorded.

Re:The US is doing the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44096227)

Could imagine trying to examine all the text messages sent in the US or pretty much any country. The Lolz and OMGs would start to blur together... What did you find out with your investigation? People especially teens send way to many worthless texts. like "wat up" or "wat doin"

Re:The US is doing the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44096557)

That is why you have an AI parse them and only review those flagged with specific patterns or those harvested from users of interest.

Re:The US is doing the same (4, Interesting)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about a year ago | (#44096247)

It might examine only a few thousand by hand, but it is all being recorded.

Data mining isn't "examining a few thousand by hand". It's the analysis on the mass data that matters. You may drill down to specific emails/calls/transfers/etc, but to know which ones, you need to be able to map entire networks of associations.

This is not like the cameras on an ATM that stores unwatched images unless a specific event prompts someone to look at a specific time. Your personal data is not being blindly stored on these systems, unwatched since you've done nothing anyone cares about, it is being analysed along with everyone else's.

Re:The US is doing the same (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44096483)

So instead of a "Bacon Number" you'll have a "Bin Laden Number"

goodie

Re:The US is doing the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44096337)

I suspect that the NSA is storing ALL electronic communications such as phone and email from everyone in US.

You really still suspect it? The Snowden story makes it pretty obvious

Excuses like "we are not looking at anyone's data specifically so it is ok to ask for all of it" tell me that much. Also lines like "Look, no one is listening to your calls" are basically "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear"

Re:The US is doing the same (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about a year ago | (#44096343)

No, it's for large scale SNA (social network analysis for those who are unfamiliar).

Re:The US is doing the same (1)

tyrione (134248) | about a year ago | (#44096617)

You don't really think that the gigantic Utah Data Center was created to store a few thousand phone conversations, do you? Nope. I suspect that the NSA is storing ALL electronic communications such as phone and email from everyone in US. It might examine only a few thousand by hand, but it is all being recorded.

Only an idiot thinks the US can have datacenters large enough to record every single conversation, email content and video phone conversation on a daily basis, never mind the personnel when the State and Federal Government have downsized personnel by several million positions.

Remember (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44096287)

... the Government is expected to lose office ...

When the current opposition party was Government they took Australia into Vietnam and Iraq and copied the 'war on terror' mantra. While no Australian politician can be anti-American, the current opposition party are arse-lickers of American politicians.

Re:Remember (1)

_merlin (160982) | about a year ago | (#44097617)

Oh Gillard is no better - look how eager she was to give US forces even more access to Australian bases. We may as well not be a sovereign country at this rate.

More links on story (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44096365)

"The Australian Attorney-General Department's pig-headed push for Internet data retention were rejected by an Intelligence Oversight Committee for being vague and violating civil liberties. Greens Senator Scott Ludlam said the government needs to get the message and drop the scheme, and warned data retention could be used by PRISM. Head Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus says data retention is off the agenda for now, though when the last AG made a similar promise they caught everyone off guard and passed new laws 12 days later"

http://www.crikey.com.au/2013/06/24/national-security-inquiry-declines-to-endorse-data-retention [crikey.com.au]
http://www.crikey.com.au/2013/06/24/keane-a-debate-we-had-to-have-on-security-measures [crikey.com.au]
http://www.computerworld.com.au/article/465679/data_retention_needs_oversight_inquiry/ [computerworld.com.au]
http://www.computerworld.com.au/article/465152/australia_suspected_prism_data_ludlam/ [computerworld.com.au]
http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/roxon-puts-web-surveillance-plans-on-ice-20120809-23x9l.html [smh.com.au]
http://www.itnews.com.au/News/312771,senate-passes-lite-data-retention-laws.aspx [itnews.com.au]

The government is expected to lose office
Yes they are, but the opposition hasn't ruled out doing the same thing.

Re:More links on story (1)

gnoshi (314933) | about a year ago | (#44097029)

Scott Ludlum looks like the sole political torch bearer for the view that Australians shouldn't have communications data routinely harvested. e.g. the bill to require a warrant to retrieve telecommunications metadata: http://www.couriermail.com.au/technology/news/greens-8216get-a-warrant-bill8217-to-curb-government-spying/story-fniho3wq-1226662303872 [couriermail.com.au]

In fact, I'm going to write him a nice letter this afternoon.

