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AU Government Demands Universal Wiretapping 236

StonyandCher writes "The Australian government is pushing a bill to force all telecommunications providers to facilitate lawful data interception across fixed and mobile telephone systems, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), Instant Messaging (IM) and chat room discussions. Sweeping reforms will make it easier than ever for law enforcement to intercept communications if amendments to the Telecommunications (Interceptions) Act are agreed upon by a Senate standing committee. This follows from a story earlier this week where the Australian government is legislating to allow employers to snoop on employees' email and IM conversations."
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AU Government Demands Universal Wiretapping

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  • by ImYY4U ( 539546 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @05:59PM (#23111446)

    This is why it is so important that we in the US fight for ALL of our rights, however trivial they may seem. Because once one is taken away, the rest soon follow...
  • by FudRucker ( 866063 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @06:02PM (#23111478)
    including the all of the governments of the world, whats good for the goose is good for the gander & vis/versa...
  • by StreetStealth ( 980200 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @06:03PM (#23111488) Journal
    This sounds just like the USA CALEA program.
  • Thats funny (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Gat0r30y ( 957941 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @06:09PM (#23111556) Homepage Journal
    I was under the impression that Oceania was supposed to be the former UK along with some of Europe. Perhaps I've been misinformed?
  • How long until... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by InvisblePinkUnicorn ( 1126837 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @06:09PM (#23111558)
    "We have always been at war with Oceania."
  • Re:We were first (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Umuri ( 897961 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @06:15PM (#23111622)
    I would argue that you are comparing apples to oranges good sir.

    A company handing over data about what happens on their network is VASTLY different from the government being able to spy on what a user does in their personal time at home.

    You should always assume you have no privacy in a corporate environment, because a company is paying for YOUR time. Therefore if you do anything other than work on that connection/resources, you are just being stupid.

    That is like complaining that you work at 7:11 and there's a camera monitoring you, so if the government puts cameras in your home, it's the exact same thing.
  • Re:VOIP (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 17, 2008 @06:21PM (#23111690)
    They won't, they'll just make encrypting VoIP illegal - if you encrypt VoIP, you're preventing the wiretapping that'll be legally mandated to be possible, so you will be automatically a criminal.

  • by Mr. Beatdown ( 1221940 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @06:22PM (#23111700)
    We have always been at war with Eastasia.
  • by name*censored* ( 884880 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @06:31PM (#23111788)
    @ Title: Now, I hardly think anyone's going to start an armed revolution over THIS. Armed revolutions are for when democracy fails (some might argue this has already happened, but that's another can of beans) or the government does something that is universally dispised - otherwise, the best way to announce your objection is to vote on it. If anything, having guns makes the situation worse, because it gives the illusion that people have a "nuclear option" - when really, they don't (I would imagine that the government/army would win in a fight vs the people). As an Australian, I'm glad the guns have been taken away - we have few real reasons for them (you can get gun permits for hunting), and they otherwise do more harm than good.

    But good point about fighting for your rights, it's just a terrible shame so few people are passionate AND informed enough to understand the implications of potential laws and not just the PR-wrapper ("Won't Somebody Please Think Of The Children").
  • by Fluffeh ( 1273756 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @06:32PM (#23111792)
    It's not a big power grab, it's the influence of America and it's policies that is hurtling us down this path - rather sadly at that.
  • by Gat0r30y ( 957941 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @06:35PM (#23111822) Homepage Journal
    Insightful indeed, the law as it stands applies to all business right? So government contractors would have their emails subject to this as well. Would government employees be subject too? Since third party contractors can gain access to the information, what would prevent them from publishing all the correspondence between the gov and its contractors? Wouldn't it be lawful for a private company (or a NFP like the EFF or someone) to get "permission" to access all such emails and publish them?
  • by Jeremiah Cornelius ( 137 ) * on Thursday April 17, 2008 @06:39PM (#23111868) Homepage Journal

    NewSpeak alert.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 17, 2008 @06:39PM (#23111874)
    Chances all this power will never be abused? 0%

    Chances some of this power will be abused? 100%

    Chances it's going to improve the quality of life for the average Australian? 0%

    Seems like voting NO is a no-brainer here.
  • Re:VOIP (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sloppy ( 14984 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @07:03PM (#23112074) Homepage Journal

    Voip is only feasible by making the delay as little as possible. By adding an encrypt/decrypt step I would certainly expect some delay.

    I don't know if you've been keeping up, but CPUs are getting pretty fast. Network latency will dwarf encryption overhead by several orders of magnitude.

