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Australian Spy Agency Offered To Share Data About Ordinary Citizens

timothy posted about 8 months ago | from the they're-only-ordinary-citizens dept.

Australia 78

An anonymous reader writes "Australian spy agencies offered to share personal information about law-abiding Australian citizens with overseas governments. This includes legal, religious and medical information, which was shared about this Canadian women. Departments in the Australian Public service has also been caught spying on citizens. Even low-ranking public servants can look up information such as phone calls and email metadata without needing a warrant. The target is not notified."

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78 comments

This is an outrage (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45583309)

Government officials behaving like Internet businessmen!

Re:This is an outrage (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45583725)

Where is cold fjord to tell us all this BS is needed to protect us from the terrorists?

Re:This is an outrage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45584799)

He apparently has moderator privileges this morning so is thus unavailable for comment.

This story is about what happened in Australia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45590001)

... not America nor England.

It's out of Cold Fjord's jurisdiction.

Re:This is an outrage (2)

HairyNevus (992803) | about 8 months ago | (#45583737)

Rarely is a first-posting AC this on the money. It's like an Internet unicorn (the good kind, not the kind that watches kid's TV shows from the basement).

Re:This is an outrage (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45586531)

It just further goes to show why right-wing politicians are so keen to be against privacy laws. For the longest time, I thought it was because it'd limit what companies could do with your data--as they're usually the target of such laws. But, now it's clear. They don't want a right to privacy recognized because then they couldn't sell out their own citizens to foreign governments. So, for all that talk of the NSA spying for espionage? More than likely it was to sell out the metadata of US CEOs, managers, and rank and file to the Chinese, UK, etc governments for their own espionage programs just as much. Think of Catch-22. If it's more profitable to bomb your own airfield...

PS - And now the spin. The Australian/US/whatever government is maximizing their return on investment. And thanks to all these sales, you'll see lower taxes! Best of all, we can help other countries find their terrorists* and be paid to do it!

*Note: Terrorists may just be people who aren't 100% behind the current government. For the US right now, that's horrible. Wait until another Republican is in office, and we'll be all for it. Oh, and you'll have to excuse that 99% of what Democrats do Republicans are for. But, we have to keep up the show of hate because we have to pretend the card shuffle that happens has at least the possibility of bringing in a real joker that's not of any suit.

Re:This is an outrage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45587465)

"It just further goes to show why right-wing politicians are so keen to be against privacy laws"

The only problem with this comment is that the Government of the day was Labour, a left leaning organisation. Way to to show your bias

Re:This is an outrage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45591165)

no it was Labor, Labour is the pommie version. Plus even the Australian right is further to the left than the Democrats in the US (more frigtening is that Australia is a pretty Right wing place globally speaking...)

Re:This is an outrage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45591921)

So Labour/Labor/whatever is against privacy laws? You'll note, my comment wasn't that left-wing politicians won't take advantage of the circumstance to their own advantage, as their obviously exist plenty of bad apples all over the political spectrum--even heads of the party who are perfectly willing to parrot beliefs they don't have to get elected. But if privacy laws were enacted in the first place, then at least they'd be committing a crime...that would likely not result in any direct legal punishment. Yea, I'm cynical about the whole thing, really. But perhaps the privacy laws would at least slow down the abuse or get a bit more public outrage about the corruption and see someone higher up at least lose their job. :/

Privacy != Paranoia (5, Insightful)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 8 months ago | (#45583349)

All the way back in 1995, when I first started using the World Wide Web, some users were advocating for strong privacy protections. We were ignored, then laughed at, then insulted with the "tinfoil hat" labrel.

Are you ready to reconsider our point, that society is better off if governments are corporations do NOT have free reign to collect, store, and mine as much data about us as they want?

