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Australia Government Privacy The Courts

Australian Courts Will Be Able To See Your Browsing History 182

An anonymous reader writes A series of slips by the nation's top cop followed by communications minister Malcolm Turnbull has made Australia's data retention bill even more of a potential horror than it seemed when it was introduced last week, writes Richard Chirgwin in an article about Australia's new legislation. "Lawyers are already gathering, telling the ABC's PM program that metadata could be demanded in family law cases and insurance cases." It continues, with the inevitable result that your internet browsing history will be used against people trying to resist demands during divorce. "What's depressing is that Australians probably won't take to the streets about this issue."
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Australian Courts Will Be Able To See Your Browsing History

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  • by BitterOak ( 537666 ) on Monday November 03, 2014 @12:31AM (#48298607)

    What's depressing is that Australians probably won't take to the streets about this issue.

    Really? I'm surprised Australians are even still allowed to take to the streets!

    • Only if their boobs make them look over 18.
    • by crafty.munchkin ( 1220528 ) on Monday November 03, 2014 @12:54AM (#48298705)
      As of the 1st of September this year, Australian's in the state of Victoria have lost the right to protest.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Shit, this is true. I guess gun rights is really a canary in the coalmine of individual freedoms.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Had to Google it to believe it:

        http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/29/victorias-new-anti-protest-bill-is-a-threat-to-our-freedom-of-assembly
        http://rightnow.org.au/topics/bill-of-rights/after-democracy-victorias-new-anti-protest-laws/

        That's sad in itself, but even more sad is how ignorant and plain stupid the general population have become. Nobody seems to show the slightest interest towards these kind of issues anymore. Even the poor efforts of modern day slacktivists make me want to cry mysel

        • Well, that's depressing.

        • by Chrisq ( 894406 )

          Nobody seems to show the slightest interest towards these kind of issues anymore

          What can they do legally ... they can't protest!

        • i saw articles from last march describing the proposal, but didn't see anything specifically speaking about it passing and going into effect. can you share these? thanks
        • Sadly, the US has this too with "Free Speech Zones." If the President is driving down the street or a political convention is being held in your city and you want to peacefully hold up a sign protesting a policy of theirs, you are free to do so... in a specially designated zone that is actually nowhere near where they are. We wouldn't want our leaders to see opposition to their efforts, would we? Yes, we have a first Amendment, but the courts have ruled that "make no law ... abridging the freedom of spee

          • Sadly, the US has this too with "Free Speech Zones." If the President is driving down the street or a political convention is being held in your city and you want to peacefully hold up a sign protesting a policy of theirs, you are free to do so... in a specially designated zone that is actually nowhere near where they are. We wouldn't want our leaders to see opposition to their efforts, would we? Yes, we have a first Amendment, but the courts have ruled that "make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech ... or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances" really means that you CAN decide WHERE the people protest so long as you don't prohibit the content of their protests. So you're free to say whatever you want, so long as it is in this gated cage with an armed guard miles away from the person/people you are protesting.

            I have visited Salt Lake City, Utah, during the General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I couldn't be more grateful for those Free Speech Zones. Before these zones got put into place, I was physically grabbed by protesters. I'm fine with peaceful, respectful protesters, but once my physical safety is threatened, it's time to do something.

            • It's one thing if protest zones are designed to balance the protester's right to protest with the right of everyone else to go about their business. (For example, keeping anti-abortion protesters from physically accosting people going into an abortion clinic.) On the other hand, if the "balance" is to move the protesters so far away as to render them invisible ("sure you can protest this event... the protest zone is 10 miles that way") then you are effectively removing a person's ability to make a stateme

      • Well, hey, at least they have the 2nd amendment so they can revolt if the government gets too out of hand right?

      • As of the 1st of September this year, Australian's in the state of Victoria have lost the right to protest.

