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Australian Attorney General Pushes Ahead With Gov't Web Snooping 148

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-can-trust-us dept.
CuteSteveJobs writes "Australian Attorney-General Nicola Roxon now fully backs a controversial plan to capture the online data of all Australians, despite only six weeks ago saying 'the case had yet to be made.' The Tax Office, the Federal Police and the Opposition all support it, with Liberal National Party MP Ross Vasta declaring 'the highest degree of scrutiny and diligence is called for.' With all major parties on board, web monitoring of all Australians appears to be inevitable."
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Australian Attorney General Pushes Ahead With Gov't Web Snooping

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @01:27PM (#41225663)

    One country at a time, the governments are putting in place the function to collect all data so it can be freed by hackers.

  • by iplayfast (166447) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @01:31PM (#41225715)

    Surely there is SOMEONE in Australia that objects to this? Surely there is at least ONE politician that sees how wrong it is to effectively wiretap a whole country.
    I'm just shaking my head, and please don't call me Surely.

    • by iplayfast (166447) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @01:35PM (#41225769)

      I can't wait for wikileaks to start posting private info from all the politicans that proposed this bill. ALL YOUR BASE and so on.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        the capture likely wouldn't include data for "politically exposed persons".

      • I can't wait for wikileaks to start posting private info from all the politicans that proposed this bill. ALL YOUR BASE and so on.

        With every Austrailian citizen that reads this info online logged as an Enemy of the State.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by anomaly256 (1243020)
      Frankly, I object to the entire notion of letting 1 single person have so much control and sway on our lives. It's completely batshit insane. I have no idea why people even /tolerate/ the office of Attorney General still. SO much awesome would come from this position not existing any more. For example, Australia would have an R18+ rating for video games already, causing mediocre titles like Syndicate to not be considered illegal contraband (yes thats right, video games that are common place and consider
    • by slick7 (1703596)

      Surely there is SOMEONE in Australia that objects to this?

      Surely, it's not Shirley, it's Sheila.
      g'day!

    • by chrism238 (657741)
      Of course there's ONE politician; in fact many. But it takes at least 50.1% of them to stop it.
    • I bloody object to it and I'm writing a letter to my federal member right now! I heard Roxon on the radio only yesterday saying that there is a need, but it must be balanced with privacy. Complete switch in less than 24 hours, that's not on.
    • by rtb61 (674572)

      The third Australian political party The Greens opposed it http://greens.org.au/content/data-retention-scheme-lunge-vast-surveillance-powers-0 [greens.org.au]. Unlike the US voting system with preferential voting, your vote for the Greens means either they win or your vote goes to the next party you least dislike, either way a message is sent to all sitting politicians that their jobs are under threat if they continue to support police state policies that turn all Australians into suspects.

  • Thanks, Australia! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @01:31PM (#41225723)
    The fiance and I have been considering emigrating for a few years while we're still young enough to be of value to another nation (I'm 31 and she's 24). Looks like you made the decision that much easier. New Zealand is now ahead in the polls.
    • by Sparticus789 (2625955) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @01:39PM (#41225853) Journal

      There's something wrong when you have to have an exit strategy for your home COUNTRY. Not with you, but with the useful idiots who vote these people into elected office.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by anomaly256 (1243020)
        Unfortunately, no one votes for the Attorney General position. It's a complete boys' club. It's also above the law in a few key ways. I don't know why we allow this office to exist still.
        • by boron boy (858013)

          Unfortunately, no one votes for the Attorney General position. It's a complete boys' club.

          Except the current AG is a woman. And so is the person that appointed her (the prime minister).

          • The thing about figures-of-speech is that they're not meant to be taken literally. In case you're not trolling and actually don't know what a boys club is in this context: It's a cooperative group of wealthy/powerful people that maintain exclusivity in order to keep the division of power maintainable. As you stated, the AG was hand-picked by another powerful person without any input from the public. Ergo, boys club. Even though they're both women (debatable).
            • Note: this is why our referendum for becoming a republic in the '90's failed, as it was basically about keeping the current system while eliminating the queen (and "her" token governor (general) representatives) as head of state. That and it was designed to fail, as the proposed changes were put forth by the then-prime minister who is/was a monarchist.