Re:Privacy != Paranoia (4, Funny)

fluffythedestroyer (2586259) | about 8 months ago | (#45583391)

crap... they'll know I went on porn sites...my life is ruined :)

Re:Privacy != Paranoia (4, Insightful)

sumdumass (711423) | about 8 months ago | (#45583745)

They will know more than that. They can determine if you have an affair, a medical condition that could potentially harm your ability in other areas like how AIDS patients were originslly treated as outcasts with leprosy or something.

Of course stuff like that may not matter to people who think the government should be in charge of their medical and all those aspects of life. But when your neighbor gets killed in a drug deal gone bad, disapeArs, and the government decides because you purchased lime for you garden, kives for your kitchen, large garbage bags, a shovel, new mattress and area rug for your bedroom, all within thE last 2 months- one of which your neighbor was missing, and decides you killed her because you also looked at a page about scott peterson, you will think differently about those dangers.

There have been people convicted for crimes primarily on circumstantial evidence. Traditionally, something connected them to the crime outside of that but what happens when there are no leads and they search your metadata and decide you are the most likely match for the criminal behind it? I know, you have nothing to hide.

Re:Privacy != Paranoia (5, Insightful)

TheMeuge (645043) | about 8 months ago | (#45583975)

Actually, it's worse than that. What will undoubtedly affect most people is not the power imbalance between the individual and the government as a whole, but the tremendous power imbalance between an individual and the lowest tier public worker that has access to that information. When your local policeman will be browsing your daughter's naked photos (that she took in the shower with her cell phone) while contemplating which would be better to coerce her into sex, her confession about cheating in French class, smoking a joint once a year ago, or going on a date with two different people without them knowing it; and when you find out, and the same person will threaten you with being arrested for anything he could make up he saw in the surveillance, put you on a watch list, destroy your life.... that's when you will realize how far the power separation has gone.

Take it from someone who was brought up in the Soviet Union - even the lowliest civil servant had power, and exercised it. There was no action without bribery, and there was not even a concept of freedom... not because of power coming from the top down, but because the system was so skewed at a traffic cop could pull you over, rob you, rape your wife, then kill you both, and if anyone witnessed it, they'd keep their mouth shut.

Power corrupts.

If you give someone absolute access to your information (even forgetting the concept that the latter will likely mean absolute access to making stuff up), you given them absolute power over you.

Re:Privacy != Paranoia (1)

jythie (914043) | about 8 months ago | (#45584541)

One only has to spend a bit of time in one of America's small towns to see this type of thing going on. Those little '5k and under' towns are notorious for this kind of corruption.

Re:Privacy != Paranoia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45585257)

One only has to spend a bit of time in one of America's small towns to see this type of thing going on. Those little '5k and under' towns are notorious for this kind of corruption.

Only to those that have never been in one apparently. Word gets around fast in small towns. Everyone behaves or they will get a nagging call from their mother.

Re:Privacy != Paranoia (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 8 months ago | (#45585977)

One only has to spend a bit of time in one of America's small towns to see this type of thing going on. Those little '5k and under' towns are notorious for this kind of corruption.

Only to those that have never been in one apparently. Word gets around fast in small towns. Everyone behaves or they will get a nagging call from their mother.

Actually, both are true... word gets around, and for the most part, everyone behaves. But then every once in a while, you get the guy who everyone knows beats his mother and takes the odd case of beer from someone's shed on the weekend. Then, when some teenage girl in town goes missing, everyone has really strong suspicions what happened, but nobody's willing to step forward and say something -- however, everyone's watching the guy really closely to catch him in the act the NEXT time.

Every town has one or two of these people, as well as a few people who just eventually snap under the low level of privacy you get in a small town.

Everyone behaves? (1)

phorm (591458) | about 8 months ago | (#45586001)

Except the sociopaths, those in power (police etc) and especially those who are both.

Re:Privacy != Paranoia (3, Interesting)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 8 months ago | (#45589539)

If you want to see a colorful illustration of the above, find and watch a movie called "Lives of Others". It's a German film about Stasi surveillance in the late GDR period and its abuse by people in the system for blackmail etc.