        I don't support them but that's not a fair summary of the laws. They have made it illegal for protesters to threaten violence or create blockades. One example would be abortion protesters creating a barrier around a clinic, but this law is mostly aimed at unions who can physically stop 'scabs' entering a workplace with implied, and sometimes actual, violence.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The right to assembly, right to associate, right to protest are not protected in Australia. Various states offer differing protections, with some of these rights being outlawed decades ago. This why the federal government must not have the power to ignore the courts, which is trying to give itself the power to do just that; for national security, of course.

    • I used to think Australia was pretty cool. But with their seemingly ever increasing big brother government and internet restictions, I don't think it is all that great any more. I think it is acting like what American big brother advocates would like to get away with. Worse even than Britain's snoop on everyone approach.
      • by WillKemp ( 1338605 ) on Monday November 03, 2014 @03:02AM (#48299107) Homepage

        Australia was pretty cool. Well, mostly - Queensland was always a rogue state. Sadly we've been going rapidly downhill for about the last 20 years. We're gradually turning into the US - but without the basic freedoms of the US constitution.

        • We're gradually turning into the US - but without the basic freedoms of the US constitution.

          You mean a more honest US?

        • No we've been going rapidly downhill since the exact moment the current government got elected. That is the sum total of how far this downhill extends: since the current Liberals got power, and proceeded to try and ram through every bit of right-wing nuttery they possibly could.

          • No, we started going downhill when Howard was elected - 19 years ago. Things improved a bit under Labor, but didn't get anywhere near back to where they were 20 years ago.

        • We're gradually turning into the US - but without the basic freedoms of the US constitution.

          Don't feel left out, so are we. The USA PATRIOT act and NDAA already take away basic freedoms of the US constitution.

        • Don't worry. Those "basic freedoms of the US Constitution" are frequently treated as optional suggestions by politicians. They are more than happy to abide by them unless they decide not to. And if they decide not to, they often whip the populace into a fear-induced frenzy until we beg for them to violate our basic rights.

  • by Noah Haders ( 3621429 ) on Monday November 03, 2014 @12:47AM (#48298657)

    with the inevitable result that your internet browsing history will be used against people trying to resist demands during divorce.

    why would my internet history be used against others in divorce court? I don't see how that kind of evidence would be relevant.

    • Because if the defendant ever starred in some kind of sordid sex act and it ever found its way to the internet, they know it's probably in your internet history.

      • Re:makes no sense (Score:4, Interesting)

        by mjwx ( 966435 ) on Monday November 03, 2014 @12:59AM (#48298715)

        Because if the defendant ever starred in some kind of sordid sex act and it ever found its way to the internet, they know it's probably in your internet history.

        The thing is, the Australian court doesn't give a fat rats clacker about your personal perversions in a divorce proceeding. They only care about your financial situation.

        Sure your S&M habits might have something to do with a sexual assault case, but not a divorce.

        Australians simply aren't prudes like Americans.

        However I dont expect this law to actually go anywhere (it's not implemented yet) mainly because ISPs are fighting the mandatory data retention laws.

        • And now the sheep can use your internet history to prove it.

        • However I dont expect this law to actually go anywhere

          Agree but for different reasons. Abbot and his mates have turned us into the butt of every redneck joke on the world stage. However I checked outside just now and the sky still isn't falling, just the same old political horse trading and hyperbole that's surrounded this issue for the last 20+yrs. That's not to say we won't eventually extend our data retention rules to match what has been the norm in the EU for at least a decade - ie: 2yrs. The idea the information could be useful in an Aussie divorce is sim

        • The thing is, the Australian court doesn't give a fat rats clacker about your personal perversions in a divorce proceeding. They only care about your financial situation.

          Perfect. There's no way the soon to be ex will visit off shore banking and brokerage websites from your PC for 6 months while planning to divorce you, then claim you've hid money in court to get their half and yours. Nope, that'd never happen again.

          They certainly wouldn't try to frame you for child porn to make the custody battle a slam dunk either. Everyone is always reasonable in a divorce. It's a bit like giving government bureaucrats unlimited spying powers. It's just never abused and always ends well.

