back to article Data retention: ASIO says Web browsing habits would need a warrant

The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) has renewed its call for Australia to implement a data retention regime, with director-general David Irvine telling a Senate committee that it's asking for nothing that doesn't already happen, and promising that it will treat Web browsing differently to e-mail …

  1. Steven Roper

    ...I cannot understand why it is correct for all your privacy to be invaded for a commercial purpose, but not by me to save your life.

    Because, Mr. Irvine, despite your deceptive insistence to the contrary, your interest is not to save my life, your interest is solely to ensure my complete and unquestioning obedience to the letter of the law, regardless of how unjust, unreasonable or unfair that law may be. A society in which resistance to the established order is impossible is a society that has no need of freedom or civil liberties.

    1. cracked

      It is in his interest to save your life, Steven. If he lets too many die they'll stop paying him.

      It would have been more correct for you to say that - because of the cost to you - you would rather he didn't.

      And were that message to be truly understood by government, then there really would be a kerfuffle.

      All that said, it is amusing to read spies complain that non-spies are better at spying :-)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Because, Mr. Irvine, despite your deceptive insistence to the contrary, your interest is not to save my life, your interest is solely to ensure my complete and unquestioning obedience to the letter of the law,

      No. Mr Irvine's interest is to further his own career, and to increase the size and power of ASIO, for its own sake.

      ASIO or the AFP's analysis or reassurances are not worth very much at all. Consider Haneef etc. Or the Sydney Hilton Bombing which was not that long ago.

    3. Bill Redmond

      ...I cannot understand why it is correct for all your privacy to be invaded for a commercial purpose, but not by me to save your life.

      The difference that you fail to see Mr Irvine, is, I get a choice for a commercial purpose!!

  2. Gray Ham
    Pint

    Irvine said a too-broad retention regime would be ruinous: “If ASIO had to pay for mass surveillance, we'd be broke in a week”

    Oh, dear .....

    1. Adam 1

      My thought on this is that there is no free lunch. Someone has to pay for this data retention, for the spinning rust, the tape archives and the masses of servers sitting up top. Who is supposed to pay for that? The ISPs? Are you not attempting to transfer the true cost of the surveillance tools you believe are necessary to perform your job?

      What about the security of the data? It is very expensive to ensure the data remains secure both during transfer and at rest. Who is going to pay for continual audits and penetration testing? Who is liable when a user's privacy is violated?

      No. If it would blow your budget in a week and not turn up the quantity of useful leads where you can justify it against your own budget then that probably tells you something about its value. Just pushing the cost to someone else doesn't make it any cheaper. It just makes our internet bills higher rather than our tax rates. Forgive my lack of excitement over that "saving".

  3. Khaptain

    >Hacker attacks on our national infrastructure [or] espionage attempts to obtain our secrets

    Hint : Hide your secrets a little bit better to start of with rather than leaving them lying about.

    >“If we can watch traffic going through that third-party computer, discarding anything we don't need

    So they will discard the trail left behind your prOn perusal ( pull the other one)... And just how will they decide what is and what is not necassary. After all you might be an aspiring terrorist or a peado so they will just keep everything anyway...

    >simply looking at the malicious signatures and where they come from, we have taken a great stride forward,”

    Only to find that the comprised PC is being controlled by a CC in another far away country. So in other words it gets them no-where other than being able to spy on your PC....

  4. Denarius Silver badge
    FAIL

    mendatious

    what makes ASIO think many of us hand over data for any purpose ? All data hoarders are loathed for the same reason. Websites that demand any purchaser create an "account" with name address phone etc to buy something and one more expletive deleted password to remember reminds me of a late unlamented electronic shop that drove many purchasers crazy with demands for same data. It sparked lampooning anecdotes on alt.rec.humor. Lately I have not bought things simply because of snoopy Buy Now pages.

    If ASIO or the rest of the servile servants of the USSA want to snoop, let them convince an court in an auditable reviewed process. Given the cliches delivered by the current AG as received truth, nobody is watching the watchers. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

  5. RobHib
    Flame

    Critical infrastructure? So who's really to blame, eh?

    Irvine also explained ASIO's view of the ability to snoop on third-party computers, saying that it's necessary to prevent attacks against critical infrastructure.

    Critical infrastructure worked perfectly well and was pretty secure BC--before computers, so why are those who are responsible for such infrastructure allowed to introduce vulnerable computers into its control systems (thus making it vulnerable)?

    Moreover, what right do these bastards have to introduce such crappy vulnerable control systems which then, somehow, seemingly, give ASIO an excuse to carry out surveillance (an excuse which otherwise it would not have had)?

    Why aren't those who introduce technologies whose consequential outcomes would restrict our fundamental freedoms, actually brought to account BEFORE they're able to introduce them?

    In a democracy it ought to be unacceptable (and unlawful) to introduce vulnerable technologies which restrict our freedoms, especially so when there has been no public debate beforehand. (Right, democracy's broken.)

    I don't see David Irvine taking the high moral ground on this point either. Why you may well ask! As Denarius rightfully points out "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?"

    Answer: David Irvine does not have to, as no one is!

    QED.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh, the winging is deafening '... I cannot understand why it is correct for all your privacy to be invaded for a commercial purpose, but not by me to save your life.”

    Because:

    1. as others have pointed out, people have a choice- however yes, whilst you're asking Mr Irvine, it should NOT be allowed let alone tolerated, and

    2. Your systems and people cannot be trusted to have access to it, let alone keep it or share it!

    Boof-heads! I wonder if more than 10% of parliament have even read George Orwell's '1984', or can remember it.

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