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Australian Parliament Approves Email Snooping

CowboyNeal posted more than 8 years ago | from the big-brother-is-reading dept.

226

brindafella writes "The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper, reporting on a legislative change last week, says 'the [Australian] Government will have 12 months to access communications not only between the B-party and the suspect, but also between the B-party and anyone else. If you have unwittingly communicated with a suspect (and thereby become a B-party), the Government may be able to monitor all your conversations with family members, friends, work colleagues, your lawyer and your doctor.' The Australian Parliament's major parties combined to pass an amendment to the Telecommunications (Interception) Amendment Act 1979."

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226 comments

Big brother is watching....again..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15055948)

Don't email me!

Re:Big brother is watching....again..... (1)

AussieVamp2 (636560) | more than 8 years ago | (#15055955)

Hopefully New Zealand ain't going to copy us copying the USA?

Re:Big brother is watching....again..... (1)

barefootgenius (926803) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056282)

Of course not......whats an email?

Re:Big brother is watching....again..... (2, Informative)

barefootgenius (926803) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056318)

Did a little searching and it looks like New Zealand may well be ahead of you. To quote from InternetNZ [internetnz.net.nz] .

"Clause 19 introduces a new computer offence of intentionally accessing a computer system without authorisation; commonly known as "hacking" (new section 305ZFA) (the unauthorised access offence). However, the offence will not apply to everyone because clause 19 provides qualified exemptions for the following State agencies:

1)the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (the SIS) (new section 305ZFB)
2)the Government Communications Security Bureau (the GCSB) (new section 305ZFC)
3)"law enforcement agencies", such as the police (new section 305ZFD)."

Etc...Can't find if it has been passed yet though. That was in 2001. Would look more, but I'm supposed to be studying.

Re:Big brother is watching....again..... (3, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 8 years ago | (#15055993)

I recall now that Winston Smith's apartment in 1984 [amazon.com] was built in such a way that part of his room was outside the glimpse of the telescreen. This allowed him to write his diary, although as anyone who has read the book knows, this small blow for freedom didn't mean much in the end.

But on the Internet, what spaces do we have that are truly private? What is our best bet for having a small amount of privacy to live as normal human beings? PGP? Or, as the previous Slashdot story tells, Freenet? On a system where all communication between two individual goes over a wire that Big Brother can watch with ease, finding a private nook is hard indeed.

Re:Big brother is watching....again..... (4, Interesting)

Goth Biker Babe (311502) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056007)

I foresee the rebirth of Fidonet except possibly using Wi-Fi.

I feel safe now (3, Funny)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 8 years ago | (#15055958)

Before I wanted to go to Australia but I was scared, now i can go there feeling safe. I'm realy glad that they passed this law.

Re:I feel safe now (1)

phreakv6 (760152) | more than 8 years ago | (#15055986)

i think the reverse holds true for me. i _am_ scared now

Re:I feel safe now (1)

dotgain (630123) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056061)

Whoosh!

Re:I feel safe now (1)

TR0J (854622) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056073)

LOL. I misread your comment as saying you are a "sacred cow", then I misread your email name as Brahmin, reinforcing the matter.

It Won't Apply To Me (5, Funny)

Elvis77 (633162) | more than 8 years ago | (#15055960)

I'm a programmer, I don't have any friends...

Re:It Won't Apply To Me (1)

tqft (619476) | more than 8 years ago | (#15055979)

So if OBL has one of his Aussie "B" mates posts a comment to /. then the Aus gov can snoop on you?

Anyone want to read the act and give a verdict on that?

IANAL, don't ask /. for legal advice, blah blah blah.

Most likely the act is broad enough cover that.

Don't forget Aus is friends with the big E. So yes they can trace you.

Re:It Won't Apply To Me (4, Informative)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056046)

Anyone want to read the act and give a verdict on that?

I've been following the progress of this and similar acts and yes, in theory at least, it will give the Australian Government the right to collect information on us Aussie Slashdotters.

From the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law:

Second, in some circumstances, the government can use the information it collects even though that information is irrelevant to the original suspect. For example, if the government uncovers incriminating information from listening to a B-Party's conversations, this can set off a chain reaction allowing the interception of the incriminated person's communications or of anyone with whom they communicate.
The worst of it though, is the unseemly haste the government has used to rush this through parliament. Interested parties were given only 10 days to prepare submissions on the Bill, and the Senate Committee had only two weeks to review the submissions, hear evidence and prepare a report. They really badly want to read our private correspondence.

Re:It Won't Apply To Me (1)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056203)

Basically, this is two degrees of separation: the suspect (and I'd be willing to bet the threshhold for what qualifies as a suspected threat to national security has been lowered substantially since 9/11), anyone who's communicated with the suspect, and anyone who's communicated with anyone who's communicated the suspect could potentially have their emails read.

