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Australian Government Cracks Down on Net Users

Nathan posted more than 14 years ago | from the Big-Brother dept.

News 332

The Australian Government has hastily enacted several measures overnight that should send a shiver down the collective spines of all Net users. Firstly, it passed major legislation that enables the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), similar to the CIA, to remotely tap into and alter data on any Australian's computer. APC Newswire has the story. Secondly, the Government minister responsible for IT, Senator Richard Alston, has appointed an Internet content censorship advisory board stacked with representatives who support his heavy-handed approach, critics say. Critics of Alston's agenda in the past have included the ACLU and the EFF-affiliated Australian Net-users' group, Electronic Frontiers Australia. Again, APC has the story and a commentary.
If they can do it Down Under, how long do you think it will be before similar measures come to a town near you?

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Link is broken (1)

retep (108840) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503071)

The link about "remotly tap into and alter data" is broken. I think this [] is the correct link.

Remotely Alter Data (1)

Nodatadj (28279) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503074)

Is it just me, or is this a very scary priviledge, that could be easily abused.

Say they get permission to go onto someone's computer, to find something, can't find it, but decide to fake it anyway. Maybe I'm just being paranoid.

but...CAN they do it ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1503077)

I'm betting they could with most folks but NOW is the time to GET/USE some serious encryption Aussie's and the English have some basic differences (read lack) in their personal freedoms protections and basic rights, but the US Govt' is slow, not stupid, they'll want a piece of the pie soon...

Re:Link is broken (1)

Nodatadj (28279) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503080)

Nope, thats not it either.

Re:Link is broken (1)

retep (108840) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503083)

Dman! Worked for me a second ago! I think they use some wierd session based search engine. So you can't directly link to the page.

Re:Link is broken (2)

Gurlia (110988) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503085)

Nope, I think what's happening is that the server requires clients to have an existing session before you can retrieve the article. Unfortunately that means everyone has to log in and manually search for the article, as any link would contain a session ID only for one person and won't work for anyone else.

[OT] Isn't it about time we create a slashdolt login/user for annoying sites like this, as somebody suggested a few articles back?

my god... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1503087)

I could see how the government might want to be able to see any data for national security purposes... ... but to also be able to change the data?!?!!? That's a scary thought. Let's see, joe shmoe puts something up on his website that is "controversial" and the government can step in and delete it or change it to something it finds more appropriate?!?! AAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!

Still... (1)

nsfmc (105841) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503089)

I thought that clipper chip1,2,3,etc had dealt with the issue of secure, bugged transmission.
Basically, i guess we don't have that much to worry about, just keep on using your pgp, and keep on browsing with your OC-3 connection and i'm sure you'll notice if you're being tapped.

How free did you think you were to begin with?? --nsfmc

What else would you expect from a penal colony? (1)

Kaufmann (16976) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503183)

Cheap shot, I know, but someone had to say it :) Seriously, when a government decides that it is allowed to get into my personal business without my private authorization, I say it's time to overthrow the government. The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.

First the U.K., then Australia, then... ? (1)

Noryungi (70322) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503188)

Frankly, this is getting very disheartening.

Isn't it striking that the two (democratic) countries that seem the closest to implementing far-and-wide, liberty-squashing legislation are two of the most important members of the Commonwealth?

I do hope this trend is not going to spread any further -- I'd hate to see Canada, the European Union and the United States implement such brain-dead laws...

Now, the question is: what can we do to fight this trend? Re-create PPP/PPTP/encrypted links to/from Australia to bypass the censorship? Protest and scream with our Australian friends until we are blue in the face?

What on earth do we have to do to be left alone by clueless politicians?

This is scary. (3)

SoftwareJanitor (15983) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503191)

I know I will get flamed by people with anti-freedom sentiments, but doesn't it seem eerie that this is following so closely behind Australia's virtual complete elimination of private rights to firearm ownership? Seems like Australia and Great Britain are sliding quickly down a slippery slope where virtually all civil rights will be given up permanently in the name of some temporary appearances of safety.

Sadly, there are too many politicians and shortsighted people here in the US that want to bring us the same restrictions on freedom. It seems clear that if the 2nd Amendment is circumvented or eliminated that the 1st Amendment will fall shortly thereafter.

Re:but...CAN they do it ?? (1)

Raistlin_69 (119242) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503194)

I think as long as we have the ACLU and continue to use the encryption resources that we have access to already, not to mention what we can build on from here, that the gov't's strictest rules will only hinder us a little, not totally open our disks to scrutiny. And if they want to start a fight, they'd better be prepared to defend themselves.

Open wide (1)

Kaa (21510) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503196)

So does this mean that if I am an Australian and I detect a network intrusion that comes from a government machine, I am supposed to spread my legs and bend over?


Eternal Vigilance (4)

cybercuzco (100904) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503202)

"The Price of Freedom is eternal Vigilance" -Ben Franklin

We here in the united states must continue to be on the watch for such legislation sneaking through congress as riders on legitimate bills or as hastily enacted voice vote bills.

I think people in australia should be rioting in the streets over this, especially over the legalization of "altering data" on any users computer. What? We dont have enough evidence to convict this guy? Just plant some evidence on his computer, no problem. After all, he must be guilty or we wouldnt have accused him.

The question is, what would we do if such legislation was enacted here? Would we riot in the streets? Or more likely, would we just start a thread on slashdot and rant for a day or so? The second is much more likely, and worst of all, this is exactly what they want you to do, if you burn yourself out after a day, theres nothing left to keep the protest going. Americas collective attention span is so short that even the most dire problems come on their radar screens after its too late, or darn near ( y2k, global warming, Ozone hole, these are all fixed right, after all i havent heard anything about the last two in awhile, and the first one our government says is fixed, which is exactly what they would say whether it is or not). So, rather than ranting, why dont we come up with some suggestions of what to actually do if and when this actually happens here. Even if it doesnt, its always good to b prepared for any contingency.

EFF and the ACLU are about the most essential agencies out there protecting our freedoms. I hope that all slashdoters out there who enjoy their freedom give them a donation, or beter yet, join them.

How? (1)

SgtPepper (5548) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503204)

Firstly, it passed major legislation that enables the Australian
Security and Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), similar to the CIA, to remotely tap into and alter data on any
Australian's computer.

How are they going to do that if they're not even hooked up to the net? Damn, i want that technology "Remotely access your computer without a telephone line or network cable, Hell, EVEN IF IT'S OFF!!!"

