• Great articles on other sites
  • RSS Great articles on other sites

  • News, Telecommunications - Written by on Tuesday, January 24, 2012 11:58 - 1 Comment

    ISP data retention still an issue, Ludlam warns

    news Greens Senator Scott Ludlam has warned that a secretive proposal — known as ‘data retention’ — by the Attorney-General’s Department to force internet service providers to store a wealth of information pertaining to Australians’ emails and telephone calls is still an issue, with the public needing to remain vigilant on how the Government handles Internet surveillance.

    The proposal — known popularly as ‘OzLog’ — first came to light in June 2010, when AGD confirmed it had been examining the European Directive on Data Retention (PDF) to consider whether it would be beneficial for Australia to adopt a similar regime. The directive requires telcos to record data such as the source, destination and timing of all emails and telephone calls – even including internet telephony.

    In August the Attorney-General’s Department confirmed to iTNews that it was still considering the introduction of a data retention regime separately from the sort of watered down data ‘preservation’ rules being introduced in new cybercrime legislation. Delimiter has this week filed a Freedom of Information request with the Attorney-General’s Department in an effort to ascertain the precise current state of the data retention proposal.

    Speaking at Electronic Frontiers Australia’s ‘War on the Internet’ event on Saturday in Melbourne (full video available online here), Ludlam, who is the Communications Spokesperson for the Greens, said much of the thinking around the data retention proposal had been integrated into new cybercrime legislation introduced in mid-2011.

    Ludlam said the proposal had been narrowed down to a degree to which most people would find ‘reasonable’, in that law enforcement agencies could, for example, request ISPs to keep all available data on people suspected of committing major crimes such as terrorism — a technique he described as “hold that person’s everything, until we tell you not to any more”.

    However, the Greens Senator warned, that cybercrime legislation could “mutate” into something completely different. “Maybe let’s trap all the data of these categories of people,” he said, appearing to refer to the political activist community, many members of whom had gathered at the Melbourne event. “Or these postcodes of people.”

    “We know that that agenda is there,” Ludlam said, referring to the potential to “broaden out” the applications of the data retention system. “And it’s going to take sustained work to prevent that from happening. Once these systems and structures are in place, they are abused, almost by definition.”

    Ludlam highlighted a Sydney Morning Herald article published several weeks ago which revealed that the Federal Resources and Energy Minister, Martin Ferguson, had secretly pushed for increased surveillance by police of environmental activists who had been protesting peacefully at coal-fired power stations and coal export facilities, with some of the work being carried out by a private contractor, the National Open Source Intelligence Centre (NOSIC).

    The Greens Senator said his party would be filing freedom of information requests with the Government to find out why it thought it was appropriate, “at taxpayer’s expense, to surveil” activists who were legitimately drumming up interest in the environment. Ludlam said he presumed the Government was also tracking animal rights and anti-nuclear campaigners as well.

    Hacker luminary Jacob Appelbaum, who also spoke at the event, said data retention weakened the whole of society as such systems would eventually be compromised by criminals both in Australia and internationally. With data retention, authorities could “retroactively police the population,” he acknowledged.

    However, once a database like that existed, he said, that database would be stolen, leading to a point where criminals would find it very easy to commit crimes because they would be able to generate a precise pattern of people’s personal movements from the data — for example, “knowing where a car is regularly parked so you can steal it”.

    Appelbaum encouraged Australian telecommunications engineers to find the points in their networks where law enforcement officials were able to connect to conduct surveillance such as wire tapping and disclose those points to the public. “Find those, and expose them. Tell journalists. Tell MPs like this guy over here,” he said, pointing at Ludlam. Ludlam highlighted the fact that it was only through the efforts of such public spirited individuals — which leaked the proposal to the media — that the data retention proposal had come to light in the first place.

    Ludlam also warned of the potential for a reshuffle of cybercrime resources within the Federal Government to lead to dangerous outcomes in the area. In late December, a new cybersecurity unit was quietly formed within the Prime Minister’s Department, although the Government has not yet clarified what its responsibilities will be.

    “We have a major restructure that just occurred in the commonwealth — a super-portfolio, drawn together in the Prime Minister’s office from fragments in Defence, Foreign Affairs, Communications, some presumably copyright stuff and commercial stuff that has all come together,” Ludlam said. “… really most of that sat in the former Attorney-General’s Office … [it was] picked up and moved to the PM’s office. And that’s important. We are getting a cyber-safety strategy at some point this year. That’s going to be very important to watchdog to watch how they’re thinking and what they’re doing, because all kinds of sneaky and nasty agendas are going to creep into that thing.”