Figure your suspect has emailed 100 people in the past year, and then figure that each of those people has emailed 100 different people. Assuming no overlap, that would mean 10,000 different people who could have their email snooped because of this suspect. That's a pretty simplistic take on things, in reality some people might email a dozen people, many will email hundreds, some might email a thousand. What's a realistic estimate for the number of people within two degrees of separation on your average email social network, anyhow?

Hell, is it even useful to generate 10,000 different leads? I could see how maybe you could generate useful leads if a couple names kept popping up again and again in the inboxes of terrorists and their associates, but this just seems like an overly broad license to spy.

You know, I wonder, even OBL must get spam from Nigeria and penis enlargement scams, so do those guys end up on CIA watchlists?

It's about contacts, not friends (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15055982)

Stooopid you, they wont evaluate if a contact is a friend!

Now that you have posted on slashd [I have to go, it knocks on my door]

Mohammed Jihad Uranium Sarin Sydney Howard (4, Funny)

Simon Garlick (104721) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056077)

-----BEGIN PGP MESSAGE-----
Version: GnuPG v1.4.2.2

hQEMAyndGpy58lMCAQf/fyLAH++iB8hQSsAEN87ihbS8R6ZSjo nlXxSrGfiB/15J
RUN3vfTkrDDpZPQtJtXNxAlykvKJRNd+pVz5NeITD5p2janveZ /SyezJA9mvNpsH
hq2EkpTUZx7kp/bM20j9G3pJC+sh19B4iUbjV0L9s7VJ3NzZBh /k67b2gpGJ5ypf
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Z8rDxQk7N3s9dp17zsT2V9NIw1FfSpEPx4RknDbBtpPcyFNkN4 WqT2TBYEAFGofN
Pcf2EGA5nDvhKbE1Zt8oIZX/jjz2eOOqAHu7XVgJwNJTAVBE89 7A+8o+Qrj2DST4
+IuL7ibwweSJpniElDGuhsLX/fTDycXMkYAuhhazsdZcr6/YXr 3aNZTpTRcOnqlQ
uMlCAwvuuBDf9pLaLIKzZEzNUnU=
=R5l2
-----END PGP MESSAGE-----

Re:Mohammed Jihad Uranium Sarin Sydney Howard (1)

TGhostH (965525) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056270)

Surely the Austrialian Spy Squad can get through a privacy that is only "Pretty Good"!

Re:Mohammed Jihad Uranium Sarin Sydney Howard (1)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056278)

Oh really [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:Mohammed Jihad Uranium Sarin Sydney Howard (1)

speculatrix (678524) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056375)

I tried to decode that using rot-13, but it didn't work
:-)

Re:It Won't Apply To Me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15056424)

And if you did, you could use pgp..

Australian Politics Gone Mad (5, Interesting)

syousef (465911) | more than 8 years ago | (#15055962)

Seriously these politicians have just gone plain loopy and it's all because the labour party has gone into a tailspin.

State labour in NSW (where Sydney is and the biggest state) has been unable to fix Sydney's transport problem and keeps closing roads around new tollways stuffing up public transport...not to mention they haven't been able to improve a constantly deteriorating health care system. Federal labour can't get enough votes to put up any serious opposition and the opposing party has a majority in both houses. The young labour party has recently been in the papers for calling for conscription - a total about face on their previous postion. Recently the labour party also did an about face on their position regarding forcing ISPs to filter pornography (and are now in favour of this with all of its technical problems). What's more they have personality issues within the party (nothing new in politics but this is when a party has to band together to survive).

I'm an Australian who feels I have zero representation. Not one politician here is even trying to make this country better...not even for the votes.

Re:Australian Politics Gone Mad (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15055971)

The Commonwealth Government which is run by the Liberal party is passing this law, not the New South Wales state Government which is run by the Labor party.

Move to Queensland if you don't like Sydney... oh hang on, no don't...

Re:Australian Politics Gone Mad (2, Insightful)

caitsith01 (606117) | more than 8 years ago | (#15055981)

Grandparent's extremely valid point was that the federal ALP does absolutely nothing by way of providing effective and principled opposition and as such the Liberals can do what they want with no accountability whatsoever. Reverse the parties and you have the problem at the state level.

Re:Australian Politics Gone Mad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15056451)

The problem with the Federal Opposition is that Kim Beazley secretly wishes he was in the Liberal Party. His greatest hero is John Howard, so he rarely disagrees with him unless he has to.

Re:Australian Politics Gone Mad (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 8 years ago | (#15055984)

Dear annoymous QLD coward. I was having a rant about the Labour Party since once upon a time I use to vote for them and still wish they vaguely represented my beliefs. If you read the summary (not even the article) you'll notice that it states all parties banded together to pass this one.

Please enjoy the rest of your day despite having your head firmly planted where the sun don't shine. Ironic for a QLDer no?