Seriously though, this stuff just scares me, and it's the whole "We don't understand it, therefore it must be bad" mentality so widespread in politicians, ah well, i don't know about you guys, but when the revolution comes i /won't/ be one of the ones against the wall.

"Look around
this world we've made
equality our stock in trade
come and join the brotherhood of man"
--2112, Rush

Re:Link is broken (3)

Gurlia (110988) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503208)

Alright, here's my nano-HOWTO for getting to the page referenced above:

  1. Go to the Search page []
  2. Click on Browse
  3. Click on Legislation
  4. Click on Current Bills by Title
  5. Click on Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Legislation Amendment Bill
  6. This should get you to the right folder with the relevent links to the actual documents.

Hope this will help whoever's looking for the stuff. :-)

Re:Link is broken (1)

spodpit (27013) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503210)

If you mean something similar to the cipherpunks one, then yeah I agree. I suppose the following would be best?

Username = slashdot
Password = slashdot

... unless of course, there's some registration sites out there that actually require vaguely sensible passwords -> in which case "sdnfnstm" would maybe be a better choice!

Several approaches are needed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1503217)

I think that issues like this, as well as the laws being enacted in England, need to be stopped on the basis of their moral repugnance. Unfortunately, it seems that the fact that something is just plain wrong rarely stops these folks. They're classic worshippers at the"Ends justifies the Means" alter. They seem to have little conscience and no moral direction whatsoever (hey, I sound like Dr. Laura!).

What they do understand is: $. The more the better. If the case can be made that this censorship is hurting business, and hurting it bad, that tax revenues will fall dramatically, that sort of thing, well, they'll turn around fast. Then people might have the breathing room to tackle the real issues. IMHO, of course. As a first try, I should mention here that the Aussie gov't may have just eliminated Australia as a honeymoon destination for us... and I'm not making that up. Good-bye $10,000 (AUS) tourist revenue! Apologies to any innocent Aussies.

Re:This is scary. (0)

btlzu2 (99039) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503218)

...behind Australia's virtual complete elimination of private rights to firearm ownership? I agree. In history, other countries which followed down this path wound up ruled by dictators and wishing they hadn't allowed such "safety" measures: Cuba, Nazi Germany, Yugoslavia. Give any government an inch and they'll take every subsequent mile piece by piece. If the U.S. government did what the Australian government just did, I'd pull the plug on my internet connection permanently. A big middle finger to those idiots. I'd rather be without the internet than to have the government in my computer.

Does the Australian Government not want hi-tech? (3)

gashalot (5775) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503221)

This latest bill that has passed, along with the mandantory net censorship bill seem to be sending out the signal "Australia does not want a hi-tech industry." I know that if I lived in a country where these laws were put into effect, and I were a hi-tech worker, I would "Get out of denver" (in the immortal words of Bob Seger).

Another important question -- does this infringe any copyright laws in .au? What if the government was paid off by some large corporation that knew someone in .au was developing the next killer app and they abused the system into allowing them full access to what is on the other company's servers?

Perhaps it's time for someone to start a business in a small country with a very small government where hi-tech companies can headquarter themselves and keep all development servers (the island would need really really fat net pipes to everywhere). That way .au companies can circumvent the possibility of (il)legal search and seizure.

Watch closely (1)

z_eod (10977) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503222)

Hey folks... It's that easy. It will happen here eventualy if we don't stand up to those that would strip away our freedom. The only thing that stands between a free WWW and one that is locked down is a couple of opinion poles.

Let freedom ring!

Net Censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1503224)

Good luck in fighting net censorship in Australia. I get quite concerned when representatives of a "democratic" country try to limit freedoms of speech. How long before governments want to restrict criticism of their policies on the net? It's a slippery slope and when such causes gain momentum in one country politicians use it as an excuse to jump on the band wagon in other countries, like in Canada where I live. Unfortunately, all countries seem to have politicians that will jump on a cause whether it's worthwhile or not to raise their profile and help their chances of re-election.

Re:This is scary. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1503227)

Strange as it may seem, other countries' citizens arn't as insane about owning guns as NRA members are.

Oh Sure... (2)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503229)

Despite the fact that they said "Militia" I think it's pretty obvious that the intent of the founding fathers was to make damn sure that it'd be possible to overthrow the government one day if it ever became as corrupt and tyrannical as the one they'd just overthrown. I wish they'd just come right out and said it, which would have avoided the debates and a lot of restrictions that have already been placed on the ownership of firearms.

On a related note, I think if Bill Gates or Ross Perot wanted to own an MX Missile and had the money for it, more power to 'em.

It's not the legislation itself... (1)

Yeshua (93307) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503231)

...that I find scary, Australians (this admittedly being a generalisation that will attract much resistance) tend to have a much different view on things that Americans would call "Civil Liberties", that is, they tend to be more willing to sacrifice them for what is agreed to be the greater good (the "greater good" ofcourse being arguable and often transitive). This sentiment seems to be echoed in the U.K. (or is that Australia echoes the U.K? ;) ). What I find most disturbing about it is that this legislation has been passed without any notification, this has not been a news item (at all to my knowledge), nor has there been any other public announcement of it. Even if I thought the legislation was a good thing, I do not wish to find out about it after the fact, when the process of reversal can be so difficult.

Re:This is scary. (1)

MightyMicro (111816) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503232)

You're absolutely right. For the paranoid, it's worth examining the role of the Dirty Digger (R. Murdoch) and his media. Only one non-Murodch paper campaigned against the UK firearms restrictions that ended target pistol shooting.

The Gathering Storm (1)

Luke B. Bishop (66779) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503233)

Okay, maybe I'm paranoid, but does anybody else see something REALLY bad on the horizon?

First off, we have countries like Australia and the US slowly eradicating privacy and freedom. This is in itself a bad thing.

Here's the kicker though. When the Y2K bug hits (which will, in and of itself, be a mostly non-event now...), the ensuing paranoia, rioting, etc will cause considerable chaos. Don't forget that Clinton still has the ability to sign exectutive orders! Does anybody else see the US becoming a dictatorship soon?

Regardless of Y2K, the other side of the coin is large, multinational corporations and conglomerates like the RIAA and MPAA. With the legislation being passed, soon these companies will have absolutely NO liability to consumers, and, in fact, to the government itself!

Then again, I oculd just be paranoid and sleep-deprived from working quadruple-overtime. Heh, whatever. Glad I live in Canada.