    Image credit: Still taken from EFA video broadcast of the War on the Internet event

    submit to reddit

    1 Comment

    You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

    1. Loke Rundt
      Posted 05/02/2012 at 2:31 pm | Permalink |

      *yawn* as consumers, we abdicate too much responsibility and put it on our ISP’s and corporations to keep data private. The democratizing of the web means that there is open source, free options accessible to end users.

      gpg4win if you’re still one of those with a Microsoft machine (secure your email)
      TrueCrypt (secure your hard drive)
      Pidgin with OTR option (secure your chats/skype calls)

      i2p
      tor
      freenet
      cjdns

      These people we laughingly call “the authorities” are moot. They are incapable of realizing their own obsoleteness. Democracy and freedom are not protected or enforced by “representatives”. . .those “representatives” are bought and paid for.

      It’s a old joke, and it’s not funny anymore. And it’s getting hella expensive




    Get our 'Best of the Week' newsletter on Fridays

    Just the most important stories, one email a week.

    Email address:


  • Enterprise IT stories

    • Super funds close to dumping $250m IT revamp facepalm2

      If you have even a skin deep awareness of the structure of Australia’s superannuation industry, you’ll be aware that much of the underlying infrastructure used by many of the nation’s major funds is provided by a centralised group, Superpartners. One of the group’s main projects in recent years has been to dramatically update and modernise its IT platform — its version of a core banking platform overhaul. Unfortunately, the $250 million project has not precisely been going well.

    • Qld’s Grant joins analyst firm IBRS peter-grant

      This week it emerged that Peter Grant, the two-time former Queensland Whole of Government CIO (pictured), has joined well-regarded analyst firm Intelligent Business Research Services (IBRS). We’ve long had a high regard for IBRS, and so it’s fantastic to see such an experienced executive join its ranks.

    • Westpac dumps desk phones for Samsung Android mobiles samsung-galaxy-ace-3

      The era of troublesome desk phones tied to physical locations is gradually coming to an end in many workplaces, with mobile phones becoming increasingly popular as organisations’ main method of voice telecommunications. But some groups are more advanced than others when it comes to adoption of the trend. One of those is Westpac.

    • Ministers’ cloud approval lasted just a year reverse

      Remember how twelve months ago, the Federal Government released a new cloud computing security and privacy directive which required departments and agencies to explicitly acquire the approval of the Attorney-General and the relevant portfolio minister before government data containing private information could be stored in offshore facilities? Remember how the policy was strongly criticised by Microsoft, Government CIOs and Delimiter? Well, it looks like the policy is about to be reversed.

    • WA Govt can’t fund school IT upgrades oops key

      In news from The Department of Disturbing Facts, iTNews revealed late last week that Western Australia’s Department of Education has run out of money halfway through the deployment of new fundamental IT infrastructure to the state’s schools.

    • Turnbull outlines Govt ICT vision turnbull-5

      Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has published an extensive article arguing that the Federal Government needed to do a better job of connecting with Australians via digital channels and that public sector IT projects needn’t cost the huge amounts that some have in the past.

    • NZ Govt pushes hard into cloud zealand

      New Zealand’s national Government announced a whole of government contract this morning for what it terms ‘Office Productivity as a Service’ services. This includes email and calendaring services, as well as file-sharing, mobility, instant messaging and collaboration services. The contract complements two existing contracts — Desktop as a Service and Enterprise Content Management as a Service.

    • CommBank reveals Harte’s replacement whiteing

      The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has promoted an internal executive who joined the bank in September after a lengthy career at petroleum giant VP and IT services group Accenture to replace its outgoing chief information officer Michael Harte, who announced in early May that he would leave the bank.

    • Jeff Smith quits Suncorp for IBM jeffsmith4

      Second-tier Australian bank and financial services group Suncorp today announced that its long-serving top technology executive Jeff Smith would leave to take up a senior role with IBM in the United States, in an announcement which marks the end of an era for the nation’s banking IT sector.

    • Small business missing the mobile, social, cloud revolution iphone-stock

      Most companies that live and breathe the online revolution are not tech startups, but smart smaller firms that use online tools to run their core business better: to cut costs, reach customers and suppliers, innovate and get more control. Many others, however, are falling behind, according to a new Grattan Institute discussion paper.

  • Blog, Enterprise IT - Jul 5, 2014 13:53 - 0 Comments

    Super funds close to dumping $250m IT revamp

    More In Enterprise IT


    Blog, Telecommunications - Jul 5, 2014 12:12 - 0 Comments

    What should the ACCC’s role be in guiding infrastructure spending?

    More In Telecommunications


    Analysis, Industry, Internet - Jun 23, 2014 10:33 - 0 Comments

    ‘Google Schmoogle’ – how Yellow Pages got it so wrong

    More In Industry


    Blog, Digital Rights - Jun 30, 2014 22:24 - 0 Comments

    Will Netflix launch in Australia, or not?

    More In Digital Rights