Re:Australian Politics Gone Mad (1, Informative)

Dantoo (176555) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056100)

Why rant about the Labour Party? They don't even have any members in an Australian Parliament. I'm more concerned about the failing credibility of these guys: http://www.alp.org.au/ [alp.org.au] The Labor Party

Re:Australian Politics Gone Mad (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15056019)

Maybe if those of us on the left had someone we felt comfortable voting for other than the Greens, who can be a bit loony... but as it is Beazley seems to be trying to outflank Howard on the right wing. Ten years and one month so far of covert and overt racism, blatant breaches of ministerial responsibility, and a complete lack of any decent opposition. Still, at least Australians feel can now safe wrapping themselves in the flag and bashing people of "Middle Eastern appearance", hey?

I say vote Greens. (4, Insightful)

babbling (952366) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056284)

Considering this new bill, surely even if you're not a Greens supporter, you can at least agree that having a few more Greens politicians in parliament wouldn't be a bad idea, right?

I don't really see what you mean by "loony", though. Everything they do seems to be in the interests of the people. Yes, maybe their policies wouldn't be "the best thing for the economy", but have you ever considered that always doing what is "best for the economy" involves completely forgetting about social, ethical and moral considerations?

Forget the economy. There are more important things in life than money.

Re:Australian Politics Gone Mad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15056230)

Who are these people and why have they stolen our patented victory method?

Yours,

The Democrat Leadership Council

(It's funny, laugh.)

(Well, actually, it's quite sad...)

Follow the leader (USA) (1)

agent (7471) | more than 8 years ago | (#15055967)

They are all cast off crooks from GB anyhow.

How can we sleep when our beds are bruning?

Re:Follow the leader (USA) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15056023)

Hey -- down in Adelaide we were free settlers, I'll have you know!

Re:Follow the leader (USA) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15056036)

If you had half a brain and weren't so incredibly ignorant, you'd know that 99.999% of Australians have no convict background, and that virtually all families came here as free settlers.

Re:Follow the leader (USA) (1)

jibjibjib (889679) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056131)

Hrmm, that means 0.001% of Australians do have a convict background. 0.001% of 20 million makes 200, doesn't it? What a coincidence that I'm one of them.

Re:Follow the leader (USA) (2, Funny)

Bruce Losis (608865) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056103)

I don't know about you, but I'd rather be a deported political activist (the majority of Australian transportees were Irish republicans and people displaced by the potato blight famine) than a religious freak anyday.

Typical of Australia (5, Interesting)

caitsith01 (606117) | more than 8 years ago | (#15055968)

This is typical of the current government's attitude to privacy and telecommunications. The Telecommunications Act already allows for seizure of computers and other equipment when it is 'connected with' offences under the Spam Act, for example. There is also evidence that the government has been confiscating and destroying [sbs.com.au] personal computers without a warrant when they contain 'sensitive' information.

All of this is part of a broader lack of accountability, due process and transparency that is becoming part of the culture of Australian lawmaking. There is a good article on the subject here [theage.com.au] .

For those from more sensible countries, supposedly democratic Australia currently has the following features:

1. One party entirely in control of both houses of parliament
2. No bill of rights, either legislative or constitutional
3. Legislation allowing for the arrest, detention, and interrogation without charge of persons not suspected of any offence if they may have information that is somehow relevant to a suspected terrorist offence; the onus of proof is reversed so that the person being interrogated must prove that they do NOT have any such information.
4. One of the highest rates of phone tapping in the world
5. Unelected bureacrats empowered to spy on Australians with no parliamentary oversight to speak of
6. Several semi-secret US intelligence bases operating on our soil
7. New crimes of sedition for exercising free speech in a manner that encourages the overthrow of the government
8. Troops in Iraq despite over 80% of the population opposing our involvement before the war
At the moment we also have an extremely disturbing rise in racial and religious intolerance, which in my opinion is in no small part attributable to the federal government's policies and fearmongering on those issues. But of course, this doesn't stop us selling weapons-grade uranium to China [news.com.au] because they weeeeally promise to use it for civilian purposes only.

Re:Typical of Australia (1)

keesh (202812) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056009)

Curious that you consider some kind of bill of rights to be necessary for a democracy... In a true democracy, it's totally ok for anyone to be screwed over in every kind of way so long as the majority of voters don't dissent.

Re:Typical of Australia (1)

johnhoward666 (928095) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056028)

Thats true of a democracy, but we are a liberal democracy, and the liberal ideaology, traditions and conventions *should* stop that from happening. So much for a small government that is free of regulation. That said, it is true that draconian laws have been passed here (Australia) in recent years. This law also extends to SMS. And on another note, this has got me thinking what those two telecom workers were doing outside my house when I got home today.... :)

Ve vill CRUSH You (-1, Flamebait)

slipx (877242) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056016)

Australia has a nasty habit of crushing freedoms... in fact, we're a fascist run country, no democracy to speak of. We also own 40% of the worlds uranium, so in WW3... it's GAME ON!