      • by sd4f (1891894)
        The worst of it is, i need to go to slashdot, a yank site, to learn about what's happening here in skipsville. Where is the media? Europeans rioted over ACTA, yet we got reamed without even a "squeal boy".
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sdguero (1112795)
      As an Californian that has spent some time in NZ, I suggest going there for more than a couple weeks before you take the plunge. Things that seem trivial during a 2-3 week vacation (like hardly anything staying open after 8PM, passive aggressive customer service, distaste for Americans, lack of culinary variety, etc) can start to grate on you after a few months. Just my experience...
      • I appreciate the advice. There is definitely a world of difference between a short stay and a semi-permanent home, and I've heard stories of the passive-aggressive attitudes towards Americans. I'd also want to check out the climate, as a Nevadan I've been spoiled by the high desert and the proximity to the Sierras.
        • by sdguero (1112795)
          Yeah... Re-reading my post, I feel kind of bad because there is a LOT to like about New Zealand. It's beautiful and there is a lot of open space, the weather is more climactic than Southern California but really isn't that bad and varies a lot depending on which island you are on and which micro-climate you are in. The humor there is different, very dry, but they can be really funny.

          My sister has been there 6 years and she seems to like it more now than ever. She is marrying a kiwi, has picked up the acc
        • by sdguero (1112795)
          And I meant to say... Whatever you decide, good luck!
          • I appreciate it! I wish that the downward slide that our country seems to be on didn't necessitate exit strategies, especially when I know of so many liberal minded, intelligent Americans. The problem is that our government doesn't reflect this and both sides kowtow to the extremes. Fortunately we have the education and experience to move anywhere, I know a lot of nervous people who aren't quite as fortunate.
            • especially when I know of so many liberal minded, intelligent Americans
              Please to meet you Miss Kael. Speaking for Americans willing to struggle against the forces of creeping totalitarianism, I wish to thank you for self selecting to leave the field of battle and removing your hindrance.
    • don't worry, Australia has Crocodile Dundee and Crocodile Hunter guarding their freedoms down there.
    • by tapspace (2368622)

      Odd, my girl and I are similarly aged and considering the same thing. I will have a masters in computer science in April and want ot try to get a job before that. I need to propose first, because I can't see how she'll get a visa if we aren't married. But, from what we looked at, it would likely be easy for me to get residence as an engineer (they have labor shortages). Can I ask what you all intend to do? Also, from everything I looked at, it seemed you could be fast tracked to get a visa if you were

    • by quenda (644621)

      you made the decision that much easier. New Zealand .

      Sure you say that now. But as soon as you get your NZ Permanent Residency, you will jump om a plane to Australia, like every other NZ immigrant.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @01:32PM (#41225733)

    The US does it but says they aren't. Search for Project Echelon. Welcome to the supposedly-free world.

    • Echelon was a quaint old thing compared to what they're doing now but you're right.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        This is not the Echelon you are looking for

        -NSA

    • Somehow I doubt they are being very open about the external pressure being put on them by the UK/US on this. I don't see any logical reason for it.

  • All your network traffic are belong to us.
    -Says the Australian government.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Apparently "the case has not yet been made" is Aussie for "my campaign fund appears to be underfunded".

    • Doubtful; I can't think of a commercial entity who'd benefit (the ISPs are against it for obvious reasons). More likely the pressure is being applied by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), since they already have dossiers on everyone involved in Australian politics and would benefit from expanded powers to hack into suspect's or related third parties' computers (not that ASIO has a history of anything shady [wikipedia.org]).

      Hang on, someone at the door. Odd for 5AM. BRB.

      • I can't think of a commercial entity who'd benefit

        Uh, somebody has to run the operations and servers and respond to requests etc. If Australia is anything like the US, that's a LOT of commercial entity involvement.

        Also see Military Industrial complex...

