On April 13, 2017 Australian Telco’s began harvesting and storing customer information. Under the Orwellian program, which passed through the senate in March 2015, telecommunication companies will be required to hold on to customer metadata for at least two years…although the law came into effect in 2015…Telco’s had until now to get the re collection systems in place.
The government will be spending $128.4 million to 180 Telco’s around the country to subsidise this move. Essentially spending tax payer’s money, to spy on the tax payer. The term metadata may bring about some confusion, it is the information needed to create a digital footprint of any individual, the law demands internet providers and telecommunication firms store information generated by customers calling, texting or internet use.
It hasn’t taken long for the new law to bring about some controversial scenarios…including that of the battle between Guardian reporter Paul Farrell and the Australian Federal Police, who recently admitted they sought access to the reporter’s metadata without a warrant to hunt down his sources. This seems to be the case for most government data collection, although the intentions start of well, in the wrong hands anyone’s at risk. The Guardian Australia reported that the AFP had accrued a 200-page file on Farrell, after an asylum seeker story he wrote that included anonymously sourced information was not something the government wanted to be published.
These new metadata laws are extremely prism – esque, and border that of the latest revelations surrounding vault 7. It is hardly lack of due process that government regulates that of which it subsidises and $128.4 million is a big subsidy. Should we be worried that such an intrusive policy has now come into full effect, damn right we should be.
Things get scarier when the government launched a review into whether to allow the information collected to be used in civil cases, not just terrorism related investigations, meaning family law, contract law, tort law and property law would all be legible reasons to access a warrant for the data. Opening metadata to civil suits would allow the private information of citizens to be exposed to the public and to anyone with a vendetta. This has to be one of the largest attacks on Australians civil liberties in a very long time.
The president of the Law Council of Australia, Fiona Mcleod, said she had “Grave Concerns” about this extension of power. “The regime that’s in place is one of the most intrusive regimes in the industrialised world.” She said on her 7.30 appearance. Mcleod is 100% correct, it is never a good idea to forsake your freedom for security, especially when that security has been described as having no net benefit by experts in the industry.
The Attorney-General’s Department said the review into civil cases was a recommendation of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS). If you don’t want the Government to be able to see your online activity, then you better get a virtual private network (VPN), digital rights advocates say.
The Loud Libertarian