Re:Typical of Australia (1, Insightful)

hpcanswers (960441) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056110)

From an American in Australia: I don't see what the big deal is. The US has wire tapping, is in Iraq, has one party in control of the federal government, etc. For that matter, Britain is in Iraq too and is controlled by one party.

Where would you rather live? France, where routine protests stifle legislative progress? Or how about Germany, where making a politically unpopular statement (such as denying the Holocaust) is illegal?

The English-speaking countries are doing quite well for themselves.

Re:Typical of Australia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15056169)

Where would you rather live?

France. I'm in the UK and will be moving to Paris in about a year
(I'm saving up some cash). I can't live in a coutry run by
war criminals any more.

Re:Typical of Australia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15056187)

Algeria wasn't that long ago...

Re:Typical of Australia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15056220)

Longer than Faluja ...

Re:Typical of Australia (1)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056312)

After a few weeks in France you'll really wish you didn't leave for Paris, trust me... I live there.

Re:Typical of Australia (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15056167)

In the good ol' U S of A:

1. One party entirely in control of both houses of parliament
Check!
2. No bill of rights, either legislative or constitutional
Ok, you got us there
3. Legislation allowing for the arrest, detention, and interrogation without charge of persons not suspected of any offence if they may have information that is somehow relevant to a suspected terrorist offence; the onus of proof is reversed so that the person being interrogated must prove that they do NOT have any such information.
Pfft, legislation is for dweebs. Just ask Dubya
4. One of the highest rates of phone tapping in the world
Hmm, don't know enough to comment, sorry
5. Unelected bureacrats empowered to spy on Australians with no parliamentary oversight to speak of
Elected officials empowering agencies to spy on Americans with no oversight to speak of, check!
6. Several semi-secret US intelligence bases operating on our soil
Check!
7. New crimes of sedition for exercising free speech in a manner that encourages the overthrow of the government
Check! But really, see #3
8. Troops in Iraq despite over 80% of the population opposing our involvement before the war
Dunno about 80%, but sure does feel way over 50...

At the moment we also have an extremely disturbing rise in racial and religious intolerance, which in my opinion is in no small part attributable to the federal government's policies and fearmongering on those issues. But of course, this doesn't stop us selling weapons-grade uranium to China because they weeeeally promise to use it for civilian purposes only.
Check!

Sadly, this looks like the state of affairs all around the world :(

Re:Typical of Australia (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056173)

Number 6 is explained by number 2. Why do you think we're not hosting them domestically?

Re:Typical of Australia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15056217)

Typical of the UK too. We have all the advantages of a parliamentary democracy with a constitution that's mostly unwritten and/or easily changeable: the government can do pretty much whatever the hell they like, including recently passing some of the most draconian, illiberal legislation ever. It's not long now before they just abolish parliament completely and just set themselves up as rulers for life (see http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,1072-20497 91,00.html [timesonline.co.uk] , The Abolishment of Parliament Act as it's been nicknamed).

Re:Typical of Australia (1)

wiresquire (457486) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056428)

Tell me about it.

I made a conscious decision to leave the US and return to Australia because I didn't have a lot of faith in the way things were going in the US.

You can imagine my horror over the last 18 months.
- federal 'monopoly' of both houses of parliament. WTF happened to the Democrats whose motto was 'keep the bastards honest'?
- Howard bends over and takes it deeply and willingly on copyright/patents for the US trade agreement while gaining nothing for the primary industry
- Australian Wheat Board. Fuck it. I can't stand saying anything about that.
- The media who incites racism and intolerance and then wonders why there are riots and shit.
- Australia seems to be *everyone's* bitch. Just pulling something topical off the top of my head, oh let's talk about uranium sales. Google it. I'm too pissed to do it for you.

OK, well you thought that was a rant, let's try this.
IMNSHO, Australian state govt's should be RESTRUCTURED. Yes, let's use that latest *brilliant* Industrial Relations reforms and do away with them altogether. We wouldn't have to pay any redundancy. Australia has only about 25m people - about the same as CA in the US. So you have a federal govt and stop all the bitching between the states 'Oh, but we have MORE *insert bullshit here* than that other state'. And LOCAL government.

The whole concept of 'federation' is nowadays bullshit.

Anyone want to start a party?

ws

And put me on your motherfucking Big Brother list. It can't be any more inane than the 'reality' show.

Links? (5, Insightful)

vk2tds (175334) | more than 8 years ago | (#15055973)

Not sure if anyone has looked at the links to this article, but the text to the amendment to the act cited at the end of the article was approved in 2004, and is not related at all. In fact the amendment to the act was slightly changed with an 18 month period listed instead of 12 months.

The admenment act is basically just, as far as I can tell, making some parts of the act plainer, saying that a router which buffers packets in memory is not actually storing those packets just because it needs to store them for a few milliseconds. It also clarifies that VoIP is not stored communications.