    On another note, who really cares if the government finds out your mom sent a care package in the mail?

    If they are legislating that the networks will be required to have security holes, the question becomes: who really cares if everyone can listen to all of your phone calls?

    If I were a thief, I would be very interested in exactly when you are expecting a package. Narrowing my target would save me some time and risk.

  • by HillBilly ( 120575 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @07:16PM (#23112158)
    So how is a gun going to protect you when the goverment can bomb you from miles away or 30,000 feet?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 17, 2008 @07:18PM (#23112184)
    >> Or is this just a big power grab?

    more or less... except it's more an attempt at efficient legal tapping, rather than blanket civil spying.

    As for all the oblig 'criminal' comments... it's quite rare for an Australian to be descended from so called 'convicts'. And even if they were, you should be careful to lump 'convicts' in with 'criminals'. Many of the 'convicts' deported to Australia in the 19th century were Irish, Scottish and other minority groups deemed undesirable in England, and were deported for minor crimes such as pinching bread to feed their families. Sure, some were deported for assault and murder, but a good portion weren't. The 'convicts' who built Australia at the urging of the empire were little more than white slaves.

    By all means comment on the erosion of civil liberties, but don't call us criminals.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 17, 2008 @07:38PM (#23112340)
    Good luck with that. When you're done, you might want to read the headline again. Australia doesn't have a Constitution that guarantees any personal rights.
  • by paulthomas ( 685756 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @07:51PM (#23112438) Journal
    They're just reforming in the wrong direction. Much like Venezuela's land "reform".
  • by MvD_Moscow ( 738107 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @08:08PM (#23112548)
    What makes you think that the American government won't retain control of the armed forces in case of an "emergency"? What makes you think that a significant portion of potential paramilitary groups won't support the government in an "emergency"? Since when did the 'rightist faction' of Americans start admitting that America does make mistakes? I didn't see any large scale protests (involving people from across the political spectrum) against the 'Patriot' act or the Bush's totalitarian policies such as the use of unlawful wiretrapping/torture/war mongering?

    All your examples are largely irrelevant, they all involve a nation being invaded/occupied by an external power. That's no where near the same thing as a successful resistance against your own government. And lets not forget that South Vietnamese received enormous support from their brothers up north/the USSR.

    I dare you to give me a recent example where the population was able to successfully organize a resistance against a relatively well funded/organized government that was willing to use military force to remain in power. African regimes with constant rebellions and other chaos don't count. Now you might say that this kind of stuff always happens in countries were personal firearms are banned, but that's just an excuse. We both know that if your government allows you to bear arms, chances are your democratic institutions are sufficiently developed for a rebellion not to occur in the first place.

    The idea of firearms being a last resort for the protection of democracy is a myth. Chances are by the time you get to the point where you have to use the last resort, you won't have your firearms. Traditions/norms/values don't change overnight, you can't go from a relatively well functioning democracy to a totalitarian state in one night, not without external influences that render your last resort argument meaningless (fighting an external enemy is a whole different story).

    Now don't get me wrong, I don't oppose the use of personal firearms. I do favor more regulation and bans on M16s and stuff, but in principle I am fine with people having licensed pistols for self protection and licensed rifles for hunting. I would never by a gun myself, but if you are into this kind of stuff it's your choice. What I do oppose is the promotion of the myth that democracy can be protected with firearms. It's a stupid idea that underlines a fundamental misunderstanding of democracy, the whole point of democracy is to promote compromise and enable solution without the use of violence.
  • Re:Fitting for ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Eth1csGrad1ent ( 1175557 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @08:09PM (#23112562)
    the land of the Criminals.

    Such a fine line between +5 Funny and -1 Flamebait.

    To me this is simply insulting. Guess it comes down to which side of the fence you sit on and safetly in numbers.
    Since the gun control debate has already surfaced as the supposed reason Australians are facing the prospect of unrestricted government wire tapping, I think I'll take my criminal ancestry, sit back on my Aussie arse...cop the insult on the chin, turn the TV on to COPS or 48 Hours and watch some pro-gun Americans shoot each other.

    Hows that Patriot Act working out for y'all BTW ?
  • by adona1 ( 1078711 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @08:37PM (#23112732)
    Guns only seem to be something to care about in the US...

    Speaking as an Australian, it didn't make that much difference when most guns were banned following the Port Arthur shootings []. Semi-automatics & shotguns were generally banned, and it was mainly people in rural areas (farmers etc) who had these for pest control. Gun violence in Australia makes the news in a big way because it's so uncommon - more often than not it's between underworld figures/biker gangs etc than against civilians.

