back to article Queensland Police want access to locked devices

The Australian State of Queensland wants the power to force citizens to unlock their devices during a declared terrorist emergency. The state government introduced legislation under the title “Counter-Terrorism and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016” earlier this month. The bill's explanatory note (PDF) complains that …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think someone has misunderstood the intent of social media

    "Part of the justification is that people might have taken photos or videos of a terrorist incident, which they then post to social media, and these might help identify an attacker."

    If the content has been posted to social media law enforcement can get it from there. Why would they need access to the phone?

    1. notowenwilson

      Re: I think someone has misunderstood the intent of social media

      Because its only vaguely about actually responding to terrorism and mostly about streamlining policing by allowing desktop investigations rather than having to actually talk to people.

    2. Trigonoceps occipitalis

      Re: I think someone has misunderstood the intent of social media

      "Why would they need access to the phone?"

      Custody of evidence? Direct from the phone memory is best evidence, who knows what has happened on the way to/from social media. Also remember that the BBC has (had?) a habit of removing the meta-data that is probably crucial to a clips evidential worth.

  2. aberglas

    Restricting Complaint is nasty

    The nastiest part of this type of law is restricting people's ability to complain about being subjected to them. Much of the ASIO legislation also makes it illegal to tell people if you have been arrested etc.

    Like this would stop a real terrorist from telling their mates. It is about protecting the security forces themselves, pure and simple.

    1. Mark 65

      Re: Restricting Complaint is nasty

      The bill's explanatory note (PDF) complains that currently, Police can't demand “relevant information” from people who aren't suspects in a terrorist incident, but are thought to know something that might help an investigation.

      The bill also seeks to silence citizens who've had their phone searched. Currently, “there is no requirement for a person to keep confidential the fact that information is being sought”.

      So there's "thought to know something" and silencing, anything left in 1984 that hasn't been covered?

      Given the history rife with police and political corruption in the state of Queensland (Fitzgerald era etc.) I wouldn't trust these pricks with the steam off of my piss let alone a far reaching piece of legislation such as this.

  3. Winkypop Silver badge

    Folks are dumb where they come from

    Oh Queensland, always different, always that bit thick.

    1. Mark 65

      Re: Folks are dumb where they come from

      Hmmm, you could think that way but I prefer to think that if it gets over the line in QLD it'll soon be present in NSW and VIC especially given the fun-police legislation south of the border. There's nothing they like more in NSW than a bit of "rule your life/can-do can't-do" on the books.

      Ever tried drinking spirits in Sydney because you may prefer a good Whiskey or G & T more than an over-fizzed beer? Best of luck with that - you may get your first but try for two or three and see what happens.

  4. FozzyBear

    Yep nothing like the threat of terrorism to be able to push through any bullshit law they want.

    And of course they will only use it in the instances of a terrorism threat or incident. Really, How clueless do they think the public are?

    No second thoughts don't answer that.

    1. Magani

      'Don't You Worry About That'

      Joh Bjelke-Petersen is cheering from beyond the grave.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I used to really think Australia would be a cool place to live

    Sad that it is becoming more of a police state than the US, let alone the UK. Why are so many sheep letting the terrorists win? They have no problem driving their cars, even though the odds of dying in a traffic accident are orders of magnitude higher than the odds of dying at the hands of a terrorist.

    1. MrDamage Silver badge

      Re: I used to really think Australia would be a cool place to live

      Queensland has always been a bit backwards, and quasi-police state.

      This is the same state who refused to implement daylight savings because the then premier Joh Bjelke-Petereson claimed it would "confuse the cows", and his wife was worried the extra hour of daylight would fade the curtains.

      The same state whose police would arrest Rodney Rude and Kevin Bloody Wilson after each gig for breaking archaic anti-swearing laws, and the same police are the best money can buy.

      We don't judge all of the US by Alabama's actions, so please don't judge all of Australia by Queensland.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I used to really think Australia would be a cool place to live

        > old tired daylight savings rant

        Not a Queenslander I see, at least one from outside the Brisbane and Gold Coast corridor.

        The issue with cows and the diary farmers, is that they wake up and milk when the sun rises. The tanker truck, working off the clock, now arrives an hour early. There is now a tanker driver sitting on his arse for an hour waiting for the milking to finish.