Any citations of the actual amendment?

Darryl

Re:Links? (1)

caitsith01 (606117) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056031)

Have a look here [aph.gov.au] and here [aph.gov.au] for handy details on the destruction of your civil liberties, brought to you by MiniTruth.

Too much Beer, not enough recall elections! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15055985)

Too much Beer, not enough recall elections!

You need to recall these bastards! It really wakes these polititions up when they find out they can get yanked out of office in a few months!

Try it!

Use PGP/GPG (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15055989)

I'm an aussie, but for server hosting reasons virtually all of my email is routed through the United States.

In other words, the CIA have been reading all my email for years now - why can't ASIO have a go?

Re:Use PGP/GPG (3, Informative)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056003)

In other words, the CIA have been reading all my email for years now

In the United States, monitoring communications is the mission of the National Security Agency, not the Central Intelligence Agency, which focuses on various other fields of intelligence. For a good introduction to the NSA, what they do and (as best we know) how they do it, try James Bamford's Body of Secrets [amazon.com] , written by the foremost public expert on the agency.

Re:Use PGP/GPG (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15056024)

Sorry, you are of course correct. The equivalent in Australia is the DSD - "Defence Signals Directorate", although ASIO is responsible for domestic signals interceptions and indeed all domestic intelligence.

Dammit, I'm sure intelligence used to mean something else.

Re:Use PGP/GPG (1)

5plicer (886415) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056069)

Also be sure to check out their hilarious CryptoKids(TM) [nsa.gov] site.

Re:Use PGP/GPG (1)

5plicer (886415) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056289)

whoops! I meant to reply to CRCulver's comment [slashdot.org] ... sorry.

A few small, tiny questions... (4, Insightful)

TheNoxx (412624) | more than 8 years ago | (#15055992)

Why is the Australian government even doing this? Has there been any major terrorist attack on Australia? Do they really think there will be one in the future? What's the point, other than crushing freedom?

Re:A few small, tiny questions... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15056030)

1 - Get court order on a spammer.
2 - Wait for spammer to email everyone in Australia.
3 - Become legally entitled to monitor all Australians at will.

Re:A few small, tiny questions... (2, Insightful)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056161)

1 - Get court order on a spammer.

They wouldn't have to look very far. John Howard himself took to spamming his electorate just before the last election.

Re:A few small, tiny questions... (2, Informative)

Neo-Rio-101 (700494) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056059)

Actually a cadre of extremists were arrested in both Sydney and Melbourne and were charged with a slew of new terrorsism related offenses. It was thought the arrests had effectively prevented an attack on Australian soil.

Re:A few small, tiny questions... (2, Insightful)

BJH (11355) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056088)

Did you perhaps notice that they were able to catch these "extremists" WITHOUT the draconian legislative changes they're trying to introduce?

Maybe that means they've already got all the tools they need - in which case, why do they need this?

Re:A few small, tiny questions... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15056311)

The arrests were made as a result of laws that were pushed through in a hurry that would have otherwise been labelled as draconian.

Re:A few small, tiny questions... (4, Insightful)

lorelorn (869271) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056377)

Actually it was claimed the arrests had stopped an attack on Australian soil. The media duly repeated this claim without comment or question, so now it has become somehow relevant.

The fact is, a group of people from an increasingly vilified minority in Australia were arrested and are being held without formal charges being laid or evidence tendered.

They are being held under dubious new laws that extend the amount of time someone can be held without formal charges or evidence.

I expect they will be held for several months and then released without charge, trial, or comment in the media.

The same reason it is everywhere else (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056335)

Control of your population. That's in democracies even more important than in dictatorships where you got easier means to make sure everyone stays in line.

Given the choice, I'd prefer the danger of a bomb on my head to the golden cage. Unfortunately, we don't get the choice.

Re:A few small, tiny questions... (2)

StrawberryFrog (67065) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056374)

Has there been any major terrorist attack on Australia?

Rightly or wrongly, the "2002 Bali bombings [wikipedia.org] is percieved as such:
The largest group among those killed were holiday-makers from Australia. The Bali bombing is sometimes called "Australia's September 11" because of the large number of its citizens killed in the attack.

A few glib answers (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056405)

"Why is the Australian government even doing this?"

It is in our constitution that what the USA does our government must try to go "one better". It used to be about having cattle stations bigger than a Texan ranch (maybe even bigger than Texas?). Nowadys its all about who can find the most terrorists.

"Has there been any major terrorist attack on Australia?"

No, Aussies have been targeted in three major Indonesian attacks over the last few years. We have had some "minor" attacks in the past from neo-nazi groups, organised crime and a few solo mental cases. Oh, we also had the Alan Jones riots [abc.net.au] in Sydney last year. ( His single-handed incitement of the riots was very poorly covered in the media. Politicians continue to give this guy clout by lining up to be on his breakfast show ).

