Privacy and Metadata

The controversial “data retention” laws have passed Parliment. To which I can only say, bugger.

The laws will force telecommunications providers to keep records of phone and internet use for two years and allow security agencies to access the records. Companies already retain the data but for varying durations and in an unregulated environment. The Coalition and Labor have argued the laws were necessary to help authorities in counter-terrorism and serious crime investigations. Both major parties knocked back several amendments put forward by the Greens and concerned crossbenchers during Senate deliberations. Labor announced last week that it would vote with the Coalition after the two parties agreed to several amendments, including specific protections for the phone and internet records of journalists, in a bid to protect anonymous sources and whistleblowers.

I’m sorry, but I don’t trust them. It’s an issue of privacy. “Big Brother is watching you” and all that. Is this law really necessary to “protect” us? It just makes me quite uncomfortable.

These two articles sum up my sentiments very well: excerpt:
Under metadata retention legislation all citizens can become the object of suspicion. “The government now assumes if you want privacy you must be guilty of something” reports Jennifer Wilson.
There is something very rotten in the state of a nation’s politics when both its government and its opposition are able to co-operate on the introduction of legislation for intrusive mass surveillance of the nation’s entire population.
If you want to better understand the repercussions of this legislation for the individual, I’d recommend reading this piece, sending the suggested letter to your MP, then retreating to a corner to weep for what we’re becoming.

The government and opposition argue that these extreme surveillance measures are necessary to apprehend terrorists, pedophiles and major criminals, all of whom will by now have devised encryption methods to bypass government surveillance, and most of whom will have had such methods securely in place for years.
What has been most alarming in the lead-up to the Senate debate on the legislation today has been the apathy of mainstream media towards proposed state surveillance that frames every citizen who uses the Internet as a suspect. Not as a potential suspect, but as a suspect whose online activity can be accessed by agents of the state without a warrant, if they decide to go after you.

And excerpt:
” “The social and economic costs of the metadata retention law are massive yet the public benefits miniscule” writes business analyst Carl Sudholz. Carl shares his concerns with The AIMN about this controversial law.

The Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill 2014 increases our nation’s risk to terrorism and cyber-crime while fundamentally eroding our democratic rights and freedoms. By way of their support for this legislation, my local National’s member for Mallee, Mr Andrew Broad, the Abbott Government, and the Labor Opposition are considerably increasing the risk to all Australians of government abuse, corporate crime, cyber-crime and terrorism. This is not an act of responsible Government. These laws are dangerous!”

And this last one – look at it if you wish, its subject should be obvious by its title:

As I said, this makes me really uncomfortable. Sigh. :/