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Australia Privacy Government Your Rights Online

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

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 Sparticus789 ( 2625955 ) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @02:39PM (#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.

  • by iplayfast ( 166447 ) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @02:54PM (#41226051)

    The problem is that it's telco's that are required to retain the info for 2 years. If you've worked at any ISP you know that anyone with any access can look at anything. So suppose your significant other got scammed into buying diamond earrings, and thinking that it was a secure website, posted all her delivery info and credit card info.
    You've got 2 years of possible problems.
    So suppose you get into a rant about some silly online argument with ImATroll and then the guy who's name is ImATroll is murdered. Who in the last two years had problems with him.
    So suppose you supported the liberal cause last year, but this year they are being stupid. Expect plenty of phone calls and emails asking for your continued support....

    Yeah the examples are silly and off the cuff, but you get the idea.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @02:56PM (#41226071)
    Shh, slashdot is trying to compete with fox and CNN for the "who put up the most sensationalist articles" award.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @01:18AM (#41231617)

    > The problem is that it's telco's that are required to retain the info for 2 years. ... and this is why it won't work. Politicians may make these laws, but here on Earth someone has to do the work to enforce them.

    Our household regularly uses 150+Gb/month in traffic, both upstream and downstream (much of which is encrypted and essentially not worth capturing). Let's call it a round 3.6Tb that the ISP will need to be captured and retained for just my household over a 2 year period.

    What's the cheapest storage available for 3.6Tb of data? That's presumably the *monthly* cost that will need to be passed onto my ISP (and hence to me), once the system has been up and running for 2 years and there's a full 2-year history of our household traffic stored somewhere.

    Now let's look at the real-time capture challenge. I'm with a large ISP, which may have 500,000 customers (wild guess) - let's guess again that the average customer is consuming 20Gb/month (another wild guess - if it's currently less than that, we all know it's gonna be increasing at a rapid rate and might be beyond that in 2 years' time). The ISP is now having to capture and log 20Gb * 500,000 = 10,000,000Gb = 10,000Tb/month, moving it somewhere (offsite?). If you want to buffer it within the ISP temporarily, that's about 330Tb/day that needs to be buffered and then shipped off nightly; otherwise the ISP will need to be sending it somewhere in real-time. If it's offsite, that means the ISP has to double its total available capacity (i.e. ship every bit of traffic somewhere) just to keep serving the same quantity of data; if it's not stored onsite at the ISP, that's one big data centre that my ISP (and several others) are going to have to build and maintain. Again, I'd assume the costs are going to be passed on to customers i.e. me.

    As I said above, it's probably not worth logging all my traffic, since much of it is encrypted. It'd probably be nice to filter the "stuff" that gets captured, eliminating the non-useful stuff, so that the ISP doesn't have to store all of it, but is it possible to do content filtering of 330Tb/day of network traffic in any practical sense? Probably not, but even if it is, someone (e.g. me) is gonna have to pay for it to be done.

    OK, now all that data's been collected, and Someone Important tags me as a Potential Bad Guy who needs to have his captured data examined. Maybe they can say "let's just look at his last month's traffic", so now it's down to 150Gb. Someone then needs to extract my 150Gb of saved network traffic from the 10,000Tb/month = 360,000Tb that's been captured over a 2 year period. That means my "stuff" has to have been tagged and made searchable somehow, which would presumably need to be done in realtime as the data's being captured - bit of a challenge there.

    Now Someone Important has access to just my 150Gb of traffic. How exactly do they search this amount of network traffic for Something Bad? Do they search for text such as "bomb", "nuke" or "AllDisneyMovies.rar", or is it something a bit more complex than that? I'm gonna hazard a guess that my 150Gb of (largely encrypted) data contains the strings "bomb" and "nuke" purely because these 4-character strings will appear at random in encrypted data; hmm, probably need to examine the context surrounding these strings as well...

    Now consider this all in the context of Australian governments (state and federal) not exactly known for implementing big IT projects well. In fact, I'd suggest they're fairly well known for cocking them up.

    This is starting to sound not quite as easy as a politician saying "this might be a good idea", isn't it?

"I have not the slightest confidence in 'spiritual manifestations.'" -- Robert G. Ingersoll