1984 (1)

RPoet (20693) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503237)

Need I say more?

Australia is an extreme. Has China or Cuba gone to such lengths?? I cannot believe Australians put up with this. Or maybe they're enforced to, by law?

Re:Several approaches are needed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1503239)

overthrow the fascist bastards !!!

Re:This is scary. (1)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503241)

The prohibition amendment was repealed, so congress has legal precident to repeal the Bill of Rights as well. This is freightening.

Unfortunately, civilian firearms are no match the US military, at present. Handguns cannot down B2s, hunting rifles cannot be used against tanks, etc.

POINTLESS: I have a dream..... (1)

Nodatadj (28279) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503243)

We should start an underground internet, returning to what the Internet was really about. We could have secret ways of connecting and secret handshakes and all sorts of things like that. Stupid patents and stupid politicians and so on wouldn't be able to say what we do.

Iv'e got a 486 with 256meg hard drive and we could run it on that :)

Iain - Putting crap on /. to procrastinate so he doesn't have to do his project

Time to water the Tree of Liberty again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1503245)

The title was a cookie for Echelon...

Why do government people always mistrust the common people? Last time I checked Australia and the US are both democracies (don't split semantic hairs). That means that in theory that the people are the government.

I only wish that the founding fathers of America had specifically listed the right to privacy. Don't get me wrong, I think that the founding fathers did a great job, but they did leave a few loop holes.

I don't know why the government does all this black bag crap without telling us anything, when I need that information to see who to vote on next election. Yet they think that they are allowed to have complete access to everything that we own. Money, property, information... And I thought that you had the right to not incrimidate yourself? So how do they justify making you give over the private keys to your encrypted data files. Sorry, but doing that would tend to incrimidate me.

The supreme court says that money is speach. The supreme court also upheld the ATF confiscating everything you own if they suspect you of a drug crime. It is up to you to prove that you are not guilty.

Democracy sucks because you have to constantly fight for your freedom while thousands of groups try to slowly gnaw away your personal freedoms...

Anyone remember the former internet bill that almost passed congress?

Some laws are just plain wrong (3)

Mr_Ceebs (60709) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503247)

O.K. if it just means that I have to go to prison at some point in my life, then fair enough. let me say here and now that any government has no right to demand my passwords or post anything on my machines. I will supply them with my passwords on the day that they aggree to hand to me all of theirs and a copy of all their messages. One of the main arguments that they employ is the idea that they are trustworthy and that we only have anything to fear if we are doing something wrong. Even if they are trustworthy, then I still could not accept this law as the law would still be in place when the opposition are in place and even the government will tell you that they aren't trustworty. The Australian law should be resisted in every way possible. if for no other reason that it makes all computer based evidence in court untennable. any computer fraudster can now claim that 'it wasn't me it was the government'

Backdoors (1)

Kaa (21510) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503249)

I think that the intent of the "changing data" provision is backdoors. Once they got into your system, they want easy access from now on. However, just because this is the original intent, there is no guarantee that soon enough some "smart" guy figures out that altering data can make their life much more easy... And even if it doesn't stand up in court -- what a wonderful tool for pressure tactics. It's the same "drop a packet of coke/heroin/etc. during the search, find it, and lean on the guy real hard" technique.


How about my career? I can forecast the PM's! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1503251)

I'm an Australian IT professional, and I'm seriously worried about my career, my freedom and my personal interests. How seriously are international recruiting companies going to take (apparently previously respected) Australian IT workers? - It seems as though we're about to become a laughing stock. How do I protect myself from ASIO if they decide I'm a threat and plant evidence on my machines -LEGALLY-? How do I ensure that my favourite websites aren't blocked by this crew of paternalistic school teachers and kiddie porn crusaders which have been appointed? I read many (and contribute to one) news/humour sites (Big Hairy Balls [] ) which would almost certainly be considered profane. We swear a lot, we have a contributor who talks about death and rape (which i personally don't approve of), and sometimes one of the lads posts a link or a picture of a semi-clad girl. I can't wait until the next general election.

They'll probably realize that soon enough (2)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503252)

It wouldn't surprise me if they outlawed the use of non-government-sactioned encryption products next. I'm really surprised that no one in the US has tried that. And since they have an internet censorship board now, I'm sure people will quickly find it to be impossible to access subversive web pages like Slahdot. For your own good, after all.

It's definitely time to look at setting up some international encrypted VPN's. If worse comes to worse, you can even get sneaky and transfer data (Encrypted or otherwise) in IP packet sequence values or some of the other unused headers of the IP packet.

Kill the President (if we had one) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1503256)

Does this mean I just put: ALL:*.gov.* in my hosts.deny??????????????? or do we take up arms, just like our q3arena training has tought us, and start a revolution?

Re:First the U.K., then Australia, then... ? (2)

2sheds (78194) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503257)

A lot of the stuff going on here in the UK is to bring us _into line_ with the rest of the European Union. Now *that's* scary.


hrm (1)

ransom (115658) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503260)

Well, if it does come to a town near me, I write protect all files and close all ports. Isn't this how all those movies about insane computer users who use their skill to destroy government start? This reminds me about the article when Kansas wouldn't teach evolution... when people are too stupid about something and don't understand it, they just outlaw it. Their brains can not handle the stress of change. Unfortunatly, these people sometimes come to power and force the ways of the old to be enforced. Isn't the government made by us / run by us? If no how the hell can they make laws that the majority highly dislikes? I don't know if Australia is a democracy or not but if that happened to me I'd be half tempted to gather a band of rebels to overthrow the government ;P

If you think you know what the hell is going on you're probably full of shit.

Re:1984 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1503262)

The Stazi in East Germany went WAY past this.

Australia, Mate ( Big Brother is dreaming again ) (1)

vvk (95314) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503264)

Let's have a wakeup call here people! Yes I agree that such legislation is quitte obscene but let's not forget who are the losers in this game. since laws like this are easely written but OH SO HARD to implement. YES we should react with vigilance to things like this but we should not overrate the chance it has of ever hindering us. REMEMBER ; The US tried (and failed) the UK tried ( and failed) Germany tried (remember RaDiKaL--> xs4all ) AND FAILED BIG TIME. in fact I have no memory of any country ever succesfully solving the problems of counting al the one's and zero's that on a daily bases go through the internet let alone check for improper language ;) LAW's on the net look nice ONLY ON PAPER :)

Political enemies, look out (5)

jflynn (61543) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503266)

Allowing the government to read and change all data on computers in a country is something that will lead to abuse eventually if not soon.

