back to article The asymmetry implicit in Internet data retention

As we speak, apathetic Australians are failing to lodge submissions objecting to the government’s ill-defined data retention proposals. But Anonymous thinks it represents us, and until it actually started showing the data, @Op_Australia on Twitter descended into the kind of “RSN” you can only deliver if you’re an archetypal …


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  1. Aaron Em

    "You can't challenge evidence you can't understand."

    Isn't that what your (attorney/solicitor/barrister, delete as appropriate) is for?

    (And, sure, I'm a US citizen and therefore have the right to hold my peace and speak only through an attorney, and no doubt Australia doesn't have the precise equivalent. That said, given that their law and jurisprudence derive from the same source as ours do, I'd be astonished to learn that that fine nation doesn't offer its citizens substantially the same protections -- including the presumptive suppression of anything otherwise potentially or actually incriminating that's uttered by someone who has not been advised he has the right not to do so. A quick perusal of Wikipedia on the subject, which I grant is not always reliable but in broad strokes tends to be reasonably so, certainly seems to indicate as much.)

    Of course I'll never argue that Anonymous is anything save the meanest gutter scum of the Internet -- given their 4chan origins, they could hardly be otherwise. But it does not behoove one, who is arguing against their style of anarchistic mob "justice", to misrepresent the nature of the law, or of the evidentiary requirements the law imposes on police.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "You can't challenge evidence you can't understand."

      Isn't that what your (attorney/solicitor/barrister, delete as appropriate) is for?

      No - your ability to challenge process should never be dependent on a 3rd party (however much that has become a trend) because that restricts the ability to defend yourself to teh size of your wallet, and we have enough of that already.

      He makes a couple of very good points in this article, points that add quite a bit of INSIGHT to the debate. What Anonymous does is quite simply juvenile window thrashing - which doesn't help in any way, shape or form (I like his comment about geopolitical sensitivity - that's as direct as it comes - I bet he'll be the subject of hack attacks for uttering a rather profound truth)..

      1. Aaron Em
        Thumb Down

        "that restricts the ability to defend yourself to teh [sic] size of your wallet"

        Australia certainly appears from my brief research to have a tradition of the "public defender", i.e. a court-appointed lawyer for those unable to retain one on their own, which again I suspect descends from the English common law. In other words, if your wallet won't stretch to cover the cost of an attorney's services, the state will provide you one free of charge. That being the case, I continue in my failure to see why this is a problem.

  2. John Sanders

    All annymous does...

    Is keeping the poor on-call engineers of ISPs awake at 3:00 AM

    "The Man" is not the one called in the middle of the night to fix it's stupid web server because of some lame DDoS attack.

    Some poor IT guys will be.

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Re: All annymous does...

      I can tell you'e young - anyone who was born during the days of anonymous FTP will no longer misspell "anonymous" . We once recompiled server code so you had to enter "miscellaneous", which wasn't a great success :)

      1. TeeCee Gold badge

        Re: All annymous does...

        We once went through four bloody releases before the Indian subcontractors managed to spell "Miscellaneous" correctly on all the screens, reports and menu options in Miscellaneous processing. I guess the use of copy 'n paste from the spec never occurred to them.

        Another system I had the displeasure to be involved with aquired a CR stating that the users were not allowed to enter "various" for the job ID on a contract. A nice simple bit of validation, yes? You'd be amazed how many changes that went through before we managed to get it to cater for all the various (hah!) misspellings that subsequently cropped up.

  3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Don't worry

    The new laws will only be used against terrorists, or child pornographers, or drug smugglers - and you aren't one of them are you ???

  4. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    When I was still in school...

    Sometime in the latter half of the last century, I'm *sure* I was taught that government was in theory there to represent the will of the people.

    And yet 'they' keep on passing more and more restrictive laws without even asking me... when did that happen? Did I not get a letter or something?

    It's very simple. The vast majority of the population are largely law-abiding. If you (the government agency) have reason to believe that one of us has committed a crime, and you can convince a judge of that belief, then with a warrant you may investigate what evidence exists. That's fine. What is not fine is requiring the logging of evidence of what may one day turn out to have been a crime...