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Yeah, but they are forcing the ISPs to do all the heavy lifting, so ISPs don't like being forced to spend money on something which either cuts into their profits or forces them to raise prices without proving any benefit which will upset customers (usually, when a new cost is introduced across an industry, price rises blamed on it have to be no more than the actual cost rise, or you get fined, so they can't even use it as a chance to gouge).

          The servers aren't coming from over here, and the sysadmins guild a

          • by tqk (413719)

            The only people who like it are ASIO, the AFP (the feds) and the MAFIAA.

            You forgot the lawyers. Note also, most politicians are lawyers. What a coincidence.

      • by Nerdfest (867930)

        Copyright cartels? I had assumed they were backing most of these pushed for data retention.

      • Re:Translation (Score:5, Interesting)

        by anomaly256 (1243020) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @04:54PM (#41228227)
        You forget that the Australian AG is in the pockets of the MPAA/RIAA who absolutely want this information by any means possible. You forget that the AG office completely own and controls the ratings review board here and makes copyright laws without court oversight.
        • by gmhowell (26755)

          How does the AG of Australia get into office? Election, appointment? Is there a method for removal?

          • by Anonymous Coward

            "Is there a method for removal?"

            Baseball Bat.

            Oops....please no-one actually do that (at least for the next two years).

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward

            It is a Cabinet post, so they are appointed nominally by the Governor General on the advice of the PM, who selects ministers based on personal and factional loyalty, the need to balance factions, seniority, and occasionally even competence. Ministers are selected from the MsP, which in practice means from the winning party of coalition. (IIRC, in Australia you actually have to be in Parliament to be a minister, unlike in the UK where anyone can be made a minister or added to cabinet without a portfolio.) I

      • Fair call to all responses.

  • by Troyusrex (2446430) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @01:39PM (#41225849)
    This is a bill to force telcoms to not dispose of the data they've collected for at least two years. There's nothing in hear about "a plan to capture the online data...". Now the data is being retained to help in investigations but there's a HUGE difference between the telcom having it and the government having to subpoena it and the government collecting it all themselves.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Shh, slashdot is trying to compete with fox and CNN for the "who put up the most sensationalist articles" award.
    • by pixelpusher220 (529617) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @02:15PM (#41226293)
      From TFA:

      The data retention plan - which would force all Australian telcos and internet service providers to store the online data of all Australians for up to two years

      and

      ''Many investigations require law enforcement to build a picture of criminal activity over a period of time. Without data retention, this capability will be lost,''

      Mean they are quite clear on collecting EVERYTHING so that they can build something up later. If it's only 'all Australians who're under suspicion' that's one thing, but it clearly says 'All Australians' without caveat.

      • Collect data on everyone, provide data on a specific person, when subpoenaed, to the authorities.

        • OP said it was not to collect info on 'everything but only to retain what they do collect. Glad you agree with me. What was your argument again?
        • And to your point. Once it's data held by the ISPs it's a far cry from your own personal data which would require said subpoena, it's just corporate data...
      • If it's only 'all Australians who're under suspicion' that's one thing, but it clearly says 'All Australians' without caveat.

        Its still bad even in the first case. Collecting and keeping data about everybody means fishing expeditions are easy.

        Let's say you don't like some guy like Julian Assange. You suspect he's a thief after a tipoff, but when you get a warrant and send the Police to check his appartment, they don't find anything. Drat!

        Luckily, instead of suspecting something specific and trying t

    • You forget about ASIO, they will not require a subpoena, warrant or any form of court order. Once the data is stored it will be mined. Despite ASIO wiping up fear about terrorists, their main targets are political. ASIO targets environmentalists [smh.com.au]. The data retention is designed to strike fear into the general population, terrorists (if there are any) and criminals will use secure VPNs, Tor or what have you, to hide communications. The other target of this proposal is copyright infringement, mainly Bit Torr
    • by boron boy (858013)
      Wrong. All that has been said is one sentence in a discussion paper [aph.gov.au](pdf). Here it is:

      Relevant Act: Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979 Terms of Reference extract: 15. Modernising the Industry assistance framework a. tailored data retention periods for up to 2 years for parts of a data set, with specific timeframes taking into account agency priorities, and privacy and cost impacts

      The details are sorely lacking. Here is Electronic Frontiers Australia [efa.org.au]'s submission to the inquiry (pdf [aph.gov.au]):

      EFA

  • With all major parties on board, web monitoring of all Australians appears to be inevitable.