It wouldn't be very hard to put some poorly encrypted child porn on an enemy's computer, modify the logs, then bust them. Even should they win the case in court it's not likely they'd ever be able to win political office again after the reputation damage. Of course there are millions of more subtle ways to damage an enemy thru their data.

There seems to be an implicit assumption that a government is an evenhanded institution that would never abuse power or play favorites. Few real governments are that good, most are made up of people with agendas.

How will Australian corporations feel about the government being able to access all their records, and modify them if they so wish? What sort of power will people leaving government and joining private industry have due to having had access to this information? There could be some lobbying power if businesses can be convinced this is not in their interests either.

Does this imply that information temporarily stored on Australian servers is subject to Australian government control even if the source and destination of that data are in other countries? This is of international concern if so.

It would be nice to blackhole all addresses in Australia for a day or so to express the net's displeasure at this legislation. And if they read or change data as it merely passes thru Australia, I'd support making it permanent until they stop. It's a clear and present danger to the integrity of the net.

Re:Open wide (2)

neuroid (6952) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503267)

>So does this mean that if I am an Australian and I detect a network intrusion that comes from a government machine, I am supposed to spread my legs and bend over?

No, no, no!

You're supposed to spread 'em, and LIKE IT! Or else.

Re:This is scary. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1503268)

The NRA are crazy. I'm an Australian, and I recently had this story recounted to me by a collegue who was in the USA at the time of the columbine shootings.

The morning after the shootings, a member of the NRA appeared on televsion news, and proclaimed to the entire USA that if all teachers were required by law to hold a concealed handgun, this never would have happened.

Are non-americans the only people surprised at this logic?

Re:This is scary. (2)

Kaa (21510) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503271)

If the U.S. government did what the Australian government just did, I'd pull the plug on my internet connection permanently. A big middle finger to those idiots. I'd rather be without the internet than to have the government in my computer.

You're bluffing, I don't believe you. Besides,

(1) The government would be happy for you to disconnect from the net: another malcontent made powerless.

(2) You can get the same result by closing all ports, running no servers at all, reading e-mail in a pure ASCII text reader, and browsing the web with something that does NOT understand Java or Javascript.


Re:but...CAN they do it ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1503272)

What good will encryption do when they can change the data to whatever they want? Sounds like this will make it very easy fot them to frame people.

Re:This is scary. (1)

mikestro (60854) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503276)

Insane? The only insane thing in this world anymore is not standing up for what you believe in.

The U.S. forefathers went through a Revolution over taxes and stamps and tea and other what we would call "stupid" stuff today. The difference was that they were willing to DIE for what they believe in.

It's not the MILLIONS of NRA members that are insane. It's the few people who call NRA members insane that are "insane".

-It's just like an anonymous COWARD to not be able to back up what he says.


We need a modified Sugarplum (1)

ross.w (87751) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503277)

What's needed here is a new version of the spam poisoner "Sugarplum" that sends garbage info to anyone who scans your ports from an ASIO domain.

That'll fix 'em!

I know why... (1)

Kierkan (9682) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503278)

Next year the olimpic games will be held in Sidney, won't they? Well, guess who will get most of the gold medals? Prepare for some strange statistics :)

Okay...after reading the bill and EM... (1)

SgtPepper (5548) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503279)

Yes it's bad, Yes i disagree with it...and no it shouldn't have been passed, but it's not the end of the world....for instance not ANY Austrialian's computer can be tapped ie: (i) allowing the Minister to issue warrants which may authorise ASIO to:

- remotely access data that is relevant to security and is stored in a computer specified in the warrant;

hence, there has to be a warrant issued, so they /shouldn't/ ( key word ) shouldn't be snooping around Joe Smoe's computer for no good reason.

What /is/ scary is this: (iii) amending provisions dealing with search warrants to:

- simplify the description of the matters about which the Minister must be satisfied before issuing a warrant;

Issueing a warrent should /not/ be too easy, because that's what gets it closer to Joe Smoe's computer. Of course one part of the bill /did/ make me laugh:

(xi) changing the spelling of Organization in the title of ASIO to Organisation.

Don't worry. Be happy. (2)

Rahga (13479) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503280)

Fortunately, there are so many groups out there that will attack the entire organiztions doing or attempting to do net censorship and privacy invasions that much of this legistlation and those government-appointed agencies who have to do something, even if it's bad, to justify their existence, that I'm not worried about it.
A censorship group includes homosexual terminology, words such as "gay" and "lesbian", as words that should be filtered out by xyz. Homosexual organizations, including people who are not homosexual but support the organiztions, will make tons of noise, and heads will roll, killing off said legistlation and censorship groups because, in reality, there is only one right way to do it. Parental supervision.
When the President of Austrailia learns that not only a lower government agency is reading his mail and watching his child-porn-net-browsing habits, but that regular joe citizen can also do it by cracking software or leaked software from the agency, heads will roll once again.
My point is, radical change leads to radical mistakes.
....And, on a political note, who do you think is more interested in staying out of your private buisness, Democrats or Republicans? Liberals or Conservatives? If you don't know, find out. Believe it or not, voting does count, especially when you get everyone else you know in your boat.

Re:They'll probably realize that soon enough (1)

Kaa (21510) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503281)

It wouldn't surprise me if they outlawed the use of non-government-sactioned encryption products next. I'm really surprised that no one in the US has tried that.

They thought about it. Unfortunately for them, in the US at least, doing so would involve major violence to the constitution and so far the consensus is that the Supreme Court will laugh long and hard and then throw it out (first amendment and all that).

Doesn't mean the situation will stay the same forever, though.


my view (5)

CormacJ (64984) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503282)

This is legalised hacking, and its a VERY, very, very badly thought out piece of legislation.

1) The bill allows for intrusion of a computer system and removal of any relevant data.

2) It doesn't allow for trashing of the computer system.

3) It does allow for bugging and tracking of people or equipment.

4) It allows for the "use of any force that is necessary and reasonable" to enter your premises for bugging you.

If you come under the scrutiny of the security services under this law, expect someone to hack your system, break into any premises that yo frequent, copy the hard disks of your computer systems, fit a tracking device to your laptop or your shoes, and bug the telecoms systems that your use.

It's a *really* bad law in my opinion. It's too wide ranging, and leaves too many things open for abuse. I know that the security services need wide ranging rules to allow for "odd" situations, but in the past, if they were careful not to break the law. This law allows for so much that they can do anything, and it's legal.

