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Aussie Tax Office Wants Phone Tapping, Data Retention 46

Posted by Soulskill
from the should-five-percent-appear-too-small-be-thankful-i-don't-take-it-all dept.
schliz writes "The Australian Taxation Office has called for phone-tapping powers while backing a controversial proposal to force telcos to store web traffic and subscriber data for up to two years. It said such data may be crucial to investigations, with the Commissioner of Taxation previously explaining that the connection between criminals and their finances made them 'especially vulnerable to revenue collection agencies, because of the ability to identify the discrepancy between their wealthy lifestyle and modest tax declarations.' The Tax Office's statements come after this week's passage of new legislation that will allow law enforcement agencies to force internet service providers to store data on subscribers while an official warrant is sought."
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Aussie Tax Office Wants Phone Tapping, Data Retention

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  • Wire tapping (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fustakrakich (1673220) on Friday August 24, 2012 @01:03PM (#41111699) Journal

    A little here, a little there... Pretty soon it becomes a real issue. If the cops can't get you, there's always the department of internal revenue to take up the slack.

    • Just ask Al Capone.
      • by quenda (644621)

        I'd prefer getting wiretaps on the ATO to find out why they are not persuing the blatent tax-dodging of large corporations like Microsoft, Google and Ikea, who report almost no profit in Australia, and massive profits in obscure tax havens.

    • by cpu6502 (1960974)

      As my friends would say, "Why are you so bitter? They are just trying to Do their job and they don't need you making it harder for them by criticizing their decisions! They are doing the best to protect us from threats." NOTE: I do not agree with my friends. I think cops need to stop spying on me, just waiting to arrest me if I download a naked 17 year old photo (which isn't even illegal but they still arrest people anyway).

  • by Compaqt (1758360) on Friday August 24, 2012 @01:09PM (#41111791) Homepage

    the power to destroy [google.com]

    Each governmental agency thinks it's an entity unto itself. Everything depends on this one agency. Every right and freedom must be subjugated to meeting the agency's goal.

    Whether it's taxation, "homeland" security, child protection, consumer protection, cops, military, unions or any number of other things, everybody wants their agency to figure first in citizen's lives.

    It's time for people to stand up for the principle that government may only exercise those powers expressly granted to it. All other powers are reserved to the people.

    • by gstoddart (321705) on Friday August 24, 2012 @01:12PM (#41111839) Homepage

      It's time for people to stand up for the principle that government may only exercise those powers expressly granted to it. All other powers are reserved to the people.

      Not everybody's Constitution (or equivalent) says the same thing.

      That's not actually true everywhere. And, for practical purposes, it's not true anywhere any more.

      • The purpose of a constitution is to expressly grant certain powers to the government and to deny it any powers not so granted. I fully understand that politicians have been working for years to suppress such an understanding among the general public. The existence of such a constitution is what distinguishes between whether the people are citizens or subjects (I am currently unaware of any countries where the people are not subjects).
        • by gstoddart (321705) on Friday August 24, 2012 @01:42PM (#41112237) Homepage

          I fully understand that politicians have been working for years to suppress such an understanding among the general public.

          they don't even need to suppress the understanding, they just need the courts to back them on some of these things.

          In America, there's Free Speech Zones, the Fourth Amendment is apparently optional in many states, warrant-less wiretapping. All sorts of crap.

          Pretty much wherever you go, copyright law trumps everything (and is part of the push for the data retention), "think of the children" gives people reason to bypass all sorts of laws, and terrorism bypasses pretty much anything else.

          These things are being eroded fairly constantly. This is just another example of an organization trying to say why their needs should trump any other considerations.

          I'm just not sure anymore how much getting the citizenry pissed off would actually accomplish. Overall, we're becoming less free over time. Unless they take away TV, I can't imagine enough people getting angry enough to do something about it.

          • Pretty much wherever you go, copyright law trumps everything [...] Unless they take away TV, I can't imagine enough people getting angry enough

            Then we have to somehow make the public understand that copyright law gives copyright owners the power to take away TV.