Australia Don't Become America (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44096613)

Australia Don't Become America... enjoy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdw1Pw4nIv0

Sometimes the system works (1)

countach (534280) | about a year ago | (#44096629)

It seems to me, that our elected representatives can sometimes do the right thing. It's when the executive and the faceless men do it all in secret that we have problems.

They already DO store all data (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44096711)

The owners of Slashdot LOVE stories like these- the ones designed to roll back public awareness of domestic spying after the NSA revelations. Every sophisticated nation on Earth current gathers and stores ALL electronic communications that are within its reach. Those nations in the West use shadow-Google installations, massive computer database systems using the same software/hardware designs as those used by Google itself. Google is, in fact, actually an R+D arm of the NSA.

Google was created as a direct response to the fact that government IT projects always crashed and burnt- falling prey to the inherent corruption and incompetence in the system. Darwinian 'survival of the fittest' business logic found within the capitalist system meant the best IT projects would have to occur in the 'public' sector. It was simply a matter of seeding multiple public IT projects that could be re-purposed as military/intelligence systems if they proved successful.

So what is this piece of BLACK PROPAGANDA on Slashdot? Well, if a government admits to storing information on all you sheep, it can then use that information OPENLY in court, or as part of an overt political/social engineering agenda. If, on the other hand, it keeps the truth of domestic spying secret, while it loses the small advantages I mentioned, it avoids public disquiet.

Despite what the owners of Slashdot would have you believe, domestic spying occurs for 2 reasons:

1) to find blackmail information that can be used to coerce any powerful person in society. Say, for instance, to get backing for nuclear strikes against Iran. Sexual relationships, private conversations, dodgy business deals, odd beliefs- every Human has weak spots simply by living a life, and these weak spots can be used to 'persuade' 90%+ of targets to take the carrot, rather than suffer the stick.

2) to read the mind of the general population, in order to monitor the effectiveness of mass media propaganda campaigns. The near real-time feedback allows psy-op campaigns to perfected, or abandoned in short-order if they prove to have no traction.

Nothing important happens in Australia, but the manipulation of the populace acts as 'practise' for methods that can then be migrated to nations were the people do matter. Australia sees an ever growing mass of social engineering operations (which is also how the colony was first used by the British, where monsters in the field of penal 'research' were allowed to set up their own prisons and experiment on the prisoners).

Currently, single women are terrified when burly thuggish males force their way into their homes, and subject them to a sickening barrage of personnel questions, including the intimate details of their sex-life. In Australia, these depraved idiots are NOT criminals, but officials of the Australia's so-called bureau of statistics. Women who object to this terrifying abuse, and refuse to suffer the depraved interrogation, are imprisoned. In Australia, citizens have no rights, and all so-called civic duties (like voting for god's sake) are enforced with the penalty of imprisonment for those that don't comply.

Not voting means REFUSING to support the (current) system. In Australia, you are forced by law to support the system, forced by law to answer intimate questions about your sex life (if 'randomly' chosen by the bureau of statistics). Any forum where outraged citizens dare to express objections are overwhelm by Stasi Australians trained to scream "shut your mouth and do as you are told". We call this COMPLIANCY TRAINING. We see similar situations happening to the members of the more 'culty' churches in the USA.

Re: They already DO store all data (1)

jaminJay (1198469) | about a year ago | (#44096881)

I wondered if I'd missed a meeting or two, until you said we gaol people for not voting. it's a small fine which would expire with the statute of limitations before SPAR would try to incarcerate you for it.

Re:They already DO store all data (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44096919)

Not voting means REFUSING to support the (current) system. In Australia, you are forced by law to support the system, forced by law to answer intimate questions about your sex life (if 'randomly' chosen by the bureau of statistics). Any forum where outraged citizens dare to express objections are overwhelm by Stasi Australians trained to scream "shut your mouth and do as you are told". We call this COMPLIANCY TRAINING. We see similar situations happening to the members of the more 'culty' churches in the USA.

Not voting means you get sent a letter, to which you can reply with an excuse as to why you didn't vote. I have replied with, "I had to wash my dog". Sadly I wasn't imprisoned or fined, I could have done with a clean room and warm bed.