"Do they really think there will be one in the future?"

Of course, the western governments are building an massive industry around it. We are also locking up some new scapegoats, the most recent is known as Jihad Jack [google.com] who was locked up for 5yrs just a few days ago.

"What's the point, other than crushing freedom?"

Defining, monitoring and dismantling "social networks", preferably before they can form a political movement. Besides our PM has always dreamed of dragging us back to the 1950's.

Re:A few small, tiny questions... (1)

glesga_kiss (596639) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056455)

Why is the Australian government even doing this? Has there been any major terrorist attack on Australia? Do they really think there will be one in the future?

Well, they jumped gung-ho into the Iraq invasion, which didn't work out too well for the UKs "zero islamic terrorism evar!!!" record on one warm, sunny July morning in 2005.

Despite our politicians attempts to mislead us from the truth, these terrorists don't hate freedom. They hate our actions, and rightly so. And now they hate Austrailia as well. Isn't being in the firing line fun!?!

What is wrong with this country? (1, Interesting)

atomicstrawberry (955148) | more than 8 years ago | (#15055997)

I'm increasingly feeling like Australia is caught in a rapid downward spiral. Every week it seems like they've chipped away another little bit of our privacy and liberty. To call the country a ship without a rudder is an understatement - the rudder came off years ago, we're now taking on water, the captain's roaring drunk and half the crew have lost their minds. The standard of living in Australia is generally pretty high for now, but I just can't see it continuing. The problem is, where else is there to go?

You WISH there was no rudder (3, Insightful)

caitsith01 (606117) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056040)

But of course there is. No-one is drunk and out of control - they know exactly what they're doing. And that is far, far more disturbing. When you actually look at all this legislation it's very apparent that it is quite tailored to meet its objectives, which generally are not quite the objectives stated to the media and the people.

I know exactly what you mean about feeling like we're in a downward spiral here though...

*sigh* (3, Funny)

phreakv6 (760152) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056002)

"the Government may be able to monitor all your conversations with family members, friends, work colleagues, your lawyer and your doctor."

..and my SPAM too. good luck with tracing the person selling me viarga for years

Crazyness (1)

Mistakill (965922) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056012)

Everyone will be able to be investigated, everyone in the world, as everyone emailed will become a "B-Party"

Chain letter (5, Interesting)

kooshvt (86122) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056026)

Just start a chain letter to everyone you know and make sure to CC all the politicians so they will also be subject to monitoring. Let them know they have now become a B-party. If every politician becomes a B-party to every citizen they may reconsider their actions.

Re:Chain letter (2, Insightful)

Boronx (228853) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056080)

They will demure from spying on anyone of consequence who might object and derail their plans. Their lists will be continually culled of the famous and the politically connected.

Re:Chain letter (1)

Anarchitect_in_oz (771448) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056093)

Are you sure you want to be a B-party to any of our Pollies?
Your bound to come under the very long arm of this law much sooner that way.

You have to wonder does emailing all the pollies count as an "act of spam".
Or has that democratic right been taken away here in a nice slight of hand.

What doe this mean for SPAM? (1)

chandip (751271) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056032)

If most "suspects" have a normal email account they will receive SPAM.
Becuase SPAM cannout be discounted as a covert message the SPAMer will need to be monitored
So now the Spammer is the "B-party"
So now the government is monitoring millions of SPAM messages from the Spammer

Considering most people receive SPAM inclduing "suspects" any government monitoring will soon get stuck in this SPAM loop


Who ever thought of this... GOOD LUCK

Re:What doe this mean for SPAM? (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056090)

So now the Spammer is the "B-party"

Unfortunately, this new law doesn't state that the government must monitor all communications of the "B-party", only that it may if it deems this useful.

Same remark about the idea of sending to mail all politicians once you're suspected of a crime.

If you have nothing to hide... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15056055)

... you have nothing to worry about!

I really dont know why people cry about "losing their privacy".

it annoys me to think that someone's pride is more important than justice.

Re:If you have nothing to hide... (2, Insightful)

mk_is_here (912747) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056323)

How about your nickname on slashdot, Mr. AC?

Welcome to 1984 (4, Interesting)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056087)

Welcome to the totalitarian world.

The excuse for all of this is "the rise in global terrorism", well if that were really the reason then the terrorists have won, they have fundamentally changed our societies.

The reasons are deeper than that, terrorism is an excuse that is brought out as a bogey man to try to provide justification for further infringements of civil liberites. The Tony Blair, in the UK, is now pushing an act [saveparliament.org.uk] that will allow any government minister to change almost any bit of legislation without having to bother to pursuade parliament to agree.

We will suffer for sleep walking to a state where unelected civil servants have the power to snoop on us without any real oversight. This will be abused by these civil servants for their own personal ends.