Now they have the full force of the law behind them, so if you catch them, you can't do anything, but they can do anything they want to you.

This law even allows for spying:
27B Performance of other functions under paragraph 17(1)(e)


(a) the Director-General gives a notice in writing to the Minister requesting the Minister to authorise the Organisation to obtain foreign intelligence in relation to a matter specified in the notice; and

(b) the Minister is satisfied, on the basis of advice received from the relevant Minister, that the collection of foreign intelligence relating to that matter is important in relation to the defence of the Commonwealth or to the conduct of the Commonwealths international affairs;

the Minister may, by writing signed by the Minister, authorise the Organisation to obtain the intelligence in relation to the matter.

So, in theroy, anyones computer could be available it you annoy the aussies enough.

It's frightening that a government can think about passing a law that will allow thier security services to declare cyberwar against people that they don't like.

This law allows for total information gathering. Under this law anywhere you go, anything you say, anything you record on your computer systems, EVEN IN A FOREIGN COUNTY will be recorded.

Re:The Gathering Storm (3)

siberian (14177) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503283)

While I am not quite that paranoid it is a scary situation. I was listening to a Noam Chomsky monograph from a few years ago where he essentially attacked the concepts of multinational corporation, free trade and the idea that the corperation is a legal entity. According to Mr. Chomsky, these very concepts are anti-constitutional in nature as the erode the individuals civil liberties and make that individual subject to another non-elected _individual_ ( since corporations are people now ). In fact, I got the impression that he truly feels such entities are the largest threat to what we call 'democracy' out there today.

He also went into a whole tirade about free trade and how, what we are presented with as free trade, is not really free trade but free flow of capital which is highly detrimental as it essentially releases these 'individuals' into the global eco-political arena with no responsibilities, ethics or mandate.

Both of these concepts are new entities formed in the last 50-75 years. I wish i remember the title of this lecture, it was really awesome listening. Gotta love public radio while we still have it.. you may or may not agree but its still interesting thinking from a brillant man.

This is bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1503284)

Maybe it is time to overthrow a bunch of governments. When a government can trample all over its peoples rights like this, they arent fit to govern. They don't really care about the people.

Re:The Gathering Storm (2)

daviddennis (10926) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503285)

I have a friend who thinks the same thing about Y2k, so no, you're not alone.

But I wouldn't be so happy about living in Canada. I knew a wonderful Canadian woman once, and one of the few disagreements we had was about freedom. She really believed (and still believes, as far as I know) in government serving the public interest, and told me it's a common Canadian attitude. Bad in many respects as the situation in the US is, at least we have a large number of people who really distrust government, period. I think that helps counterbalance the censors, even though eternal vigilance is still unfortunately necessary.


(I gotta get back on Fight-Censorship :-) ).

NOW is the time for /.'ers to raise the voice... (3)

voop (33465) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503286)

Call for actions - all /.'ers........

Seriously speaking, I think we see more and more of these "issues": Censorship, govermental approved and required intrusions (and now even legal modifications) without the peoples knowing, requirements of "backdoors" to the government in cryptography, restricions on publication (americans call it 'export' and 'matter of national security') of cryptography etc. etc. etc.

The Australians do it.....(obviously)

The Americans do it.....

The Europeans do it.....

Or if they haven't yet passed laws or bills, they are about to and have such in the process. Gee, I am told that if you are in France, using 'ssh' is in fact forbidden......That makes me a criminal, since I dislike the idea of transmitting cleartext root-passwords on any network.
This is an issue, which in my mind is more and more beginning to turning into a "people of the world" vs "the collective governments of the world".

My guess is, that unless action is taken SOON, then it will be too late. As soon as one major country/government makes precedense, preventing others from following will be hard. Remember, people, that the issues at stake are ultimately - as many others have pointed out - the "freedom of speech" and the "right for privacy".

I think it is time for action. The question is WHAT action can/should be taken? And how? Take this as an "Ask Slashdot", btw....I would like to hear more knowledgeable peoples take on this....

Slashdot represents - in my mind - an opportunity to unite briliant minds across the world. Slashdot COULD become a MAJOR GLOBAL POLITICAL PLAYER on such issues - if used in the right way. After all, I the average Slashdotter (whos posts get a score >0) is equiped with a cirtain level of technical expertise and common sense.

I'd say "slashdotters unite" - let's figure out how to play the game right, and prevent insanity of government control, restrictions and supervision.

I will end by saying as Evita does in Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical "Evita":

"...true power is YOURS, not the government, unles it represents the people!"

Somehow I feel that there are many governments who do not - at least on this issue.

(Sorry for being emotional on this. But I am deeply concirned over the current development)

Re:but...CAN they do it ?? (1)

Kaa (21510) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503287)

What good will encryption do when they can change the data to whatever they want?

Unless you break the encryption, you *cannot* change the encrypted data to whatever you want. Doesn't mean that you cannot add unencrypted stuff, of course...

On the other hand, that might look a bit strange to a judge: "Yes, Your Honor, the accused had his whole hard disk encrypted except for this single file where he admitted to planning anti-government activities".

YARTEE (Yet Another Reason To Encrypt Everything).


Encryption in Australia (3)

DanaL (66515) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503288)

What is the state of encryption laws Down Under? If they don't have Britain-esque laws regarding encoding your data, then at least they can download GnuPG or PGP and protect the contents of their computers.

Also, do the laws give the government permission to break into your computer, or do you have to install software that opens the door for them. If the later, ugh, seems like a big security risk. *I* wouldn't want to store my company's financial data on a computer where I have to have a backdoor that lefts government (or criminals using the backdoor) come in and snoop around. Conversely, if they merely have permission to break in, I would be doing everything in my power to prevent it. If the Feds can get in, so can criminals or just nosey people.

Canada still seems friendly to privacy issues, but it scares me because the more countries that adopt measures like this, the more likely our government is to jump on the bandwagon.


Re:Net Censorship (2)

daviddennis (10926) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503289)

If they can legally change any information on your computer, clearly they can already restrict criticism of their policies - and anything else they might want to, too.



I'm ashamed (2)

sien (35268) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503290)

I'm sorry. I'm Australian. We suck.