Re:Privacy != Paranoia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45586597)

You're arguing that something that is already happening might happen if something else happens.

Why is it so hard for some people to separate the specific instance from the general? The US government is corrupt, therefore government as a concept is somehow debunked despite examples of *good* government both in the US and elsewhere.

The crippling cynicism combined with abject apathy is so perverse.

Re:Privacy != Paranoia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45586639)

Of course stuff like that may not matter to people who think the government should be in charge of their medical and all those aspects of life.

Why is it that expecting a society to care for the sick or otherwise infirm equates to thinking the government should be "in charge of their medical and all those aspects of life" ?

Do you have a privatization-fetish where the private *for-profit* sector can do no wrong and the government can do no right?

Re:Privacy != Paranoia (1)

neoritter (3021561) | about 8 months ago | (#45587753)

Government is not society. To even implicitly equate the two is wrong. Government is a tool of society used to police and protect itself. It is run by representatives of society, who are duly elected in Democratic/Republican societies.

Re:Privacy != Paranoia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45584459)

crap... they'll know I went on porn sites...my life is ruined :)

Remember that when your car insurance triples because the insurance company makes a correlation between people who watch porn and accident rates.

Date privacy issues are never clear and saying "it doesn't affect me" doesn't get you off the hook.

Re:Privacy != Paranoia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45584595)

Your life isn't ruined.
Your political careers is, so is any other big career. Any place you can think of where using this material can hinder you is now out of your reach unless you play ball with however has this information.

Re:Privacy != Paranoia (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45583575)

Not really no, you had the problem upside down. You need to get data about the governments and corporations.

See, in your world what happens is that snooping is illegal, and it still happens but you've said it's illegal and when occasionally the cracks show and you realise you were spied on you rant and rave but ultimately you can't do anything about it. Like now.

Whereas if you demand transparency then yes, everybody knows you like furry porn or whatever, but you now know if the government are trying to hide anything from you because to hide something it would need to avoid the transparency that everybody would know they were entitled to.

Re:Privacy != Paranoia (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 8 months ago | (#45586709)

You have a good point. Frankly, it is hard to imagine what a world of total transparency would be like. I have doubts whether total, universal transparency would lead to a utopia or a dystopia, but I am pretty darned confident this is all academic because it will never happen. Governments will never allow themselves to be *that* accountable.

You're totally right that privacy laws will always be violated. However, I believe that creating a climate where privacy is the expected situation will make the world a better place. In my country (the US), companies do spend considerable and honest effort to obey privacy laws, such as HIPAA (privacy of medical information). The main problem, in my view, is that so little information is protected by them.

Re:Privacy != Paranoia (1)

ImOuttaHere (2996813) | about 8 months ago | (#45583597)

Indeed. Privacy does _not_ equal paranoia.

I hate to see us have to fight this fight, yet again. It appears we need to, once more, remind our government and corporate overlords that what we do and who we are is really none of their business. Just because we pay taxes or give them our hard earned money in exchange for cheap pieces of electronic crap does _not_ mean they have the right to know everything or anything about us.

Re:Privacy != Paranoia (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45583701)

Are you ready to reconsider our point, that society is better off if governments are corporations do NOT have free reign to collect, store, and mine as much data about us as they want?

Since you're implicitly blaming me as one of those who ignored your warnings, I'm going to turn the tables on you.

YOU are to blame for insisting that information had to be freely downloadable, regardless of business models and copyright. Attempts at enforcement are mocked at, on this site, to this day, where workarounds to copyright protection devices are gleefully posted. Well it works both ways my friend, with the data you wish could remain confidential and secure.

Re:Privacy != Paranoia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45584243)

Pathetic troll is pathetic.

Re:Privacy != Paranoia (1)

jythie (914043) | about 8 months ago | (#45584587)

I am not so sure. It is not all that unusual to encounter people on slashdot who are for protecting their own privacy AND complain that data (such as music, movies, software, etc) should be free.