    If they're all in favour of something so draconian and so anti-freedom, are they really different parties at all? And do they really have any interest in the well being of their constituents?

    • If they're all in favour of something so draconian and so anti-freedom, are they really different parties at all?

      The two major parties in Australia are the Liberal Party (the conservatives) and the ALP, which as far as I can tell stands for "Another Liberal Party".

      And do they really have any interest in the well being of their constituents?

      LOL

      • by quenda (644621)

        The two major parties in Australia are the Liberal Party (the conservatives) and the ALP, which as far as I can tell stands for "Another Liberal Party".

        But for our American cousins, you should explain that both would be considered "socialists" over there.
        You know, bipartisan support for universal health care, decent minimum wage, social welfare, etc

      • by fonitrus (1763632)

        Actually given how powerfull the Greens are we have 3 major players here and in the last election a vote for the Labour Party whas a vote for the Greens because of how they gave away their preferences.

        The best way to describe the lot is the Liberals a more swayed towards improving businesses oportunities and giving power to businesses with the hope they wont abuse their power and employ more people and hope once again this will keep a strong economy.

        Labour on other hand is all about misapropriating whatever

        • by boron boy (858013)
          I for one welcome our green watermellon, commie, non gun toting, ethical, environmental, pro choice, pro secular, pro internet privacy overlords. Go the greens!
    • The last election was extremely close and current government only got into power by making deals with independent and green (earth first not alien) politicians. Personally, I think it was the lack of a decent choice that lead to such a close vote. Neither party had any stand out policies or direction.
    • The two major parties are identical with these types of moves. The opposition will come from some sections of the media, but not the dominant Murdoch media, and The Greens and possibly some of the small right-wing parties.
    • Since the multi-nationals have gotten full human rights and bought all the elected offices in the U.S., I believe the question is "are they really different nationalities". It used to be "alignment", now it's all capitalism as the communist "threat" doesn't fly so well. "Sharia Menace", anyone?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Doesn't a simple web proxy render this kind of data from the ISP useless?

  • in the name of The Children, I think it's about time we grab all of the activists and other paranoiacs who've created the hysteria about the dangers to children and throw them into a Soviet-style labor camp and surround it with two miles of landmines. As an American, I volunteer Death Valley or some place in northern Alaska. If you're going to gut civil liberties like that, you have no right to complain when someone does it to you.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      This has nothing to do with standard domestic issues like child safety. This is all about precrime and capturing "terrorists". Basically, it's bullshit.

  • by StillNeedMoreCoffee (123989) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @02:06PM (#41226177)

    Now there's Big Mate

  • by Walking The Walk (1003312) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @02:07PM (#41226183)

    So, hot on the heals of a Slashdot story about Australia moving to fibre so they can push VOIP [slashdot.org], we now get a story that states that they want to:

    force all Australian telcos and internet service providers to store the online data of all Australians for up to two years

    Yeah, don't worry - they're not related though. Really, we just think VOIP will improve everyone's lives.

  • Aussies are pretty smart and something will change if they get upset.

    Solve it by a game of cricket ;-) Throw a full yorker at the attorney general and see how the law sticks when he is on the crease!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...3 things..

    1) What's to stop most people from tossing back and forth some randomly generated files, thus causing these already massive "backups" of all of the "data" to become super-duper-massive?

    2) What sort of data are they keeping? If I pay for a song from itunes (as if), does that mean that they keep a copy?

    3) If I download illegal documents, or documents that are not meant for civilians, and they keep a copy, do they keep that too?

    Fuck, if I could just get a job with an Australian ISP, I could use t

  • May I assume that the Greens are not a major party yet? Or have they aligned themselves with one of them? And are they speaking up? They received no mention the article. Oh well, it's up to the people to vote the 'major parties' out if they are interested in stopping this atrocity.