Simple solution to content worries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1503291)

I've said it before but I'll keep repeating hoping someone will listen... Content is a simple domain problem. Create a new toplevel .xxx domain and enact legislation defining what content has to be in that domain with penalties for not following. After that it's a simple password in browsers to get access and all the children are "protected". Done. Hell the government in it's usual fashion could even get a cut by requiring licencing or charging some stupid fee to be in the domain. Of course this would never let them implement their REAL agenda.... DAMN common sense huh?

Let's not overreact (4)

hey! (33014) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503292)

Nor let us underreact.

The worst thing an advocate of freedom can do is to discredit the cause by not having his facts straight.

The link to information on the proposed legislation is stale, does anyone have a newer one?

I searched for "ASIO data" and my only hit was a piece of testimony from April about cryptography.

It seems to me that the "Right to remotely access and alter" data on private computers can cover a lot of ground, running from policies that many people would find reasonable to highly unreasonable policies. A lot depends on what the legislation says about the scope of those rights. A carte blanche is obviously a bad thing, and if that is whasis being granted I'd say we should treat Austrailia as a pariah government the way we did South Africa. But how about the equivalent of a wire tap with judicial overview?

Example: suppose a person can credibly be shown to be taking part in a conspiracy to commit a bombing; the extent of the conspiracy is not known, however. In such cases, a court might grant a wiretap or bug, which would involve modifying some of a subject's property in a way that the tap was invisible. Likewise, suppose the persons were believed to be using the internet with strong encryption to coordinate the bombing. Perhaps the court could authorize putting BO2K on the user's computer to capture keystrokes. The intelligence agency may not have such a legal right, and I'd say that the fact they feel the need to get legal authority to do such things is a good sign. I'd doubt very much that the CIA or NSA would let a little thing like illegality stop them.

So, a lot depends on exactly was is being granted. Anyone have any facts to offer?

this vs regular wiretapping? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1503293)

What is difference between something like this and the regular wiretapping the FBI does besides a change in medium?

Re:This is scary. (1)

nlvp (115149) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503294)

Hmm. I'm not sure I agree with the premise that you can judge the right to carry a firearm with the same set of values as the right to privacy.

Re:Oh Sure... (1)

Pointer80 (38430) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503295)

>be possible to overthrow the government one day
>if it ever became as corrupt and tyrannical as
>the one they'd just overthrown.

*AMEN* to that. However, I don't support overthrowing our government in its current state. We do have the right as citizens to create militias, but it's the crazies and the bad media coverage that will eventually ruin that for us. (NOTE: I AM NOT IN A MILITIA, NOR DO I EVER INTEND TO JOIN ONE.)



People, we're witnessing governments' last stand. (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1503296)

This is it. We may not realise it now, but the internet is the next great force that will change the structure of the entire world. It is uniting people in a way never before seen. Within the 'net, political boundaries are invisible and sites halfway around the globe are as readily accessible as sites a few kilometres away. Nations, once separate worlds in their own right, are being crammed and fused together from the bottom up. Individuals, the common people, are forming this new global nation directly, all by themselves, without nore requiring cooperation from their parent governments. Long standing laws and rules of various nations are clashing violently within the net because they are all incompatible with one another and simply cannot all coexist. In response, nations are struggling desperately to impose local order over the net but are finding that they can have very little control over what is a global entity. And each time any one nation tries, there is a global backlash by the world citizens of the 'net. Those beyond the reach of legislators make it their mission to foil the new restrictive regulations, and have done so with stunning success. Witness the "banning" of DeCSS and the resulting wider propagation that resulted. Stronger and more restrictive crypto export regulations have resulted in a deliberate moving of crypto research to crypto friendly nations. And as gov't finds their powers being lessened, they lash back with stronger and more sweeping attempts to strangle the net back under their control. Eventually it will get to the point of global backlash and the world will descend into war and chaos between vicious govt's and a vast flourishing 'net underground, or the world will come together and embrace the new globalness. Only time will tell.

What do you expect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1503297)

From a country that disarms it's people. What do you expect from a country that either has no constitution or ignores it? As far as I'm concerned, I think those poor bastards deserve it. This is what you get when you buy into all that "if it saves one child" bullshit and start infringing on natural rights. This is about human rights.

Re:this vs regular wiretapping? (2)

CormacJ (64984) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503298)

I don't know if it's changed, but it used to be very hard for the FBI to get authorisation to track computer taps. This is why they used to prefer to find out what numbers were called from an address, and do a number trace on incoming calls.

This australian law allows for easy access to all computer data, including wire tapping.

Business only ? (1)

MISplice (19058) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503299)

Is Australia trying to make net access a business only tool? It certainly seems that way with all the restrictions they are placing on their residence. I would think that the home users would/should boycott the internet and really not even use it in their work environment either, then maybe the government will see how stupid and oppressive the laws are in there country.

This is how... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1503300)

They'll just make it a felony to posess a computer that's not on their network and running govt-snoop-enabling daemons/services. Network connection and running govt-supplied snooper daemons will be made mandatory in the very next phase of this evil plan.

Re:Encryption in Australia (2)

randombit (87792) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503301)

What is the state of encryption laws Down Under?

Last I checked, pretty good (much better than the US). The SSLeay (now OpenSSL) and Cryptix projects were both started there. Kind of an odd contradiction, really... unless, of course, they're planning on making some, uh, alterations (read: reversals) to their encryption laws soon (which would not suprise me much).

Time to start annoying people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1503302)

Lets send spam with "Kill the President" followed by 400 lines of random text.

Eventually they will have to give up...

what about Gandhi? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1503303)

Remember Gandhi and his colleagues and followers freed India from being a British colony through a campaign of non violent protest, despite intense pressure from many people to start an armed stuggle with the British. You don't have to have a gun to prove your point, or even to win.

Re:This is scary. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1503304)

I'm insane because I don't pick up a gun and threaten violence every time the gov't tries (and fails) to enact and enforce laws that can't be enforced? Yea, there's some good logic.

Boycott OZ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1503305)

I agree with the poster who stated that Australia will lose tourist dollars because of this. I've already e-mailed the Australian Tourist Commission and told them as much. ( I say that the US should boycott the Olympics in Sydney. It'll probably never happen, but nothing could send a clearer message to those holding office in Australia that the US does not approve of the destruction of Australian citizens' personal freedoms.

How still? (1)

RoLlEr_CoAsTeR (39353) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503306)

And what if it's only on a LAN, with no outside connection, eh?

and what if the computer doesn't belong to an Australian?

Boycott OZ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1503307)

I agree with the poster who stated that Australia will lose tourist dollars because of this. I've already e-mailed the Australian Tourist Commission and told them as much. (

I say that the US should boycott the Olympics in Sydney.