          • it's browsing history held in the ISP, not on your PC... that means anything accessed from your IP address will be available... the only way to do any private browsing now will be via a proxy or using a wifi access point away from your house. and what's the bets that use of a proxy is deemed to be suspicious?
        • Australians simply aren't prudes like Americans.

          You're like us in every other way, I'm sure you'll come into conformance soon enough.

        • Sure your S&M habits might have something to do with a sexual assault case, but not a divorce.

          Of course it affects a divorce case!

          Hell, good S&M dungeons are expensive. Where did you think the savings account went? To the Caimans? Au contraire, it was spent on the dungeon....

      • Or you could blame the kids or the wife.
    • Because if they ever starred in some kind of sordid sex act, and the act ever found its way onto the internet, the court knows it's probably in your internet history.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      why would my internet history be used against others in divorce court? I don't see how that kind of evidence would be relevant.

      Your history of activity on dating sites might be relevant to accusations of adultery.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The answer is of course, 'think of the children'. The history could be used in child custody battles, to show that the party was an unfit parent and should be denied access to the kids (and therefore get a significantly lesser share of any joint property).

      "As you can see, his browsing history includes sites such as "Barely Legal Teen Poon", "Teens love their Daddies", and "Barely There - teens with less than an A-Cup", and we feel that these deviant interests make him unfit to care for a young girl."

      Never

    • Because often a part of divorce proceedings is child custody. The way to get the children is to convince the court that your partner would be a poor parent. If you can make them look like a weirdo or a pervert, that's a significent advantage. While looking at internet pornography is very common, it's also something socially condemned, and revealing it in court could tip the balance.

  • Just what's needed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Monday November 03, 2014 @02:33AM (#48299039) Journal
    This is exactly what is needed -- how long will it be before a prominent politician is sued and his browsing history is demanded by the party that is suing?
    • As we speak, there's an election campaign in the state of Victoria.

      A pornography ring has been discovered, allegedly, in the Premier's office (same party as the PM).

      Justice moves slowly, so any investigation won't conclude until after the campaign.

  • easier to ask google and Facebook for that info.

  • by wonkey_monkey ( 2592601 ) on Monday November 03, 2014 @04:22AM (#48299335) Homepage

    Australian Courts Will Be Able To See Your Browsing History

    How are they going to get their mitts on my browsing history? Are you sure you didn't mean Australians' browsing histories?

    Furthermore, the article says might, not will.

  • Firefox:

    History -> Clear Recent History

    And just for good measure clear down the .mozilla directory manually.

    Unless they plan on forcing ISPs to store every single URL that every single person in australia accesses 24/7/365.

    • by cdrudge ( 68377 )

      Unless they plan on forcing ISPs to store every single URL that every single person in australia accesses 24/7/365.

      Don't give them ideas. Actually, they probably just need to call the US's NSA if they wanted it anyways.

  • by DMJC ( 682799 ) on Monday November 03, 2014 @06:37AM (#48299717)
    Just remember guys, if you read Linuxjournal.de the NSA considers you to be an "extremist". Because Linuxjournal is an extremist forum. So they are going to be watching the Linux community quite closely. Which makes sense considering that technology hackers are the largest threat to the established powers. Especially now with sub $1500 metal 3d printers starting to come online. As home manufacturing grows the Open Source community will only become a larger threat to bad/wasteful governments. Seriously though, we should all be angry. Angry that our money, is being used for this shit, instead of fixing real problems, building real hospitals/roads/fibre internet/healthy environment/industries/helping people. We should all be angry that this is being done and noone voted for it.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Women vote, compulsorily in Oz. Politicians know this well and tailor their policies to cater to womens' interests carefully. These are not only the WomensLib equality laws, but moreso woman-friendly laws/procedures for family courts (which are important for more women).

    As a result, expect browsing history to be [un]fair game -- more men browse pr0n than women (who prefer romance novels.)

  • ...always a penal colony.

  • that this will inevitably lead to kangaroo courts?

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