Ludlam tables anti-data retention petition


blog Greens Communications spokesperson Scott Ludlam has tabled a petition in the Senate compiled by the Pirate Party which contains almost 1,500 signatures opposing proposed changes to national security legislation collectively known as the ‘National Security Inquiry’. You can find the petition online here in PDF format, and in his statement Ludlam said:

“The Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence and Security Inquiry is considering potential reforms of National Security legislation and 98.9 per cent of the public submissions they’ve received are opposed to the unwarranted and dangerously vague data retention proposal.”

“In addition to the compelling arguments made in 5,463 public submissions, this petition forensically deconstructs the case for data retention and calls for the Senate to take a strong stand in the defence of civil liberties, privacy, and the presumption of innocence.

“The system of warrants, of judicial oversight and independence, and of due process – this system evolved over centuries and without it the term ‘liberal democracy’ becomes nothing more than a meaningless slogan.”

The Pirate Party added:

Pirate Party Secretary Brendan Molloy said, “The petitioners object to penalties for failing to provide computer passwords and near unrestricted interception of communications, as well as the appallingly short window of time provided by the Committee to make a submission, of which the Pirate Party campaigned for an extension.”

“The Pirate Party and the signatories to our petition believe that law enforcement agencies should be not be able to apply indiscriminate and wholesale surveillance to the Australian public. Data retention is fraught with danger. It is not a matter of if the data leaks, but when, as documents gained through freedom of information requests have reinforced.”

Like most Australians who know about the scheme, we fervently hope that the committe examining the national security reforms put forward by the Attorney-General’s Department reject most of them. We are particularly concerned about the provisions for forced decryption, powers for ASIO to break into innocent people’s computers on their way to those of suspects, and of course the whole data retention thing, which could see logs kept of data pertaining to all Australians emails and phone calls. Seems like the sort of activities most people wouldn’t want being carried out by their Government, wouldn’t you say?

Image credit: David Howe, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported licence


  1. But, but… we can trust them, surely? I mean, they just want a peek at my personal life so that must be okay? And I don’t do anything wrong, so there’s nothing to worry about – right?

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