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Australian Government To Widen Spy Agency Powers, Again 105

An anonymous reader writes "It seems the Australian Government has a fondness for expanding the powers of the domestic spy agency, ASIO, be it for hacking into servers or tapping citizens' phones. Now the plan is to make it easier to engage in economic and industrial espionage, as well as on groups such as WikiLeaks."
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Australian Government To Widen Spy Agency Powers, Again

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  • Re:What?? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 19, 2011 @11:51PM (#36188000)

    For quite a while now, western countries' spy services have been spying on other western countries' citizens. The data is then traded so that each country's intelligence agency ends up with domestic intelligence data for their own country, while skirting "stop spying on your own citizens so much you assholes" regulations. I am not making this up.

  • by dakameleon ( 1126377 ) on Friday May 20, 2011 @12:44AM (#36188282)

    We already have far less rights than the Australian population knows. They generally tend to believe that they have the same rights as Americans. We have no Miranda (sp?). We have no right to our homes. Australia has no concept of an illegal search or seizure. Evidence cannot be excluded for these kinds of reasons.

    I would have hoped that you declared your self to not be a lawyer. I'm not a lawyer myself, but Australian legal rights aren't so far gone as all that. If the police are questioning you with the intent of using the information as evidence in court, they do warn you along the same lines as the Miranda rights. (in any case, Miranda was more about the fact of police having to inform about rights than the rights themselves.) You get two calls - one to family or a friend, and another to a lawyer. I don't know where you get the no-right-to-our-homes, and there's certainly a concept of illegal search, seizure and inadmissable illegally obtained evidence. Where do you get these stories from?

    The weakness of our constitution is part of the problem. The 'man in the street' (or man on the couch) wouldn't have to be so active if we had a half decent constitution. This doesn't mean that we can all sit on our collective backsides and do nothing. It means that there would be more opportunity for civil libertarians to challenge stupid laws.

    We might not have a Bill of Rights enshrined in the constitution, but we have 800 years of common law to draw on, given the courts recognise British court decisions as being relevant to Australian laws. Many of the rights you cry poor over have been ruled on in past legal cases.

    Let's face it. Most of us don't really know much about politics and the law. And most of us don't have the will to fight these battles. The purpose of a constitution is to protect the rights of the folks who are less capable of protecting their own.

    The purpose of a constitution is to give a framework for laws to hang on; the fact that Americans have enshrined certain laws in their constitution above and beyond the simple amendment of a vote in parliament is admirable, but a fetishistic obsession with a constitution does not make for easily enshrined laws. No-one expects that the ordinary person on the street would be able to understand all the relevant laws - lawyers have jobs for a reason, and to argue that laws should be simple enough to be understood by everyone is disingenuous in this day and age.

  • by dakameleon ( 1126377 ) on Friday May 20, 2011 @12:52AM (#36188318)

    You say the tax example as though Australia was amongst the early movers in applying a GST, or that sales taxes are rare enough elsewhere in the world. Hell, NZ had a GST before we did, and it had been proposed nearly 10 years prior by John Hewson. The GST replaced a series of different state sales taxes, harmonising tax arrangements around the country but shifting a huge chunk of power to Canberra through the payment redistribution system that causes such consternation at each COAG meeting.

    Furthermore, copyright is bound mostly by international treaties; between the updates to the Bern treaty and our FTA with the US effectively importing the DMCA, our copyright law is no more "inspired" by others than our adherence to the Geneva convention.

  • by decora ( 1710862 ) on Friday May 20, 2011 @01:37AM (#36188464) Journal

    to the Australian government? And vice versa?

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