It'll probably never happen, but nothing could send a clearer message to those holding office in Australia that the US does not approve of the destruction of Australian citizens' personal freedoms.

Re:Remotely Alter Data (1)

Jimhotep (29230) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503308)

Done all the time in the physical world. Should
be easy to do.

Cops just have to carry a little "cyber planted
evidence" with them.

Is this a great time to be alive or what?!?!

Re:This is scary. (2)

SoftwareJanitor (15983) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503309)

No, you are insane (O.K., you at least sound insane) because you are saying things about a group you obviously know nothing about. While the NRA often opposes government regulations (and often vocally), they do so in a completely law abiding manner. In fact, I can't think of many organizations whose members are on average more law abiding than NRA members (a large percentage of whom are law enforcement officers).

Do you even know anything about the NRA? Or are you just repeating third party disinformation spread by the anti-freedom media? Interestingly enough the media likes to talk about protecting the 1st Amendment (which should be done), but they don't seem to think that it should apply to the NRA.

Civilians vs. Military, and "Rights" (1)

JohnL (7512) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503311)

Yes, Congress has the ability to repeal the Bill of Rights. The also could take away female sufferage, and reinstitute slavery.

But, a "right" is not something that your massa gives you -- it is something that you are born with! Just because it is illegal, does not mean that it does not exist. Remember the bit about "These truths we hold self-evident, that all men are created equal..."?

As for the civilians vs. military, check out the following conflicts:
American Revolution
Boer War

In short, the most important quality for a fighting force is will, or morale. All of the tanks/planes/bombs in the world do nothing for you if you won't use them. Look at What Good Can a Handgun Do Against An Army? [] for further thoughts.


Re:Several approaches are needed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1503315)

what happens when we go there and bring our own little cpu's with us, will we be subject to Aussie law as well?

Re:Remotely Alter Data (1)

jsm2 (89962) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503316)

No, it's just you and you are being paranoid.

Nobody else in the world is remotely worried about the government being able to randomly frame them with undetectable fake evidence.

Why would they be?

Of course it's a very scary privilege!!!!! fer crying out loud.


MOTBO=master of the bleedin' obvious

Hell, No - Retalliate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1503317)

Who in their right minds is going to sit there while the GOVERNMENT (of all ppl) *HACKS* into our PRIVATE systems and messes about with our sensitive data.

Do as I say, don't do as I do

The Australian government will bang you in jail for hacking - *unless* you are on their payroll!

Re:Okay...after reading the bill and EM... (1)

Kaa (21510) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503318)

for instance not ANY Austrialian's computer can be tapped ie: (i) allowing the Minister to issue warrants which may authorise ASIO to:

- remotely access data that is relevant to security and is stored in a computer specified in the warrant;

hence, there has to be a warrant issued, so they /shouldn't/ ( key word ) shouldn't be snooping around Joe Smoe's computer for no good reason.

First, in the US the search warrants are asked for by the executive branch (cops) but are issued by the judicial branch (judges). This is supposed to keep the cops more or less in line (and somewhat does). However here it seems that the Minister (=executive branch) is going to be issuing the warrants. If so, he can perfectly well delegate his authority to lower levels until, say the section head at ASIO will be able to issue warrants and it'll be perfectly legal.

Second, ASIO may be snooping around Joe Shmoe's computer for a good reason -- to them. That does not necessarily make it a good reason to me, to Joe Schmoe, or say, to a "reasonable person". Maybe ASIO decides that running Linux strongly correlates with anti-government sentiments, so there is a "good reason" to periodically run checks on those weirdo Linux guys...


keep cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1503319)

I understand the paranoia whit this kind of
legislation. The most scary thing is that they are
legislating stuff they don't understand and thus
tend to do harm.

Think of the french legislation banning
cryptography. A parade example of someone shooting
his own foot (do you plan to do e-comerce in
france? :) )

But one thing has to be said: Abuse is abuse and
stays abuse. Child porn has to be tracked,
attacked and the people behind it deserve at least
to be jailed. And this is just an example.

One can argue a lot about this, but to what extent
is a recipe to build a bomb similar to a gun?

You are not allowed to do everything in public. To
what an extent can you consider the internet a
public ''place''?

We are asking for legislation barring spam and
other kinds of abuse from companies and
corporations. Some kind of legislation regulating
the actions of individuals is also in order. I
think the time has come for the comunity to make
some constructive comments on this matter. After
all, abuse of the internet in any direction will
do no good to any of us.

Putting on some decent heat shielding...

The Anonymous Coward

Yet another example... (1)

MattJ131 (92897) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503321)

of us trying to deal with the internet as a medium. Our laws were not prepared to deal with something as wild and untameable as the internet. There is no one person in charge, anyone can create a website and say whatever they want, be it as profane and/or obscene as they want (provided they're willing to pay), with just a small knowledge of HTML (and even now one can use programs like GoLive or FrontPage to create them) The question of how much and what kind of regulation should govern the net is something the governments of all hi-tech contries (such as the US, Canada, Australia, Japan, the UK...) need to get straight.

The internet is the exchange of information between computers, no one needs to be consulted before content goes live to the net, as it does with TV, literature, radio, or pretty much anything else. Its a free-for-all, and its at the forefront of American culture, which is one of the first times a totally unregulated medium has been as such.

I certainly hope the US has more sense than Australia

- Matt
43rd law of computing:
Anything that can go wr
/usr/games/fortune: Segmentation fault (Core dumped)

Re:The Gathering Storm (hmm... interesting) (1)

randombit (87792) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503323)

She really believed (and still believes, as far as I know) in government serving the public interest, and told me it's a common Canadian attitude.

I hadn't heard of this before. I mean, OpenBSD is based in Canada; how much more paranoid can a project get? [Note: I like paranoia :)]. Also, my mom is from Canada, and she trusts the govt probably about as much as I do (ie, none).

Canadian government. (1)

Luke B. Bishop (66779) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503325)

No, here in Canada, we don't really believe in the government serving the people. Something that the US doesn't realize is that some countries have totally ineffectual governments that do nothing but endlessly bicker.

Such is Canada. We don't worry about our government, because the only thing it's good at is infighting and buying $20000 doorknobs. They waste lots of money, yes, but what government doesn't? If that's our biggest complaint, we have little to complain about.