You thought that Russia 20 years ago was bad - we will have it far worse.

Re:Welcome to 1984 (5, Insightful)

pe1chl (90186) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056215)

the terrorists have won, they have fundamentally changed our societies

It has amazed me for a long time that major politicians fail to see this, or at least act as if they do so.
5 years go, all "free western country" politicians were telling you that freedom was the highest goal in life, that communism was lack of freedom and so it was bad, that totalitarian governments were evil, etc.
They were also claiming they would never negotiate with - or give in to terrorists because that would mean the end of this sacred freedom.

And now, they are taking away all freedom at will to "combat" a problem that is mostly caused by their own behaviour. Freedom suddenly is worth nothing, now "security" is the buzzword. All other priorities and values have to give way to this.

Wouldn't it be better to look at the reasons for terrorism and do something about that, than to always try to "fight a war" against it?
Terrorism is a byproduct of fighting wars against defenseless minority groups, and so fighting a war against terrorism is completely counter-productive.

Re:Welcome to 1984 (1)

phreakv6 (760152) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056254)

The reasons are deeper than that, terrorism is an excuse that is brought out as a bogey man to try to provide justification for further infringements of civil liberites. The Tony Blair, in the UK, is now pushing an act that will allow any government minister to change almost any bit of legislation without having to bother to pursuade parliament to agree.

I guess the movie V for Vendetta is a reply to Tony Blair.

Re:Welcome to 1984 (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056457)

We will suffer for sleep walking to a state where unelected civil servants have the power to snoop on us without any real oversight. This will be abused by these civil servants for their own personal ends.

Personally I think the situation will be less like Big Brother, and more so like Brazil (the movie). A dystopian world where bureaucracy is king, civil servants have enormous unchecked power, civil rights are non existant, but a place where people, on the whole, simply accept the situation, as it is not yet so opressive as to warrent revolution.

Stupid! (1)

cabinetsoft (923481) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056106)

I mean if one receives a spam and the spammer would be charged ALL future emails of the one who received the spam are qualified as to be monitored?

It's all history... (0, Troll)

Toby The Economist (811138) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056112)

Well, you can tell Australia used to be a penal colony...

Re:It's all history... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15056141)

Hey, hey, hey....It's not Australia doing these things, it's the Australian Government. They don't represent us anymore....and the sad thing is, the party that were elected (to both houses, creating this totalitarian situation) were the best of the bunch.

Oh, how appropriate...the script-preventer word of the post is "subverts".

AC

Re:It's all history... (1)

jibjibjib (889679) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056146)

This penal colony reference should be Godwin's Law of Australia.

In Australia... (1)

Bruce Losis (608865) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056119)

they call you Russian.

Strewth (1)

WisC (963341) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056121)

Thats not email snooping mate, throw some more legislation on the barbie

In Soviet Australia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15056193)

...well, actually, that just about covers it, really...

Six degrees of separation... (4, Interesting)

Malor (3658) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056198)

With the six degrees of separation thing, and careful choices of 'suspects', they can probably get a 90% surveillance rate by declaring only a couple of thousand primary targets.

In other words, as far as I can see, the Australian Parliament has just decreed that the government can read all the email it likes, whenever it likes.

If I were in charge, and unscrupulous, the first person I'd declare a suspect would be the chief of the opposition party.

Re:Six degrees of separation... (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056399)

A couple of thousand prime targets? Try one or two spammers.

Reminds me of a Simpsons episode... (1)

Macondo (836066) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056214)

Ruddock: these restrictions on human rights have prevented a terrorist attack in this country Voter: But Mr Ruddock you could argue this rock is keeping all the terrorists away Ruddock: I would like to purchase that rock. No wait it contains sensitive information on how to stop terrorists, I can have it for free

The Americans of the South Pacific (0, Troll)

oob (131174) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056274)

Given that 'Straya, the Deputy Sheriff [smh.com.au] shares so many cultural, social and political similarities with the U.S., it's simply not a surprise to those of us in the region that they're implementing similar domestic policies.

The most surprising aspect is the sheer admiration that the 'Strayan people hold for the U.S. and their collective willingness to become a subservient client state to U.S. interests.

They truly are the Americans of the South Pacific and not just in terms of public policy. The 'Strayan people are almost indistinguisable from their American counterparts in terms of attitude and behaviour.

Re:The Americans of the South Pacific (1)

titzandkunt (623280) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056319)


"...The most surprising aspect is the sheer admiration that the 'Strayan people hold for the U.S. and their collective willingness to become a subservient client state to U.S. interests..."

But do the Australian people maintain a meaningful admiration for the US? It seems more likely that, as with some other western "liberal" democracies (eg. UK), they are in the thrall of a political elite which seeks power for its own sake or for their own ends and which flatters itself that kowtowing to shrub's every rump-grunt is sensible realpolitik and mature statesmanship.