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Re: When I was still in school...

      People treat others like they are themselves. Which suggests that the majority of people in government right now are sneaky, lawbreaking bastards who should not be left out on the street in the evening because they would rob everyone blind. Which, given the latest laws, QED..

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: When I was still in school...

        David Gauke, the UK Exchequer Secretary, recently said it was morally wrong to pay traders in cash. This is a man who has claimed over ten thousand pounds in expenses to which his entitlement was suspect to say the least.

        My vegetable delivery lady asked me if there was any chance I could pay in cash last Friday, she needed to get fuel for the van and it was therefore more convenient for her. All the payments have an official invoice and an official receipt. I have no doubt whatsoever that she declares all her business transactions to the tax office.

        When I hear people like Guake say that paying in cash leads to tax evasion, it just sounds to me like an admission that if he were ever paid in cash, he would not declare it. It's like people who keep property or money they have found asserting that everybody would do the same - whereas in my experience almost all the valuable stuff I have ever lost (a lot, I'm forgetful!) has been handed back in.

        It makes you wonder what the politicians are using the internet for.

        1. DragonLord

          Re: When I was still in school...

          I believe that he actually said that it's morally wrong to pay cash in order to reduce your tax bill. He in no way implied that it's morally wrong to pay cash in and of itself.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: When I was still in school...

          I wonder if David Gauke has any stake in Visa.

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      Re: When I was still in school...

      "What is not fine is requiring the logging of evidence of what may one day turn out to have been a crime..."

      Welcome to (some bureaucrats vision) the New Model Government.

      You are neither a citizen nor a subject.

      You are a suspect. They *know* you have/will commit a crime (because with the number of laws passed it's virtually impossible for you *not* to have done so, weather or not those laws have been enforced up to now) so it is only prudent to begin the collection of evidence now. And because they can.

      Strip away the justifications and that's what it comes down to.

  5. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Eye, eye, eye, M'Lud ...... an alien view on dark subjective objectionable matter :-)

    You get my point, I hope. You can't challenge evidence you can't understand.

    Is it therefore the case that challenging evidence which cannot be understood is a wild fabrication and nonsense making a mockery and fool of the justice system, which would be a quite APT take on the law when a bumbling ass, with its absurd justice, a banana man's lament

    The moral of such an Aesopian tale is that CyberSpace does not suffer the slings and arrows of outrageously misfortunate, covetous fools with their toxic blunt sub-prime and primitive tools. Step into ITs Realms and you will need to lead with a great deal more intelligence than is universally shown and possessed by present pretenders to the myriad earthly thrones of media's fool tools.

    1. Aaron Em
      Thumb Down

      Re: Eye, eye, eye, M'Lud ...... an alien view on dark subjective objectionable matter :-)

      Without users, our entire industry has no reason to exist. Your argument is invalid.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pot, Kettle, Black alert

    "With the kind of geopolitical ignorance that screams “American” at me" - Ironically, you referring to an average consumer as ' Joe Sixpack' is far more American ..

    1. Gavin King

      Re: Pot, Kettle, Black alert

      Perhaps, but to me (as a New Zealander) I find that Australia has a very "American" streak through it; I don't presume to say whether this is good or bad, merely that there are several cultural and linguistic traits that the two have in common.

      1. Aaron Em

        Re: Pot, Kettle, Black alert

        Well, both our nations originated, not merely as colonies of the same empire, but as prison colonies of same, so the similarities may not be too astonishing.

  7. DreamEater

    Will someone please think of the children?!

    1. Comments are attributed to your handle

      Missed an opportunity to use the icon!

  8. Vic

    Your UserID, Citizen

    > law enforcement is creating a huge asymmetry that doesn’t exist when we discuss telephone call records.

    You say that just as if it's an accident...


  9. ed2020


    It's "people's", not "peoples'".

  10. bugalugs

    Report from an " Enhanced Defence/Government Co-operation " zone

    This Parliamentary web-page won't take you very far either.

    ^ makes sure crisps and towel are in place....

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