        As for the curtains, have you ever tried to sit down for dinner when it's still north of 40C at 8:00pm? Drawing the curtains at least stops the sun from blazing in the windows but does nothing for the heat. This is the basis of the additional hour that the curtains are drawn and exposed to the full brunt of the Queensland sun.

        1. Mark 65

          Re: I used to really think Australia would be a cool place to live

          Sorry, but that is a bullshit counter argument. The truck driver will not be waiting for an hour unless he's a fucking idiot and so's his employer. Dawn varies in time throughout the year by more than 1 hour so if cows are milked "when the sun rises" then his arrival time varies from around 4am to around 6am throughout the year. He's based on sunrise + X, so daylight savings makes no difference.

          As for the North of 40C at 8pm argument - so what? If that 8pm stayed as 7pm then North of 40C at 7pm is not likely to drop by too much by 8pm. If you live in that kind of heat zone then you have air con or sit and sweat. 1hr does not make a difference to that.

          The "no daylight savings" arguments in QLD are archaic and simply shit-kicking in my opinion. I believe they stem more from a desire to be different from the rest of the eastern seaboard than anything based in reality. More a case of "NSW want us to but they can get fucked cos we don't take orders from the likes of them blues" than fact-based.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I used to really think Australia would be a cool place to live

            Hey Mark, it's not a counter argument. I've lived through it. Both involved on the dairy farms and with the milk man. Whatever happened, it got all buggered up, it was a long time ago.

            And, you'd be surprised at how much the comfort level changes in that one hour. Especially when dealing with a family dinner involving children. Then, the city folks never did (choose to) understand how badly daylight savings does screw around the country.

            It's not a case of not wanting to follow the southern states, take a look at a map and see how damn big Queensland is and how far north the top point is. WA and NT don't have daylight savings either, likely due to the same issues of the effects it has at the top end of the country.

  6. Adam 1

    sounds reasonable

    After all, Qld police have never in the past misused their powers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: sounds reasonable

      Past? Still going on down on the Gold Coast. Have a search for anything related to Southport nick. Those dumb fuckers even assaulted a Justice of the Peace. On CCTV, and in public.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Only in relation to a declared terrorist incident"

    Ah, I think I see where this one is going.

    IIRC, and I forget the legislation under which this applies, in the UK certain ranks (Superintendent?) can authorise greater powers for their officers over an area for a period of time (again I apologise but I forget how long, it might be up to twenty-eight days). Powers might include things like a greater ability to stop and search people and vehicles, set up roadblocks etc.

    I think this was intended to counter serious crime believed to be in the planning, enable searches for escaped prisoners, and to deal with anticipated disorder, unauthorised protest marches etc etc

    There are apparently some areas of the UK where these orders were renewed as a matter of course so that in effect they were (are?) continuous. I seem to recall a program on this on the TV some while ago causing a bit of a scandal that shortly was forgotten.

    Given the current spate of misguided nutters "driving elsewhere than on a road" and using people as soft bollards, should this sort of thing happen down under I would expect that this could be justification for these powers to be used by the police there in a similar way and then subjected to "mission creep".

    Its a shame as I understand the need for such powers where appropriate but given that in the UK you can be convicted for terrorism for dressing up as Batman and climbing on a ledge to protest about bias in the family courts, rather than in the days when a proper terrorist inspired, well, terror (not that I advocate such actions) by making things go bang, it does seem to rather devalue the distinction.

  8. D_awesome_beast

    They still can't do the basics

    Why do they want more coercive powers? How many times do we need to read "The suspect flew under the police radar or dropped through the cracks?" Maybe the police should perfect their basic police work before asking for more complicated things.

    It gets messy when you ask for the complicated things without having the expertise in the basics first.

    1. JJKing

      Re: They still can't do the basics

      Maybe the police should perfect their basic police work before asking for more complicated things.

      They don't have time to perfect their basic police work because they are too busy guarding McDonalds and catching those master criminals who drive 2 or 3kph above the speed limit.

  9. Scoular

    The real risk

    In Queensland the statistics indicate that citizens are more likely to be killed by police than by terrorists.

    That may change of course but police everywhere have a long history of wanting more power and less to no scrutiny of their activities.

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