[ad] The service leader for Cloud is now in Australia. Secure, reliable cloud and managed hosting all backed by 24x7x365 Fanatical Support. Create your free account now.
Buy an Seagate Business Storage NAS for your chance to win a holiday
[ad] Purchase a selected Seagate Business Storage NAS to receive a $20 cash-back AND go into the draw to win a $1,000 Flight Centre voucher so you can holiday in the destination of your choice. T&Cs apply.
Great articles on other sites
- IBM accuses Qld govt of trying to ‘rewrite history’
- Newlease undergoes reverse takeover to score ASX listing
- Australia Post loses battle | The Australian
- Start-ups leap at Telstra's accelerator
- Labor won't hand over NBN advice to Turnbull
- Adelaide Uni on hiring blitz for tech transformation
- Human Services to cut 56 IT jobs
- Turnbull to release NBN review next week
- Canberra blitzes states with NBN take-up rates
- War on whistleblowers from Abbott, Turnbull as ICJ case arrives
How mobile and social media affect your Customer Experience strategy
[ad] How will the adoption of mobile devices and social media affect your Customer Experience strategy? Are you reaching your organisation's customers through these touch points? Click here to download a whitepaper by Fifth Quadrant examining consumer and business attitudes to these new contact channels.
50 things top IT pros need to know
[ad] This 18 page TechRepublic whitepaper explores 10 things you should know to become an epic IT manager, 40 other essential tips to advance your IT career and practical guidance for starting an IT consulting business. Click here to access the whitepaper.
Internet, News, Security - Written by Renai LeMay on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 17:02 - 10 Comments
Attorney-General rejects metadata warrants:
‘Law enforcement would grind to a halt’
news Australia’s Federal Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus has made the extraordinary declaration that Australian law enforcement in Australia “would grind to a halt” if police officers and other law enforcement agents were forced to apply for a warrant every time they wanted to access Australians’ telecommunications data.
Last week Budget Estimates hearing sessions conducted in Canberra heard that the Australian Federal Police had made 43,362 internal requests for so-called ‘metadata’ (data pertaining to the numbers, email addresses time, length and date involved in phone calls or emails, but not the content) over the past financial year. No warrant is required for these requests.
The revelations, combined with historical data tracking law enforcement and other Federal Government agency use of metadata without warrants and the revelations over the past week that the US-based National Security Agency has gained backdoor access into the data servers of major technology companies such as Apple, Google and Microsoft, has spurred calls by Australian political groups for a ban on warrantless interception of Australian telecommunications data.
For example, the Australian Greens this week noted that it would next week introduce legislation to strengthen regulation of data collection on Australians, returning “normal warrant procedures” to law enforcement agencies accessing peoples’ private data.
“This is the first step to winding back the kind of surveillance overreach revealed by the PRISM whistleblower,” Greens communications spokesperson and Senator Scott Ludlam said in a statement. “Law enforcement agencies – not including ASIO – made 293,501 requests for telecommunications data in 2011-12, without a warrant or any judicial oversight. Under the Telecommunications Interception and Access Act, that’s entirely legal.”
“Vast amounts of private data are being accessed – including the precise location of everyone who carries a smartphone – without any recourse to the courts. A law enforcement agency simply fills out a very basic form. My bill will return to the system where they will need a warrant.”
Similarly, the Wikileaks Party headed by Julian Assange issued a media release this week stating that if elected to the Senate, the party’s representatives would move to amend the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act so that all requests for access to data are subject to a warrant regime.
“In other words, security and police agencies will have to seek a warrant from a judicial officer- a full time member of the [Administrative Appeals Tribunal], a federal circuit judge or a federal court judge- before embarking on a data collection exercise,” the party said. “Further we would also seek to amend this Act so that there is a twice yearly tabling of information about the number of warrants applied for, the number of applications granted and the nature of those requests.”
However, speaking on the ABC’s 7:30 program last night, Federal Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus rejected the calls for warrants on telecommunications data to be re-introduced. “To require a warrant for every time, and it’s in the thousands, the mini thousands, of times that a law enforcement agency accesses this non contact telecommunications data would mean I think that law enforcement in Australia would grind to a halt,” Dreyfus said.
The Greens, the Wikileaks Party, the Pirate Party Australia, Electronic Frontiers Australia and many other organisations concerned with privacy and digital rights have signalled they are outraged by the NSA’s data collection activities, which may have given Australian agencies access to the data, and will be mirrored locally if the Federal Government’s plans to enact a data retention regime in Australia go ahead.
“Australians are also entitled to know if our security and police agencies are swapping or sharing data about Australians with overseas agencies. Again ASIO in particular should be compelled by law to table yearly a report on data sharing with overseas agencies,” the Wikileaks Party said this week. “Agencies like ASIO and the Federal Police must not be allowed to be superior to the community and the Wikileaks Party core principles of transparency and accountability mean that all Australians should have the right to know what these powerful agencies are doing.”
“As the NSA PRISM revelations show us it also telcos and companies such as Google that are cooperating with security agencies in invasions of privacy of customers. The WLP believes the Telecommunications Act should be amended to compel all providers of information to security and police agencies to file an annual notice containing information about the number of requests they received for data access and how much data has been provided in the previous 12 months. This notice would include information about data handed over to foreign agencies as well as domestic agencies.”
Ludlam said the globe was currently seeing “unprecedented surveillance overreach by the United States Government, and new revelations that this information is being covertly shared with the British authorities”.