Re: Privacy != Paranoia (1)

tolkienfan (892463) | about 8 months ago | (#45589963)

So fucking what? They're different issues.

Re:Privacy != Paranoia (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 8 months ago | (#45587445)

All the way back in 1995, when I first started using the World Wide Web, some users were advocating for strong privacy protections. We were ignored, then laughed at, then insulted with the "tinfoil hat" labrel.

Well there were some of us advocating that before 1995, even as a young teenager using usenet, gopher and so on I could see it. And I wasn't particularly smart, or anything else. But you could see the way it was going, you could hear the whispers in the dark as it were, if you watched how politicians reacted to this whole "internet thing." I was a huge political hound back then, and the Liberal Government of the day was drooling over this up here in Canada. Luckily massive political infighting, and other issues kept them at bay.

The problem today of course is that governments worldwide are catching up on the way, either being massively intrusive, or simply being outrageously intrusive. It'll come down the general population to realize this, but I don't have much faith in most people. Most people in Canada know we're slow to get moving, slow to get angry over anything, messing with two things though will get us going. Screwing around with Hockey, or the internet.

Alright, that's it (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45583387)

In retaliation, from this point forward I'm going to make jokes about Australia being a country full of dim-witted criminals.

Q: What did the government do the public servant who broken into private computers and stole private data?
A: Awarded him with Australia's highest prize for thievery, the Stealybaloo Award.

Re:Alright, that's it (2)

gmuslera (3436) | about 8 months ago | (#45583963)

make jokes about Australia being a country governed by dim-witted criminals

FTFY

Oh, wait, thats no joke.

Mad as hell and I aint gonna take it anymore (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45583401)

I've never been much of a fan of democracy (well democracy as we call it in Australia). As such we need someone to play watchdog to the corrupt government officials who bleed our wallets and souls dry. I would have thought that this was the Governor General's responsibility; if not then who or what can we do to expose the government when they don't act in our interests or good faith?

Re:Mad as hell and I aint gonna take it anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45584933)

Nothing. No one cares.

Re:Mad as hell and I aint gonna take it anymore (2)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 8 months ago | (#45586105)

I've never been much of a fan of democracy (well democracy as we call it in Australia). As such we need someone to play watchdog to the corrupt government officials who bleed our wallets and souls dry. I would have thought that this was the Governor General's responsibility; if not then who or what can we do to expose the government when they don't act in our interests or good faith?

Your government DOES have a watchdog -- it's called the American Government. Unfortunately, the interests its watching out for probably don't line up with your own.

As for the GG, the GG is a representative of the Queen in her role as Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith. Unfortunately, she's even more of a figurehead in this role than she is in her role as Queen of the United Kingdom. So if things get REALLY bad, the GG can halt parliament and force the people to elect a new one -- but other than that, there's not much that can be done from that angle.

Suck it cold fjord! (2)

Desler (1608317) | about 8 months ago | (#45583405)

That these came from leaked Snowden documents can't be true. cold fjord told us that Snowden's leaks were only to harm the US government and would never include things about other governments. *rolls eyes*

The womans case was her fault. (-1, Troll)

allaunjsilverfox2 (882195) | about 8 months ago | (#45583431)

She literally wrote a book about her problems. She has no place in this matter.

Re:The womans case was her fault. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45583525)

The book predates the hospitalization the official referred to.

Next try?

Re:The womans case was her fault. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 8 months ago | (#45583551)

yeah so if you write a book then it's free game to share medical records about time after writing the book?

I guess that explains hemingway.

Re:The womans case was her fault. (5, Interesting)

TheP4st (1164315) | about 8 months ago | (#45583661)

The book were published in 2009 [amazon.com] , the agent that prevented her entry specifically referred [networkworld.com] to a hospitalization that took place in 2012. How did they know about events that should be shielded under patient privacy laws and took place years after publishing of mentioned book? Unless you can point to a source describing her 2012 hospitalization that were publicly available at the time of her entry denial, then I'd say that her story have a very interesting place in this matter.