          • However, those things happened because people accepted the idea that the government can do these things. Actually, they more than accepted it, they came to expect it. We see it on here on many issues. Take network neutrality. Tell people that the FCC does not have the statutory authority to implement it and they respond, "They're the Federal Communication Commission. If they don't have the authority to regulate that, who does?" It never occurs to them that Administrative bodies only have the authority that
            • Actually, they more than accepted it, they came to expect it.

              They demand it. It is very easy to tickle the g-spot of fascism in all of us. The psychology of the mob is a well understood science. And it is a science, as it is easily reproducible, in and out of the lab.

        • by quenda (644621)

          The purpose of a constitution is to expressly grant certain powers to the government and to deny it any powers not so granted.

          No! The purpose of the constitution is to expressly grant certain powers to the federal government, and leave others to the states and the Crown.
          Which country did you think we were talking about here?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Not having RTFA, or even RTFS, is he saying that we should be phone-tapping the Australian Tax Office and enforcing Data Retention on everything their employees and managers do? After all, "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?"

    If not, maybe it should! The phrase "You first" applies in droves.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    These controversial types of things would never happen if Australia was actually a democratic country with enlightened and informed citizens rather than a totalitarian police state that has become corrupt beyond any imagination and full of people who simply do not care about what's going on.

  • The Tax Office's statements come after this week's passage of new legislation that will allow law enforcement agencies to force internet service providers to store data on subscribers while an official warrant is sought

    This seems reasonable, so long as there is some transparency and judicial oversight. They also want to bring in powers similar to those already in Europe where data is held for two years. Again, so long as these data are not subject to data mining to catch crooks and would-be crooks, plus with judicial oversight to insure that data requests are reasonable, this again seems fairly reasonable. If there are reasonable grounds to believe someone is acting illegally then I have no problem with authorities keepin

    • How is giving the government more power and more information a good thing? They have enough as it is! I don't want to ever, under any circumstances, give them access to this vast wealth of information just because you want to catch some "bad guys." Any judicial oversight will likely just be a rubber stamp, and looking at the actions of governments throughout history, even storing this data is a terrible idea.

      • by mpe (36238)
        How is giving the government more power and more information a good thing?

        Typically power both corrupts and attracts the corrupt (and easily corruptable)

        They have enough as it is!

        That probably should be ".. more than enough ..." Quite possibly less power and stronger oversight would result in a better job being done.

        I don't want to ever, under any circumstances, give them access to this vast wealth of information just because you want to catch some "bad guys."

        The claim of needing more powers to ca
  • But considering that people here would generally trust the state to provide essentials such as unemployment insurance, pensions, health care, etc. ... what's wrong with giving the state a little more information about yourself? Hm???

  • ...with the Commissioner of Taxation previously explaining that the connection between criminals and their finances made them 'especially vulnerable to revenue collection agencies, because of the ability to identify the discrepancy between their wealthy lifestyle and modest tax declarations.'

    Apparently the tax office has invented their own definition of 'criminals', as they will now go after each and everyone with a 'discrepancy between their wealthy lifestyle and modest tax declarations'.
    So, first when I read the word 'criminals', I wanted to post: "And those criminals, that is you.
    But later, when I read the remaining part of the sentence, I realized that he must have meant the corporations!

  • I love the way government bureaucrats paint the citizens as the bad guys who can't be trusted and need to be spied on.

    Check this out: The Head of the Reserve Bank squirming uncomfortably over a bribe scandal he claims they knew nothing about ... until an embarrassing memo surfaced:

    http://www.smh.com.au/business/still-in-the-dark-with-governor-on-the-defensive-20120824-24rr7.html [smh.com.au]

    The government politicians won't do anything: "The Treasurer, Wayne Swan, whose three-years-and-counting response to this gr
  • by strack (1051390)
    australias intelligence agency wanted that 2 year internet data retention as well recently, if i recall.

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