“The Australian Government now needs to disclose the extent to which it has been given access to the PRISM system to spy on Australians, and the usual bland assurances about national security will no longer wash. When I introduce the Bill, I will be asking the government to answer questions about who knew about the PRISM program, how much data is shared, and whether the Australian Privacy Principles are meaningless for citizens and Parliamentarians.”
This week Australia’s Foreign Minister Bob Carr said that he “wouldn’t think” Australians had anything to be concerned about in relation to the NSA Internet spy scandal which engulfed the United States last week, despite the fact that the issue appears to exclusively relate to NSA access to foreigners’ data on US cloud computing servers.
And on 7:30, Dreyfus echoed Carr’s confidence. “We’ve got a very complex legal regime here in Australia and we expect there to be a respecting of Australian’s privacy by all other countries,” the Attorney-General said. “There is a clear, firm safeguards regime here in Australia and no Australian agency has used other than in accordance with the existing legal regime in Australia, no Australian agency has had access to information on Australians.”
Frankly I do not believe either Dreyfus or Carr have any idea even what Australia’s own intelligence agencies are doing or what data they have access to from the NSA in this area, let along what the NSA itself has stored on Australians. The pair’s bland insistence that Australians have nothing to fear is easily seen through as the shallow assurances of politicians out of their depth in a field which they have little knowledge of.
What could it possibly cost Carr to have inquired, as Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull already has, of the United States Government, what data it is keeping on Australians? What could it possibly cost Dreyfus to commit to investigating what data Australia’s law enforcement agencies have access to from the US? Nothing, in either case.
I continually find it impossible to understand why it’s only minority political groups such as the Greens, Wikileaks and the Pirate Party, which demonstrate a strong interest in protecting the privacy rights of Australians and protecting the over-reach of the growing surveillance state. One suspects that ministers like Dreyfus and Carr have long been going through a process of acclimatisation at the hands of law enforcement agencies and public servants — a process of socialisation which leads to them being unable to objectively differentiate real, government-sponsored threats to Australians’ privacy and security from normal law enforcement activities.
You want telecommunications data on someone? Get a warrant. When did that simple concept become so hard for law enforcement agencies and politicians to understand and accept? Probably, I suspect, when those same authorities realised how easy it appeared to conduct more and more policing activities from the comfort and safety of their office — and not out in the field.
Image credit: Office of Mark Dreyfus
Latest Delimiter 2.0 articles (subscriber content)
|Politicians from Australia’s major parties need to stop issuing ludicrous blanket pardons for the intelligence community’s ongoing misdemeanours and start applying a basic modicum of transparency and accountability to this important national security function.|
|The independent pro-fibre National Broadband Network movement is doing a far better job of promoting Labor’s Fibre to the Premises-based NBN policy than Labor itself. When is Labor going to wake from its slumber and start supporting this scrappy but energetic grassroots network of activists?|
|Ziggy Switkowski's first substantial public appearance since being appointed NBN Co chief executive has starkly demonstrated just how different he is from his predecessor, Mike Quigley, and just how strictly he will adhere to the guidelines which his patron, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, has set for him.|
|Australian technology companies have been virtually absent from the the nation’s public stockmarket over the past decade as the stigma of the dot com bust took its toll on investor confidence. But a clutch of new listings planned for the closing months of 2013 shows renewed interest in the sector and that local entrepreneurs are smelling money in the air once again.|
|NBN Co’s Strategic Review process gives the company an unmissable opportunity to re-evaluate the early decision to deploy its FTTP network primarily through Telstra’s underground ducts. The company and its new Coalition masters must now seriously consider deploying more fibre aerially on power poles in an effort to speed up its rollout substantially.|
|That moment which many Australian technologists fervently hoped for but never expected to see has come to pass: Simon Hackett has been appointed to the board of the National Broadband Network Company. But what questions should the Internode founder be asking NBN Co’s executive management team? Here’s five ideas to start with.|
|The rapid replacement of respected NBN Co chief operating officer Ralph Steffens with a Telstra executive who appears less experienced with fibre rollouts but better politically connected represents a key signal that NBN Co’s senior executive hiring process has now become completely politicised and is no longer independent from the Federal Government.|
Enterprise IT, Featured, News - Dec 9, 2013 11:35 - 0 Comments
More In Enterprise IT
- Harbour City Ferries goes Microsoft across the board
- Payroll disaster: Queensland sues IBM
- End of an era: Oracle Australia’s ‘safe hands’ leaves
- Qld launches whole of government IaaS panel
- Defence finally allows staff iPhones, iPads
News, Telecommunications - Dec 9, 2013 17:23 - 22 Comments
More In Telecommunications
- NBN Co still has 1Gbps on way
- Delimiter appeals Turnbull Blue Book censorship
- Final closure: TPG buys AAPT for $450m
- NBN FTTN analysis “devastating” for Coalition
- NBN Co internal FTTN analysis: Turnbull refuses to retract inaccurate claim
Industry, News, Startups - Dec 9, 2013 15:40 - 3 Comments
More In Industry
- The Australian IT sector needs a stronger voice
- Xbox One goes off with a bang … but will the PS4 launch eclipse it?
- It’s not just Freelancer: Aussie tech IPOs are back in general
- Freelancer’s IPO: A billion reasons to care
- Australian retailers online: Late to the party and much to do
Blog, Digital Rights, Gadgets - Dec 9, 2013 11:15 - 16 Comments
More In Digital Rights
- Censored: Appeal for AG’s Blue Book fails
- Senate to force TPP publication
- Global privacy group files formal ASD complaint
- Labor open to surveillance discussion
- Snowden an “American traitor”, says Australia’s Attorney-General