Re:The womans case was her fault. (1)

BradMajors (995624) | about 8 months ago | (#45586633)

The only source we have that she was denied entry based upon an event in 2012 is her own word. Please note that this news story will help sell more copies of her book.

Not restricted to this case (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45583927)

Read up, they handed bulk, data on everyone over, with nothing but a pinky swear:

"DSD offered to share bulk, unselected, unminimised metadata – although there were specific caveats. The note taker at the meeting writes: “However, if a ‘pattern of life’ search detects an Australian then there would be a need to contact DSD and ask them to obtain a ministerial warrant to continue.”"

So NSA, and GCHQ, I'll give you all this data on Australians and in turn, you pinky swear (and no crossing fingers behind backs!) promise to come and ask us for a warrant if you find an Australian among this Australian data. OK?

"But Geoffrey Robertson, writing in the Guardian today, says if what was described in the memo took place, this would be a breach of sections eight and 12 of the Intelligence Services Act 2001. The act sets a strict requirement that ministerial authorisation is required if the data of an Australian citizen is involved, and indicates that the citizen must be a "person of interest", such as someone involved in terrorism or organised crime."

Damn f**ing right. The a law requires a warrant to spy on Australians, it does not let the DSD spy on them, then hand all the data over to a foreign power, with nothing but a promise note that they'll come back and ask the DSD to get a warrant if their searches suggest an Australian!

Un-f**ing believable.

Re:Not restricted to this case (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45590393)

And in the US the government gives our data to the Israelis for some unknown reason. Israel is one of the most hostile friends our government has, number one in spying on our country among our 'allies'.

Australians willpay more tax money to investigtors (1)

johnjones (14274) | about 8 months ago | (#45583595)

we want to do that...

oh wait no we don't... yes thats what centrelink etc are trying to do is catch fraud...

its not like they leave windows machines administrators full access to classified documents...

how many australians are concerned about immigration ?

thanks

John

Re:Australians willpay more tax money to investigt (1)

Kalriath (849904) | about 8 months ago | (#45590289)

we want to do that...

oh wait no we don't... yes thats what centrelink etc are trying to do is catch fraud...

its not like they leave windows machines administrators full access to classified documents...

Er, that was Work and Income New Zealand, not Centrelink Australia.

Feel sorry for this Canadian women (1)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 8 months ago | (#45583727)

And also angry at the Departments in the Australian Public service that has been caught spying.

Re:Feel sorry for this Canadian women (1)

aiht (1017790) | about 8 months ago | (#45591285)

And also angry at the Departments in the Australian Public service that has been caught spying.

And also angry at the Departments in the Australian Public service that are spying but have not been caught.

Where is this leading? (4, Insightful)

Sir_Eptishous (873977) | about 8 months ago | (#45583875)

The interesting thing to me is how little(except for places like /., etc;) extrapolation is done regarding our erosion of privacy and rights.
No one seems to think we are on a slippery slope here.

Yes, I know it's BEYOND trite and redundant to quote or reference Orwells' 1984, but hey, a guy having to stand in the corner of his apartment to stay out of view of telescreens and microphones is essentially where we are headed.

We are almost there now.

Re:Where is this leading? (5, Insightful)

TheMeuge (645043) | about 8 months ago | (#45584163)

No one seems to think we are on a slippery slope here.

Not anymore. I think we're long past it. We're like Wile E Coyote... we've run off the cliff, just haven't fully realized it yet.

Re:Where is this leading? (1)

Sir_Eptishous (873977) | about 8 months ago | (#45585237)

Great analogy.

