Last week, Australia passed a bill that would give police a lot of power to spy on people through their online accounts and devices. Read on to find out how Orwellian this surveillance bill is—and be cautious about what precedent this could set internationally moving forward.
What’s in the bill?
On August 25, 2021, the Australian government passed the Surveillance Legislation Amendment (Identify and Disrupt) Bill 2021, which is now awaiting final approval by the Governor General.
The bill outlines three new warrants that can be used by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) to fight criminal activity.
- Data disruption warrant: Grants police the power to access, modify, or delete data on any device suspected in aiding criminal activity.
- Network activity warrant: Grants police the power to gather intelligence from suspicious devices or networks.
- Account takeover warrant: Grants the police power to take control of a suspected offender’s online accounts (email, social media, etc.) to gather information in an investigation.
Anybody called upon to assist in an investigation will be protected from civil liability, but failure to comply will result in up to 10 years in prison.
Concerns for privacy and free speech
Unsurprisingly, this bill has free speech and privacy advocates more than worried—especially considering that 1) there is no judicial oversight for issuing warrants and 2) only low levels of approval are required.
Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe has criticized the passing of this bill, stating that it “enables the AFP and ACIC to be judge, jury and executioner. That’s not how we deliver justice in this country.”
The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC)—an independent government agency that acts a national data protection authority for Australia—also echoed similar concerns, specifically stating that: “These powers may adversely impact the privacy of a large number of individuals, including individuals not suspected of involvement in criminal activity, and must therefore be subject to a careful and critical assessment of their necessity, reasonableness and proportionality. Further, given the privacy impact of these law enforcement powers on a broad range of individuals and networks, they should be accompanied by appropriate privacy safeguards.”
This isn’t the first time that Australia has passed a new technology bill that wasn’t popular locally or internationally. The Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill 2018 affected encryption technology, leaving Australia’s population vulnerable by requiring that tech companies provide backdoors and exploits into messaging apps, phones, and web services.
Read more: Here’s why Australia’s cybersecurity bill is a terrible idea
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Your post seems to defy logic. You claim to be not concerned at all about this grubby government action, but you are posting your thoughts on an VPN providers site.
One can only assume that you know of EVPN blog page because you use EVPN to encrypt and forward on any of your online activities, both inbound and outbound. If you have no need to encrypt and for all intent, to remain anonymous, then why use a VPN.
I wanted seven days free filter breaker please
If you are innocent you shouldn’t have a problem. This would only worry the criminals so as a result I don’t have an issue with this if it helps the police to catch criminals and keep us all safe.
Thank you to the government as I say go for it.
This better be sarcasm because I can see you starting to glow in the dark.
“Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.”
― Edward Snowden
Must be some paid account, a lobbyist or politician, judge or police himself, alias
“Criminals”. If there was an alien species watching humanity do their things, and judge humans with their own morals (laws), lobbyist, politcians, judges, police, military and every one else working for the state would be the first to get a life-long sentence in prison by the aliens.
You really think the government has your best interest at heart ? It’s people like you that follow there rules & guidelines that have gotten to this point, If you genuinely think the governments have your best interest at heart seeing where or who you are with, SHEEPEOPLES