Re:They already DO store all data (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44098113)

Do you have a single reputable source for any of your claims?

"I Saw It On Today Tonight" isn't a reputable source, BTW.

Massive Media Manipulation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44097049)

The current government and it's immediate predecessor (of the same party) has done a brilliant job. Compare to the rest of the world. The wanna-be's keep making statements contrary to the facts, but Rupert Murdoch and Gina Rinehart want a change, and with control of most of the media consistently push outright lies. Their media has, for example, reported the current Prime Minister would be dumped by their party EVERY WEEK for the past 130 weeks. Ain't happened yet - it is a bare-faced attempt at destabilisation.
Australia's Liberal (i.e conservative) Party - the finest politicians money can buy.

Re:Massive Media Manipulation (2)

CRC'99 (96526) | about a year ago | (#44097499)

The current government and it's immediate predecessor (of the same party) has done a brilliant job. Compare to the rest of the world. The wanna-be's keep making statements contrary to the facts, but Rupert Murdoch and Gina Rinehart want a change, and with control of most of the media consistently push outright lies. Their media has, for example, reported the current Prime Minister would be dumped by their party EVERY WEEK for the past 130 weeks. Ain't happened yet - it is a bare-faced attempt at destabilisation.
Australia's Liberal (i.e conservative) Party - the finest politicians money can buy.

This. So many times this.

The crux of it is multiple fold:
1) Rupert Murdoch owns the biggest cable network in Australia (Foxtel). The current governments NBN plan will give up to 100Mbit (maybe even 1GBit) to just about every home in a town above 1000 homes - Australia wide. As the US has seen with streaming services, in this environment, cable tv would be obliterated. Its just a sad fact that the same guy owns most of the media - therefore he uses his influence to protect his media assets.

2) Gina gets a load of immigrant workers. The current government is looking to restrict imported workers to a lower amount that is currently happening. This means that Gina will have to pay fair wages to more of her staff. This is of course being protested by her interests in any way possible.

3) Tony Abbott is great at grinding axes, but very poor (being kind) at content. He has spearheaded the biggest sledging campaign in Australian political history. This is the guy that outright lies (which the media doesn't expose - see point #1) to the public to destabilise the current government as much as possible.

4) Tony Abbott (with the media in tow) has made a massive issue about asylum seekers arriving in Australia via boats. Forget that fact that he calls them illegal immigrants (which they aren't) and that they are the source of Australias problems (which they aren't) and he promises that he will stop the boats (which he can't) to increase our nations security. His plans have been scoffed at by the brass in the navy as unworkable - but these details get overlooked by the media (see point #1).

In a nutshell, its a sad day for me to call myself an Australian - and its a sad day for politics in Australia that people sink so low as to put themselves before their country - but that is exactly what is happening at this point in time.

Proof (1)

GrahamJ (241784) | about a year ago | (#44097253)

It's great to see that Snowden's actions have had a positive effect on the world already. He is a hero.

Near sighted Australian media (1)

sd4f (1891894) | about a year ago | (#44097315)

The worst thing about all this stuff is, they say they reject the data retention law now, but, no one has questioned what the government will be doing with the planned centralised "National Broadband Network", owned and run by the government.

They won't need data retention laws for ISP's nor companies such as google, the government owned infrastructure will be the isthemus of all digital communications in Australia. I just don't believe for a second that some sort of all-encompassing surveillance program isn't being planned or implemented with the NBN, yet this question is just not being investigated at all by the media.

Re:Near sighted Australian media (1)

marka63 (1237718) | about a year ago | (#44097451)

The fix to which is to encrypt all communications from the home / office to the rest of the world.

The first thing ISP's could do is stop supporting insecure communication channels to/from their customers. There is no reason to not use STARTTLS with submission. There is no reason to continue to support POP/IMAP without SSL/TLS.

Next they should use DANE to publish their CERTs to ensure that active MitM attacks are not possible.

I call on all ISP's to disable unencrypted mail submission / retrieval with their customers.

"shelved" (1)

WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) | about a year ago | (#44097519)

shelved = "I'll be back"
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