It seems that the rise of professional politician has weakened democracy - now that the sole realistic choice that the voting public have is between two (or three, if you're lucky) careerists who have identical attitudes and policies, there's no choice at all. The only people to whom the politicians (as a class, rather than as mildly differing parties) are answerable to is each other and their more powerful overseas bretheren.

Redneck agenda.... (5, Interesting)

MickDownUnder (627418) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056314)

This does not surprise me, as an Australian I can say that I've definitely noticed a slide into a very right wing agenda here. The current government is right wing and has an absolute majority in our parliament, meaning they can pretty much pass any law or any bill they want without the chance it might be vetoed by opposition parties.

I've been out of Australia for quite some time, I've found there to be quite a contrast to the Australia I left more than a year ago. I arrived back here just a couple of days before the Cronulla Race Riots [wikipedia.org] . Since then our leaders have been spouting racist generalisations [news.com.au] . There has been a large police crack down, the muslim community have made many claims [abc.net.au] that they are being unfairly targeted, I can personally verify this as on two occasions I've personally witnessed police unfairly targeting muslim men. I've also noticed since the riots (where our flag was used as a symbol of racial hatred), many police cars have had Australian flags mounted to their cars. I can't help thinking this is a sign of solidarity with the rascist mob.

I really don't even know how these riots could have occurred without police complicity. We have Racial Villification Laws [hreoc.gov.au] here in Australia, that if they were applied that day could have been used to arrest most of the mob that day before any violence even began.

And with all this, in the background we have our detention [tear.org.au] camps in which whole families including children have been kept in detention. There have been cases where children have basically grown up in detention.

Unless there's a big turn around here I think the future for Australia could be something straight out of Huxely's Brave New World or 1984.

Solution to racism (1)

babbling (952366) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056387)

I think the solution to racism is to legalise and regulate it.

There should be a department that operates a bit like match.com and matches together two people who want to kill each other. Then you put them in a room together and let one of the idiots kill the other idiot. This way it is off the streets and racists can eliminate each other in a way that does not affect reasonable people.

PGP (1)

smash (1351) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056325)

Right, PGP email for me from now on :)

smash (aussie)

Now the crackdown on Spam makes sense! (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056350)

Who'd want to wade through a ton of junk mail when snooping in someone's private communication?

Mailing lists (1)

the_doctor_23 (945852) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056356)

So if the suspect sent a single mail to a huge mailing list, every subscriber of it would be a target now?
Great idea...

When the fuck will we take back our "democracy?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15056418)

Okay, so we've been living in a fascist dictatorship for a decade or maybe longer. It has nothing to do with the right-wing Liberal/National coalition or the centre Australian Labor Party. It has everything to do with corporations and a few "elites" running our fucking country under our noses knowing that we won't do a damn thing about it.

Yesterday we signed a deal with the Chinese to sell them uranium, against the wishes of the Australian population. The arseholes in parliament (sic) just do whatever they want, whenever they want. They pass new IR "reform" (read: Orwell/Newspeak) legislation to fuck us over even more so that we'll be working even longer hours for less pay with none of the working rights we've fought for over 200-odd years. Impressive achievement for our little arse end of the earth, eh?

And it will continue. We'll let them fuck us over and run our "democracy" like an old boys' club, because we will just bend over and continue to take it, because we're too busy arguing about the footy or Commonwealth Games (give them bread and circuses to distract them), too busy working those long hours for nothing (remember fellow /.ers, I'm talking about the average Joe), too busy getting apathetic about the politics and "democracy" that hardly anyone understands, and so on...

When will a few brave citizens start a real political party that represents the people of the country and our interests instead of the interests of corporations or the wealthy elite? Hmm? When will we march on Canberra and vote these fuckers OUT? When? When? When will we get our country back? Dunno about you, but I've had enough of this shit. I don't know how much more unbearable it has to get for people to actually do something.

We haven't brought them into line. We haven't prevented criminal wastage of billions of public money on the useless 2000 Olympic Games, 2006 Commonwealth Games and who knows what else. We haven't done much about the new IR laws. We did nothing about the GST mess. We let Packer make a billion dollars in profit and pay less than $70 in income tax. We allow the media moguls to put the screws on public information and make little deals with each other not to report each others' mistresses or whatever, and don't complain loudly enough when the Newspeakers in the Lib/Nat coalition accuse the ABC of left-wing bias! Holy Sweet Jesus, that must be the same "liberal bias" in the extreme right wing media of the USA! We haven't done anything about the spying on non-mainstream politics of ASIO and the Special Branch. We don't know anything about ASIS's $100 million annual budget and what the "Continuity of Government" thingo is all about. We allow secret US bases without parliamentary oversight. And I could rant on and on and on...

WHEN IS ENOUGH ENOUGH?

woohoo! (1)

A3gis (708791) | more than 8 years ago | (#15056433)

I love this politically fucked up country!!
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