Re:Where is this leading? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 8 months ago | (#45590049)

That staff in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, United States, a few other nations the US really like and cleared contractors: seem to have more faith in each other than their own elected govs, countries or their own public.
We all had a good look into the future when Eastern Europe opened gov archives in the early 1990's and we saw the huge amount of paper files, audio tape and index cards.
All backed up by a tame judiciary and mil/police that enjoyed keeping the boarders sealed.
Orwell and many other authors tried to warn people via a few different books and writing styles - 1984 been very direct.
Welcome shared domestic surveillance where other nations requests for data on one Australian individual result in very close supervision to ensure the correct anonymised data on some Australian national is sent back.

We know (1)

Bender Unit 22 (216955) | about 8 months ago | (#45584047)

it is all fucked up now. I think we need a reboot.

Re:We know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45584283)

it is all fucked up now. I think we need a reboot.

Or a power cycle. Where is the BRS? (for anyone too young, that was the big red switch on early PC's)

Australian / Canadian ? (2)

alexo (9335) | about 8 months ago | (#45584229)

This includes legal, religious and medical information, which was shared about this Canadian women.

How does the Australian spy agency share medical data on a Canadian woman?

Re:Australian / Canadian ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45584489)

The same way most IT information is shared. Workers talk on their smoke break.

Re:Australian / Canadian ? (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 8 months ago | (#45587003)

Pretty simple. First, they get the data because the woman lives in Australia, or visited Australia, or knows somebody in Australia, or said "Australia" once. Whatever. They get the data somehow. They're an intelligence agency. Getting data is what they do. Then they share it with a nod and a wink as they ignore whatever feeble privacy laws may exist. Because, as we learned from Snowden, that's also what they do.

Obligatory Blade Runner quote (2)

sandbagger (654585) | about 8 months ago | (#45584343)

'If you're not cop, you're little people.'

Credit where credit is due (3, Insightful)

gumpish (682245) | about 8 months ago | (#45584349)

Why doesn't the summary mention Snowden?

Down under, men plunder (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about 8 months ago | (#45584461)

You better run, you better take cover.

Re:Down under, men plunder (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45589339)

Down under, men plunder

Beer flow and men chunder (hint: many others don't care).

revelation fatigue (1)

lyapunov (241045) | about 8 months ago | (#45584505)

This is something that I truly worry about it. We are constantly bombarded with new outrages and many people are like "meh, it sucks. but what you gunna do?"

Is there an antidote?

Is there an antidote? (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about 8 months ago | (#45584535)

Yes. It's called prison. For that you need a judge.
For that you need the law.
It's a grand idea. It should be implemented.

Re:revelation fatigue (1)

Nyder (754090) | about 8 months ago | (#45585823)

This is something that I truly worry about it. We are constantly bombarded with new outrages and many people are like "meh, it sucks. but what you gunna do?"

Is there an antidote?

It's called a revolution.

Re:revelation fatigue (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 8 months ago | (#45590283)

Re the antidote.
Think about a book, comic, stage play, cartoon, song, dance, puppets, animations, create a free video game (app, PC, PS$...), blog -
A few $ on a website, lots of useful free software, code is free, digital art no longer has a huge up front cost in terms of cash or new skills.
Govs in Eastern Europe really got upset when they saw themselves, their 'new' laws, their 'legal' orders and their actions reflected around the world.
Terms like: contractors, insider trading, drones, clearances, rendition... metadata, Australian law, national interest, supervision....
The govs and hired sock puppets then have to react to your art. More fun to write about :)

Information is power (1)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 8 months ago | (#45584521)

Quite simply information is power. Governments might claim (and potentially truthfully) that they won't abuse this power; but it is power that they have quite simply grabbed without much debate. On the otherhand we the people are denied much information about government with them saying that it would be a security issue to hand out much of the most powerful information. So why is it that minor nobodies with little or no oversight can go through my most personal banking, telephoning, and medical information while the most basic information such as the exact details of how government officials are spending my money are hidden.

