back to article Australia gets spooks' charter, new leak penalties

Australia's government has introduced its “spooks' charter” to parliament, wheeling ASIO chief David Irvine in front of a press conference to convince Australians of deadly threats to their liberty that justify the erection of a surveillance state. The new legislation introduces a single warrant covering networks of computers …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Very dubious

    Claims about the dangerous new world that we live in need to be treated with extreme skepticism. There has only been one terrorist attack in Australia, and that was the Sydney Hilton Bombing which was almost certainly a botched but ultimately successful attempt by ASIO and special branches to obtain more funding. Claims to have prevented attacks also needed to be treated with skepticism.

    Giving blank cheques to the security forces is potentially far more dangerous than a few terrorists. That is not to say that there are no bad/crazy Muslims out there, but the worst that they can do is kill a very few people. The security forces can be far more dangerous.

    Perhaps the nastiest, most unnecessary and least commented aspects are the new cimes against any whistleblowers.

  2. MrDamage Silver badge


    "The new legislation introduces a single warrant covering networks of computers (instead of requiring a single warrant for each intrusion); the right for agencies to use innocent third-party computers to access other computers; and the ability for intelligence officers to disrupt computer operations."

    My flatmates and I share an internet connection via a switch. Will they view that as a network and one warrant to gain access to all of out data and PC's when they only want one of us?

    Also, how will that work in regards to wifi hotspots? Will that be viewed as "a network", thus giving them carte blanche over anyone who connects to it?

    Even though the UN has said that International Law could be breached by all this mass surveillance, do you think any of the countries doing it will care, especially considering they are the same countries who flouted international law by invading Afghanistan and Iraq, implemented torture regimes in their prisons, and ignored our constitutional rights.

    The more this goes on, the more tempted I am to give up on the IT trade, ditch all devices that can be snooped on, and just become a laborer doing a shitkicker job.

    Got one mate thats never had a computer, mobile phone, bank account, and successfully sued his employer for unfair dismissal when the company went to electronic funds transfers only, and fired him when he refused to get a back account.. I used to call him a luddite. Now I think he was the wisest of us all.

    1. GrumpyOldBloke

      Re: Disconcerting

      You are being a little unfair. Think of poor Mr Irvine's embarrassment! With all the powers granted to police and intelligence officers since 9/11 they forgot to consider the case of potentially angry people or people with alternate viewpoints entering the country. [Citing the fear that jihadists returning to Australia from Syria pose a threat to the country, Irvine said “it is a significant issue” and citing that threat as part of his case for data retention]. I would remind Mr Irvine of Benjamin Franklin's quote: those who give up essential libraries to effectuate a little insecurity observe neither.

  3. David Knapman

    And so...

    And, so, we see, that the lesson **has** been learnt from Edward Snowden:

    The laws also impose increased penalties for leaking information. A new offence would be created that offers five years in prison for disclosing special intelligence operations, rising to ten years should the disclosure “endanger the health or safety of any person or prejudice the effective conduct of a special intelligence operation”

    Maybe not the lesson we wanted our governments to learn...

    1. Mark 65

      Re: And so...

      ...and it still wouldn't stop the next Edward Snowden.

  4. ops4096

    Just thought I'd say ...

    I know it's not computer related but ...

    The Guardian reports that "Special intelligence operations are a new type of covert operation in which intelligence officers receive immunity from liability or prosecution where they may need to engage in conduct that would be otherwise unlawful."

    How is it possible for a government to pass a law that exempts it's agents from the law !!!!!

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