Now for a list of why I say this: We have free crypto (afaik), you can use radio scanners to pick up cell-phone conversations legally (whether this is good or bad is your decision... I don't do it, but some do...), very very little is censored.

There is no 'internet decency act' equivalent up here. In fact, there was a recent ruling stating that the ban against downloading child porn was unconstitiutional. (Mind you, creating such stuff is still VERY illegal.)

We all grumble about the government here, but trust is a non-issue. How many people hear about CECIS (the canadian equivalent of the CIA, possibly spelled wrong)? Not many. Why? Because it is TINY, and has almost NO power inside of the country!

Oh, and the status-quo is protected with a passion here. Any attempt at censorship results in a terrible onslaught of outraged protests, and quickly dies a silent death.

Basically, we've proven that a non-government is better than a totalitarian democracy ;)

Pretty bad legislation (1)

mackga (990) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503326)

But, what about security on the computer networks that are potential targets for the Aussie security guys? I mean, if I have a corporate site, I'm gonna have a firewall, right? I'm gonna filter packets, maybe have an IDS, maybe a DMZ w/ a sniffer/monitor, damn sure I'm gonna have a choke router and NAT. So, what's the implications here? I see somebody seriously tappy-tapping on my fw, they can't get in, I then get a nice call asking me to open a few ports so they can pop in a have a nice looksee?

Or the security guys have stuff that can blast through my stuff w/o leaving a trace, setting off alarms in the NOC? Or they want to have a peek, call me up and ask for access?

What about dialup users? The security guys gonna have the local/national isp's squirting back orifice on every user's 'puter w/o letting them know so the security guys can then putz around next time the user logs on?

This is all sooooo weird. A bit ot, but any Aussies out there want to give an overview of the current Australian political scene/climate? The reference to "Tricky Dick" just gave me the willies.

Re:First the U.K., then Australia, then... ? (2)

jsm2 (89962) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503334)

What annoys me is that I can't stand the EU's attitude to "national security", but I can't stand the US' attitude to privacy of personal information. It seems that everywhere you go, you either have to take it from the government, or take it from the corporations. This planet sucks.


Re:Pretty bad legislation (2)

CormacJ (64984) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503335)

Try having a spook break into your office and mirror your hard-drive... It's allowed for under the propose legislation.

Re:The Gathering Storm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1503336)

It's A common attitude, not THE common attitude. The current liberal government is shooting itself in the foot about once a week, thanks to a PM who manages to be an idiot in both official languages.

The RCMP, our equivalent of the FBI, is, well, very unpopular thanks to how it put down a couple protests. Lets just say they were a bit quick with the pepper spray.

Re:This is scary. (2)

SoftwareJanitor (15983) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503337)

Unfortunately, civilian firearms are no match the US military

It might seem that way, but unless the US military was willing to take significant casualties and/or unleash weapons of mass destruction against the civilian population (IE start bombing civilians), in fact the military would stand no chance against a motivated, armed guerilla populace. One only has to look to such examples as Viet Nam, Afghanistan, and Chechnya as examples of how traditional armies don't always fare well against entrenched people on their home turf. And as far as the populace goes, the people of those countries are/were way behind the people of the US, where it is estimated that around 80 million of the 270 million population own at least one firearm. And when it comes right down to it, the US military would suffer wide scale defection and low morale if they were required to fire upon people who might be their friends, neighbors or family members. It isn't so easy to kill people who are so like oneself as it is to kill people who are easily identified as enemies (because they look different, speak a different language or are wearing a different uniform).

Isn't the government in Oz Freely Elected? (2)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503338)

It seems to me that instead of a lot of wringing of the hands the Aussies should be doing some letter writing, demonstratating, getting referrenda on the ballots, bringing court cases to impune the constitutionality of these measures and otherwise creating a big malodorous stink right where it will be smelled the best.

I grew up in the 60's and let me tell you, it is quite possible for citizens to have a big impact on government.

What are you waiting for? If you do not take political action you have only yourselves to blame for how you are governed.

Oh, aand if you need ideas on how this works, grab a copy of Thoreau's essay "On Civil Disobediance" and give it a careful read.

ben franklin also said: (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1503339)

"they that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither libery nor safety." sounds right to me, and covers multiple issues, gun rights comes to mind, but this issue fits far too well too.

Re:Okay...after reading the bill and EM... (1)

SgtPepper (5548) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503341)

Oh i agree whole heartedly, but it's /still/ not a matter of them going out and tapping anyone and everyone. Which is the impression you get at first, and if you read the rest of it the ASIO has to submit data to the exuctive branch (minister) and then the minister decides if it warrants a....well....a warrant.

But let me make this clear, this law /is/ a bad law, it's non specfic, too broad and is generally a BAD THING, on this, i think we all agree.

Re:This is scary. (2)

jsm2 (89962) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503343)

I agree. In history, other countries which followed down this path wound up ruled by dictators and wishing they hadn't allowed such "safety" measures: Cuba, Nazi Germany, Yugoslavia.

This is arguable at best for Nazi Germany and absolutely false for Cuba and Yugoslavia.

In Nazi Germany, weapons were removed from the population by the Allied powers as part of the Versailles settlement. And if disastrous mistakes hadn't been made in the Weimar Republic, Hitler would not have come to power. (In any case, your argument seems to presuppose widespread popular opposition to the Nazis in Germany, which there was not).

In Cuba, they were ruled by a dictator (Batista) with guns allowed, then they had a revolution, fought with guns, then they were ruled by a dictator (Castro) with guns not allowed. That's been a pretty unfortunate rock to be stuck to this century (rum and salsa excepted), but clearly has nothing to do with firearms policy.

In Yugoslavia, Tito took power at the end of the Second World War, following on directly from a monarchy. And indeed, under Tito, Yugoslavia was a fairly free country (albeit a one-party state). It was not a bad place to live at all. And despite compulsory registration, gun ownership in Yugoslavia was widespread, as has been tragically proved over the last ten years.

Your general attitude to government is one I share, but statements like this don't do much to advance it.


Re:NOW is the time for /.'ers to raise the voice.. (1)

Troed (102527) | more than 14 years ago | (#1503344)

Lots of us /.ers are software engineers and network administrators etc (please add your occupation here). Guess what would happen if we all would lay down work for a week or two (I mean, we can afford it ... )

We'll be fired?

Maybe - but getting another job is as easy as 1-2-3 ...

Re:uberposter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1503346)

don't take the piss, nigel, or I will be forced to own your AOL account again.
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