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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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  • by Mr Bubble ( 14652 ) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @11:17PM (#36187858)

    To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

    Police and intelligence agencies are tasked with a mission. Like ever other profession, they want to get better and better at what they do. They will always push for more weapons, more power and more of a role in our society. It seems like they won't be satisfied until we all live in glass houses - everyone, that is, except them. I am a fairly optimistic person about the future, but this is one of the issues I don't see a way out of because the only antidote is an engaged citizenry that peacefully, but persistently pushes back and that demands their rights. Unfortunately, the citizenry is half asleep on their couches watching cop shows.

  • What?? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by c0lo ( 1497653 ) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @11:18PM (#36187862)

    They will widen ASIO's ability to work with and on behalf of the overseas agencies in collecting what is known as ''foreign intelligence''.

    Collecting data about Australian citizen's on behalf of overseas agencies?

  • by SirAstral ( 1349985 ) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @11:19PM (#36187864)

    You won't feel a thing!

    I no longer feel empathy for enslaved populations. I sit here in the great U.S. of A. and see my fellow citizens taking this shit lying down and begging for more. Worse yet as I try to rally my fellow citizens to try to stop this they all look at me like I am crazy. And when I tell them stories when good ole gubmint oversteps they just look at me like I am stupid, even when I provide them with links from reputable sources. They just say... ah there is more to the story they are not telling you.

    Australia can just go and suck it long and hard, but tell them to leave some room at the feet of their masters, my people with be joining them all too soon!

  • by errandum ( 2014454 ) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @11:44PM (#36187974)

    But... Don't they already do this everywhere?

    It's just that here there is a law saying that they can, but it is already done in almost every civilized country...

  • by ausrob ( 864993 ) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @11:51PM (#36188006)
    Unforturnately this is nothing new for Australia, and will continue to be the case because Australians are generally quite apathetic when it comes to governance. Generally, it takes an astonishing act to garner much public outrage, which means Australia is a prime location for testing certain legislative prerogatives. The problem (amongst other things) is that it sometimes sets a very bad precedent, internationally. Once such powers are granted in one country, it is often used to justify the granting of similar powers in other countries. This can also apply to copyright, tax (e.g. GST in Australia influenced by the success of the Canadian sales tax model) and much more.
  • by Wolfling1 ( 1808594 ) on Friday May 20, 2011 @12:15AM (#36188106) Journal
    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.

    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.

    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.

    I'm certainly not promoting the American constitution. I think we could do way better than that one. Problem is that we're not trying to... and until these little issues become big enough to seriously threaten a government, change is unlikely to happen. The last time a referendum was passed in Australia was 1977, and the content was largely inconsequential to our rights.

    A poster on /. recently brought to my attention that it was narcissistic to fear the loss of liberties. It made me think about that really hard - and after all is said and done, I'm inclined to agree. Excessive police/ASIO rights are unlikely to ever cause problems for me because I'm not a criminal. I'm not even close to being a criminal. This one is not going to be the straw that breaks the camel's back. Let it go.

"I think trash is the most important manifestation of culture we have in my lifetime." - Johnny Legend