    So please don't try to use something as important as proposed universal wiretapping to push a pro-gun agenda on the other side of the world, because over here one is an important fight for civil liberties and the other is ancient history that was supported by most Australians.

    Having said that, please do fight for your rights over in the US, because most Australian politicians seem to have a monkey see, monkey do approach to policy and if Americans stand up against wiretapping etc, then there might be less chance of legislation allowing it being enacted here.
  • by c6gunner ( 950153 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @08:59PM (#23112872)

    So how is a gun going to protect you when the goverment can bomb you from miles away or 30,000 feet?
    Ah, yes, all those WW2 foot-soldiers were totally redundant, we should have just fought with bombers. And why the hell are there men on the ground in Iraq? Should have just bombed them into the stone-age, right?

    Seriously, I can see that you obviously have no military experience, but that comment is pretty ignorant even for a run-of-the-mill civilian. Give your head a shake. The airforce may be able to destroy shit in a spectacular fashion, but only men with guns can actually hold ground. You can't occupy a piece of land from 30,000 feet, no matter how many bombs you have.
  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @09:50PM (#23113192) Homepage

    Chances all this power will never be abused? 0%

    Chances some of this power will be abused? 100%
    Which says the same thing, and amounts to "no system is perfect, there's always the possibility for abuse". If you followed through on that we'd have no power strucures at all, only anarchy.

    Chances it's going to improve the quality of life for the average Australian? 0%
    Quite. It's not like wiretaps are doing anyone any good and they should be banned outright. Wait, are they part of making law enforcement work and making a civilized society under the rule of law? Nope, no benefit there.

    Seems like voting NO is a no-brainer here.
    Maybe it is, but I didn't see it. I saw two knee-jerk reactions and a general conclusion you can use against pretty much anything.
  • Re:Fitting for ... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Eth1csGrad1ent ( 1175557 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:06PM (#23113290)

    Of course I'm marked as a Troll.
    Safety in numbers as I said. Cheap shot at Australians +5 Funny. Retaliatory cheap shot at Americans -1 Troll. Thanks for making my point.
  • by MichaelNeale ( 454114 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:50PM (#23113558)

    in fact, North America was a dumping ground for scum for 150 years, versus only 75 for Australia. Explains a lot really.
  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Thursday April 17, 2008 @10:54PM (#23113572) Homepage Journal
    They are nuts, so it's hard to say exactly what "their dreams" really are.

    But if the way they ran Afghanistan was any example, or their slightly less nuts/fanatical/medieval fellow Salafists the Saud family tells us anything, then they would of course love total control of national snooping infrastructure.

    But of course I'm not saying that some Qaeda jerkoffs are in a cave somewhere plotting to do stuff like that. They barely hijacked some planes, after years of planning, fanatical (if sometimes inconsistently virtuous) supporters, $millions in budget, and a completely compliant US "defense" leaving the gates wide open. They're not up to doing more than signing up each other in their cellphone friends plan.

    What I am saying is that these Qaeda enemies are most certainly happy when our governments crack down on our liberty on the pretext of fighting the Qaeda. Because they know it makes us less safe when we distrust our governments, when our governments are preoccupied spying on us instead of catching and killing them.

    Now, you want to see some Qaeda plans? OK, look at how the Qaeda has planned [] since 2003 not to attack the US directly, but to pressure our allies (like Australia) to drive everyone against our governments. Stunts like this one in Australia are part of how our governments play right into Qaeda hands by working against them.

    That's their plan to eradicate us. By using our own stupid reactions to their small, asymmetrical tipping point pressures against us.

    And if you don't think stimulating Big Brother into taking away our liberties is part of those reactions, that it doesn't please them because they're winning by it, then you're part of how they're beating us, too. I don't think you are. So try to take in this bigger picture with a little more perspective.
  • Re:Fitting for ... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by G-funk ( 22712 ) <> on Friday April 18, 2008 @12:20AM (#23114036) Homepage Journal
    Hey just coz they're getting the shaft too, doesn't mean we shouldn't be upset. At least they have a bill of rights, even though it's slowly getting corrupted. We've got no such thing to even challenge all these stupid things. We've no right to free speech, no protections against illegal searches, nothing. People who watch too much law-and-order think we have the same sort of protections, and so they don't get so upset when our new nanny-state overlords enact a bunch of new laws to protects us from ourselves (banning top selling RTDs), and the "tersts".

    Fucking Rudd... Australia as a whole deserves it for voting him in, but that doesn't make it better :'(

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