Few if any freedom of information laws have real teeth and governments push back against them as hard as is possible with outlandish fees, redacted information, delays, byzantine application and appeals processes, and in the end no consequences if they obstruct or don't comply. Let's see what happens when the government demands information from you and you start hitting them with per page fees, redacting information, or just saying no.

I have a simple suggestion: that laws be put into place that severely limit the government's ability to gather information about us. And another set of laws that give the public pretty well open and near total access to any government record. The only records that should be "secret" are ones where the harm greatly outweighs the public good and even then there could be time limits. Two examples would be a few things involving criminal investigations such as informants, undercover officers, wiretaps, etc. The other would be individual medical records as people would otherwise be reluctant to seek treatment for embarrassing conditions or at least be honest with their doctor.

But severely limiting the government would almost certainly result in their doing an end run and using private organizations to do their spying. So the law would have to reach out and limit any organization from gathering or sharing data. A simple example that I would love to see is that a company would not be allowed to disseminate/sell data even in the aggregate that they gathered for a specific purpose beyond that purpose. So if a contest gets your name they can use it for picking a winner, not for further marketing. If the power company gets your address they can hook you up and send you bills. If the credit card companies see you make a purchase they can bill you for it but that is it. A critical part of such a law would be that a contract can not depend upon someone waving that right, nor can their be negative option waivers.

A simple way to formulate this law would be to find out the various data sources that junk mailers use and make them all illegal; that plus a bit of common sense would make for an awesome life improving law.

Government recruitment campaign? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45584819)

Cool, sign me up for a blackmaili^H^H^H^H^H^H^H public servant job!11

Re:Government recruitment campaign? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45589381)

Cool, sign me up for a blackmaili^H^H^H^H^H^H^H public servant job!11

There you go [asio.gov.au]

Australia has always been a social engineering lab (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45585793)

Why is Australia a sad joke compared to the USA. Both have a similar recent history, with their significant origins in the British Empire. Both are effectively continental nations with unthinkable levels of natural resources. But the USA was developed by the British (every philosophical aspect of the so-called American Revolution was designed by British thinkers to create) to create Britain II, whereas Australia was kept as a crap-hole to serve various nasty purposes.

Today, Australia has a level of social engineering that rivals that seen in some of the Scandinavian (old Viking) nations. Austarlia is what is know as a 'soft' or 'hidden' police state, where the population are coerced from birth to think they willingly demand obscene levels of sheeple control.

In Australia:
-voting is compulsory. You break the law if you refuse to vote. Of course, since anyone who votes, no matter how they vote, gives active support to the current system, every citizen of this sick nation is FORCED to actively support the current system- BY LAW.
-your driving licence can be removed, by simple a simple police request, if you have 'broken' the law in any regard.
-the Orwellian 'department of statistics' has (and uses) the legal power to forcibly 'interview' any citizen, asking them the most intrusive and sickening questions about their sex lives and other personal issues. Such 'interviews' also include forcible physical inspection of the victims body. To make this clearer, this department sends MEN to the home of single women, to grill them on their sex life, and to take intimate body measurements, and if the woman refuses, she can be imprisoned.

Now the usual vile shills will try to tell you that POWERFUL, informed citizens can fight things like the above, and to a greater extent this is true- but irrelevant. In any highly abusive society, the well informed and well educated people in better positions of power suffer least. No police state, hard or soft, gains by butting its head against people with the ability to make large numbers of others UNHAPPY about the nature of their society.

It is the ordinary Australian woman, for instance, when confronted by the official pervert from the Australian statistics department who will find it 'easier' to just accept to horror of the questioning and physical inspection, rather than demand to know what here 'rights' and options really are. On the OFFICIAL site of the State Statistical department are instructions for their employees and how to intimidate their victims by referring to their power to have the non-compliant jailed.

Those in high office in Australia are the worst forms of petty corrupt filth. Australia has no elite class at all- Australia simply does the bidding of the elite in the UK (and to some extent the USA). Australia, like Canada, are faux-'independent' nations that are actually part of the British sphere of influence (the way that the Ukraine, to use a recent example, is really part of Putin's empire).