  • Nicola Roxon seems to be a genuinely caring person, she has won international recognition for her campaigned against cigaret companies, she isnt one of these power seeking politicians looking for kickbacks or to earn favors from the intelligence community.

    She seems to genuinely believe this is need to protect society, and doesn't seem to expect this information to abused.

    I cant think of anyone more fitting for the "Nanny" tag from the nanny state.

  • by arthurpaliden (939626) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @05:42PM (#41228737)

    Cut out the middle man send Attorney-General Nicola Roxon every thing right now. CC him on every email and photo upload and send him your daily web browsing histories, if he has twitter the update him on what your are doing.

    This is what they did in Canada and they crashed the Parliamentary mail and web servers. After a few days of this the bill was effectively withdrawn.

    • by slash.dt (701002)

      Cut out the middle man send Attorney-General Nicola Roxon every thing right now. CC him on every email and photo upload and send him your daily web browsing histories, if he has twitter the update him on what your are doing.

      This is what they did in Canada and they crashed the Parliamentary mail and web servers. After a few days of this the bill was effectively withdrawn.

      Her. Send *her* everything right now. Surely the name and the photo were reasonable clues to the gender?

    • I like this idea... anyone know her contact details? I tried to look up my local candidate once and failed at that :p my chances of finding the AGs personal email is zero, but i figure one of the /. crowd might know.
  • Since reading about this I've been wondering just how long do Australian ISPs retain such data for currently, without these new laws in place? Given GSM phone towers supposedly retain 37 years worth of EMEI logs, I can't imagine many ISPs would totally roll their logs within two years anyway. Can someone here who actually works at an Aussie ISP clarify the current situation please?

  • It is a bit disingenuous to state that "web monitoring of all Australians appears to be inevitable". I, for one, am tunneling my web traffic via SSH to a server overseas, so they won't be monitoring my URLs ;)

    • It strikes me as odd that the Pirate Party would be against someone copying your data.

      • by pipedwho (1174327)

        I know you're probably going for a Funny mod, but The Pirate Party does not condone piracy. It is about making sure people are not harassed by one-sided laws that go against the common good.

        • You're right, I'd conflated their position with the standard SlashDot take on abolishing copyright, which was a bit flip anyway as anti-copyright thought usually applies to public, not private, data.

          Reading their site it's not clear exactly what they propose other than 'reform'. As best I can work out they want to reduce the length of copyright and patents to some unstated period, and possibly make it only apply to corporations. For the data-rentention issue you may be better off linking to the Greens who

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Please default to https

  • by thogard (43403) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @08:39PM (#41230253) Homepage

    I deal with security of a payment gateway. Part of my job is to make sure we don't keep any credit card details floating around yet these new laws conflict with that. Years ago it seemed simple, just purge the field that has the card number in it. Too bad that is a naive solution for a far more complex problem and now I may be required to keep logs for years? Do you know how many card numbers show up in logs for stupid reasons?

    Do you know how many people put their card number in the "name on card field"? What do you do about a email address of 5123456789012345@gmail.com when they used card xxx345? What do you do with the message "Did payment to card number 4123... go through?" How about encrypted files that use a credit card number as the file name? How about reference text of "ref_cardnumber" to deal with refunds? How about card numbers in https GET requests even though the data must be POSTed to even work?

    I used cardrecon to scan my DNS personal server's DNS logs and it found people probing what appears to be cardnumber.abnormal.com. I have no idea what that is about. It finds all sorts of odd things that appears to have card numbers in it like deleted text from word or pdf documents.

  • Anyone who thinks every single government on the planet isn't already collecting, trying to collect, or wishing they could collect, every shred of information about everyone they possibly can is a bleary-eyed dreamer. It is the nature of government to wield every available control mechanism. There are no exceptions, just variations of denial.

    To Aussie's credit, at least they have the forthrightness to make no bones about it.

    OTOH, neither did/does the KGB/FSB.

    Want privacy? Unplug from the internet, pay cash,

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