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1 Dec 2012

Predatory Australian Government Spying On It's Population

From the Examiner here.
AUSTRALIAN law enforcement and government agencies have sharply increased their access without warrant to vast quantities of private telephone and internet data, prompting new calls for tighter controls on surveillance powers.
Government agencies accessed private telecommunications data and internet logs more than 300,000 times during criminal and revenue investigations in 2011-12, a 20 per cent increase on the level of surveillance activity in the year before.
Figures from the federal Attorney-General’s Department show that on average, these agencies obtained private data from telecommunications and internet service providers 5800 times every week.

And from the Globalist Report
Australian Government Now Spies on Its Citizens More than the US Government Does
The Australian Government has now been labelled as the most intrusive government in the western world.
It has been revealed that on a per-capita basis, the Australian government spies of its citizens more than any other western government.
In 2010-2011, more than 3,400 Australians had been spied on by more than 17 government law enforcement agencies. This includes state and federal police agencies, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) and Medicare.
The shocking truth is that these government agencies can access telephone and Internet data records without a warrant from a judge.
On a per capita basis, the Australian government is more than 18 times likely to intercept telephone calls than the United States government (Source: Sydney Morning Herald).

The rest of the Examiner report

The data available to government agencies under federal  law includes phone and internet account information, outwards and inwards call details, phone and internet access location data, and details of Internet Protocol addresses visited (though not the actual content of communications).

Data access is authorised by senior police officers or officials, rather than by a judicial warrant.

New South Wales Police were the biggest users of telecommunications data, with 103,824 access authorisations in 2011-12. Victoria Police accessed data 67,173 times in the same period, while the Australian Federal Police did so 23,001 times.

Victoria Police has said that the increased data access could be attributed to ‘‘investigator knowledge becom[ing] more widely known, technology changes and auto processing [that has] simplified the process’’.

Federal government agencies using telecommunications data include the Australian Crime Commission, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, the Australian Tax Office, numerous government departments, Medicare, Centrelink and Australia Post.

It is also used by all state police and anti-corruption bodies and a growing number of state government departments and  agencies,  including the Victorian Department of Primary Industries, the Victorian Taxi Directorate and WorkSafe Victoria.

Data is also accessed by the RSPCA in Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania, and by local governments, including Wyndham City Council in Melbourne’s west. The RSPCA has investigative powers in respect of animal cruelty.

‘‘This is the personal data of hundreds of thousands, indeed millions of Australians, and it seems that just about anyone in government can get it,’’ said Australian Greens senator Scott Ludlam.

He said the increase in access authorisations demonstrated the current data access regime was ‘‘out of control’’ and amounted to the framework for a ‘‘surveillance state’’.

‘‘There can’t be much in the way of working checks and balances if we have a 20 per cent surge in activity in one year, and more than 300,000 authorisations.’’

Statistics for access by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation are security classified and not published.

The federal government’s proposals for a further expansion of law enforcement access to telecommunications data, including a minimum two-year data retention standard for phone and internet providers, have generated public debate and controversy.

However, Attorney-General Nicola Roxon did not issue any media release to accompany her department’s report, which was tabled in Parliament without debate on Thursday, the final parliamentary sitting day for the year.

A spokesperson for Ms Roxon said ‘‘these new statistics show telephone interception and surveillance powers are playing an even greater role for police so they can successfully pursue kidnappers, murderers and organised criminals’’.

‘‘Parliament’s intelligence committee is currently reviewing telephone interception and surveillance powers to ensure police can stay one step in front of criminals, while also having have the right checks and balances to ensure that those who enforce our national security laws do so responsibly.’’ Senator Ludlam called for tighter controls on access to personal data, including a requirement for warrants to be issued by an independent authority.

‘‘It’s incumbent on the Parliament’s national security inquiry to recommend some form of warrant authorisation be introduced, and that there be a review and reduction of the government agencies that can access the personal communications data of millions of Australians.’’
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However, the latest statistics also show a 7.7per cent jump in the number of telecommunications interception warrants issued to law enforcement agencies, with 3755 phone taps being authorised in 2011-12.


■ Australian Crime Commission
■ Government departments including the Tax Office, Medicare, Centrelink, Australia Post
■ Statistics for access by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation are security classified and not published

■ State police and anti-corruption bodies
■ Government departments including the Victorian Taxi Directorate, Worksafe
■ RSPCA in Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania
■ Local governments including Wyndham City Council in Melbourne’s west

The rest of the Globalist report
Even more disturbing, these government agencies accessed telephone and Internet data records an astonishingly 250,000 times without even recording why and when these intercepts had taken place.
A representative of the Australian Federal Police, Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan, claimed on Australian national television that this alarming level of spying is ok because:
    There is more accountability in Australia then in the United States of America.
    The Australian Federal Police has better relationships with Australian telecommunication companies.
    Australian telecommunication companies allow government agencies more access to personal data.
    People are only spied on when the matter is considered serious.
What Neil Gaughan failed to mention was that the power to grant warrants was taken away from judges and given to the administrative appeals tribunal, making it easier to obtain warrants.
In reply to Neil Gaughan, Cameron Murphy from the NSW Council of Civil Liberties was quoted as saying:
    Only fifteen warrants to intercept telephone and internet data records were ordered by Judges in 2011
This therefore means that the remaining 3,473 warrants issued to spy on Australians had been issued by members of the administrative appeals tribunal, an unethical organisation that is composed of private citizens who are appointed by the government.
Cameron Murphy from the NSW Council of Civil Liberties also made a valid observation that:
    Police, and other law enforcement agencies can (at any time) retrieve the data they have gathered to work out where you have been, where you have made a call from and who you have called
To highlight how far down the rabbit hole the Australian Government has fallen, the latest annual report from ASIO (Australian Security Intelligence Organisation) highlighted that it completed more than 2,900 intelligence reports, 575 reports on threats from the Arab spring, G20 Summit in Korea and Commonwealth Games in New Delhi and various reports on the implication of Osama Bin Laden’s death for Australia.
Considering Australia’s population is only around 22 million, why is there such a blatant need to invade the privacy of ordinary Australians on such a grand scale?
The high probability that law-abiding Aussies are being spied on is no surprise. Since 2005, the workforce of ASIO has increased by a whopping 62%.
Even more disturbing than the number of telephone intercepts in Australia and the size of ASIO is the fact that Australia’s law enforcement agencies claim that someone committing an act of terrorism could be someone who “destroy(s) trust and to spread(s) fear and paranoia”.
How many Alternative News Blogger’s fall into this category? Who knows, maybe the Globalist Report is being monitored by ASIO.
Unfortunately, how this data has been abused and how this data has been used will only be known in 20 years, as this is the prescribed period an organisation like ASIO can keep secret their illegal activities.
Therefore, if the Australian Government has the willingness to commit such violations, then how much more willing must organisations like the United Nations be to limit the right to privacy of everyone else?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Australians' have a legal obligation to disobey any and all repugnant quasi laws and the unlawful illegitimate government we find lording over us!!!!