Australia spies on its citizens, and invites the world to use this data, NOT because anyone gives a damn about anything any Australian ever does, but to lay down precedents monsters like Tony Blair want to be followed in more important nations across our planet. As Blair travels the world he says "if it is 'good' enough for the Australians, we should be doing the same in Britain, America etc". Of course, there already is full surveillance in Britain and America, but Blair wants a future where the sheeple are AWARE of this fact, and 'comfortable' with it, and its daily visible consequences.

Re:Australia has always been a social engineering (1)

alexo (9335) | about 8 months ago | (#45589767)

-voting is compulsory. You break the law if you refuse to vote. Of course, since anyone who votes, no matter how they vote, gives active support to the current system, every citizen of this sick nation is FORCED to actively support the current system- BY LAW.

You are not prevented from casting an invalid [austlii.edu.au] vote.

Re:Australia has always been a social engineering (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45591221)

you are not legally required to vote at all, you are legally required to attend a polling place, and have your name marked off, after that you are free to leave with or without voting

Re:Australia has always been a social engineering (1)

Jamie Ian Macgregor (3389757) | about 8 months ago | (#45591941)

however being invalid means it wouldn't count... so don't waste your time.

Re:Australia has always been a social engineering (1)

Jamie Ian Macgregor (3389757) | about 8 months ago | (#45591951)

Ohhh... you dont mean Invalid aka handy-capable

Re:Australia has always been a social engineering (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45590629)

Are you just buthurt your immigration was refused?
I'm glad they kept you out.

Re:Australia has always been a social engineering (1)

aiht (1017790) | about 8 months ago | (#45591363)

-the Orwellian 'department of statistics' has (and uses) the legal power to forcibly 'interview' any citizen, asking them the most intrusive and sickening questions about their sex lives and other personal issues.

Sorry, but what are you even talking about?
I can't find anything online called the Department of Statistics (except for in various universities, of course). Do you mean the Australian Bureau of Statistics?
They're the ones who send out a census form to be filled in and mailed back. I have never heard any suggestion that they send representatives to question people directly, let alone "physical inspection" or wielding the threat of jail time.
Do you have a source for this?
Am I just feeding a troll, here?

Re:Australia has always been a social engineering (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45592873)

Well done sir.

Hopefully all the ignorant people like you believe this tripe and never bother to come to Australia.
They country thanks you for your service.

Re:Australia has always been a social engineering (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45592919)

So why is Australia's government and society so much better than America's.
They get healthcare and decent government (that isnt shutdown on a whim) and sensible laws.
In Australia they also have more than one party, unlike the US.
The politicians are kicked out for being corrupt or simply unintelligent. In the US both these things are encouraged in politicians of all types.

Australians vote in large numbers and so the reasonable middle has a large say in the decisions of the government.
Contrast to the US where the only people who vote are the nutters on the fringes who are angry enough to do something, while the rest of you complain about your useless politicians. If your not voting in the US you must be extremely happy with the current situation, since you dont bother to chang it.

Australia spies a bit and gives the US the data, in exchange Australia gets ALL the US data. Who is getting the raw deal here?

Your medication must have worn off here as the rest of your post about a "department of statistics" is a total fiction.


PS. The British must have been extremely incompetent to try and create a crap-hole, but accidentally make the economy have the highest GDP per capita in the world in its early days.

Re:Australia has always been a social engineering (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45592967)

Australia has no elite class at all- Australia simply does the bidding of the elite in the UK (and to some extent the USA)

You do know that Rupert Murdoch was an Australian for way way longer than he is an American and that he basicly chooses the British government and owns Fox News and therefore the Republican party as well. He only gained US citizenship to own media in the US.

Not bad for a country with no elite class.
In reality though, the country is too small for most serious elites to bother with. So they move on to bigger^W more corrupt countries to increase their wealth and influence.

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