If you've been following international news overnight, you're probably aware that Islamic State has released a large amount of data pertaining to US military personnel. This morning, the Federal Government confirmed that a number of Australian Defence personnel and one Victorian MP had had their details included as part of the leak.

If you're a regular user of 4chan, then you're probably aware that the Internet board is notorious for the number of Internet subcultures and memes it has created. What you probably wouldn't expect to find on 4chan is classified Department of Defence documents.

Own an Apple device, use the vendor's iCloud online synching service but haven't been able to get access to one or more of your devices this week? Congratulations: You've fallen prey to what are probably a bunch of Internet script kiddies attempting to ransom your data for a hefty fee. ZDNet has a solid local story on the phenomenon, which so far (weirdly) appears localised to Australia.

The Australian Federal Police this morning revealed it had arrested two Australian men who it alleged were members of the loose-knit confederation of Internet activists who self-organise under the banner "Anonymous", claiming that the pair were involved in "a campaign targeting Australian and international websites".

In a surprising move, a US District Court has charged five members of the Chinese military with hacking six US companies to obtain commercial secrets over the last eight years. The move has been denounced by the Chinese government and the US Ambassador has been called to Beijing as a result.

Picked up a copy of the 'Blackshades' remote administration tool recently? You may be on the FBI's target list. The Wall Street Journal reports in the US over the weekend that US authorities have worked with law enforcement authorities in a range of countries to raid the homes of those who have been using the software.

Remember how the US Government made such as a huge song and dance about the claimed security implications to buying networking equipment from Chinese vendor Huawei? Remember how the Australian Government subsequently blacklisted Huawei from selling its hardware to the National Broadband Network Company? Well, it turns out that this was squarely a case of the pot calling the kettle black. New revelations coming out of journalist Glenn Greenwald, who has access to the National Security Agency treasure trove of whistleblower Edward Snowden, makes it very clear that the NSA has been doing the same thing with US networking equipment vendors.

The recently released Commission of Audit report recommends that the Australian government needs to become “digital by default”. The continued shift to digital service delivery is intended to reduce costs, improve quality of service and provide greater transparency. But it will also open up new vulnerabilities to cyber attacks that could be used to access secure and confidential data, compromise the integrity of trusted authorities and disrupt critical services.

The Commonwealth Bank's IT division has suffered something of a nightmare 24 hours, with a catastrophic internal IT outage taking down multiple systems and resulting in physical branches being offline, and the bank separately suffering public opprobrium stemming from contradictory statements it made with respect to potential vulnerabilities stemming from the Heartbleed OpenSSL bug.

A 21-year-old man from the rural Queensland town of Kingaroy has been charged with hacking and fraud offences following the alleged hacking of a US based online gaming developer’s computer network, the Queensland Police today.

A move by the Greens to set up a Senate inquiry into the potential reform of Australia's surveillance laws appears to have opened a giant Pandora's Box of debate about the issue, with Australian law enforcement agencies using the process to demand massively increased electronic surveillance rights, including data retention of users' communications.

Australia’s law enforcement agencies have for some time now been demonstrating their interest in using remotely controlled drones to tackle crime. The military already uses them, South Australia’s police force went to market for a whole bunch last November, and Queensland Police is also keen on the technology. But what the law may not have quite anticipated is the degree to which criminals are also interested in using drones for their own, not quite as legal purposes.

A very interesting article on Techworld last week highlights the fact that IT security as a service is currently exploding in Australia, with smarter, sleeker, cloud-based alternatives to the old models coming to the fold.

news The Australian Privacy Foundation has written to the South Australian Premier and Leader of the Opposition expressing strong concern about what it said...

A new poll conducted by Essential Media has shown that 80 percent of Australians disapprove of the Government being able to access Australians' phone and Internet records without a warrant, in research which is already being hailed as "vindication" for campaigns against government intrusion into private residents' telecommunications.

I'm sure you've been wondering (as many people have) just how Australia's premiere electronic surveillance agency Australian Signals Directorate was able to gain access to the telephone data of high-ranking Indonesian officials in that country's government. Well, wonder no more. According to The Guardian, the agency has a massive level of access to Indonesia's telco networks.

Assistant Minister for Defence Stuart Robert yesterday announced a new alliance between the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) and IBM to conduct research in a range of what the pair described as "high-end defence technologies".

Global technology giant Microsoft has definitively told Australia's Federal Parliament that it does not have a back door in its software that would allow the company to provide access to the IT infrastructure of the Parliament, which would include private files and emails held by Members of Parliament, Senators and their staff.

Public Transport Victoria has reportedly reported a 16-year-old Melbourne schoolboy to Victoria Police for merely informing it of substantial security holes in its IT infrastructure.

Australia's peak electronic intelligence agency offered to share detailed information collected about ordinary Australian citizens with its major intelligence partners, the Guardian reported this morning, in moves that at least one high-profile lawyer says may have breached Australian law.

An audit of departments and agencies within the Victorian Government has found many don't have sufficient business continuity/disaster recovery facilities to keep them operating in the event of a major disaster, with the situation exacerbated by the lack of capability found at IT shared services agency CenITex.

An audit of the Victorian Government's IT security defences and ability to respond to major cyber-attacks has found it woefully unprepared, with its IT systems suffering over 100 "serious breaches" and the state unprepared for any serious online attack.

When Greens Communications spokesperson Scott Ludlam said in January 2012 that he suspected law enforcement agencies of bugging his mobile phone, we criticised the Senator for making the claim without providing evidence of the claimed nefarious activity. But according to the ABC, the Australian Federal Police admitted in a Senate Estimates session this week that it had monitored various MPs’ communications.

You would hope, you would really hope, that a major city such as Brisbane, which is about to host the G20 group of twenty global finance ministers and central bank governors, would be in the practice of ensuring that the traffic management systems which govern the operation of systems such as stoplights would be secure from attack. But not so.

In another episode of the ongoing rollercoaster of a story that is Bitcoin, about 4,100 of them have been stolen from an online bitcoin wallet site inputs.io. What makes this particular story more interesting is the fact that the person behind the site inputs.io is allegedly an 18 year old Australian going by the alias “TradeFortress” living in Hornsby, NSW.

Revelations about Australia’s alleged spy network in Asia and listening posts in our embassies across the Pacific might be diplomatically awkward. But it doesn’t mean intelligence agencies have “gone rogue”.

According to massive Italian newspaper Corrierre della Sera, through the Daily Telegraph in Australia (we recommend you click here for the Daily Telegraph’s version, as it’s not in Italian), at the recent G20 Summit in Russia, the country gave G20 leaders, including then-Foreign Minister Bob Carr, USB keys which included bugging functionality

Are you a journalist or a politician? Do you use your telephone to have private conversations about sensitive information? You do? That seems logical, given the position that you're in. Well, you may want to have a re-think about just how private that avenue of communication is, given that the Australian Federal Police recently revealed it occasionally examines the call logs of MPs and journalists (without their knowledge) in an attempt to track down whistleblowers or leakers within the Government.

According to a wide-ranging expose on Palantir Technologies published by Crikey, it has become clear that the firm is rapidly growing its operations down under.

Two documents released this week highlight divergent views among the community and politicians.

Documents obtained by the ABC under Freedom of Information laws have shown that then-Labor Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus received a secret briefing on the US National Security Agency's controversial PRISM surveillance program several months before the program was outed by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Technology-focused Greens politician Scott Ludlam has formally lost his Senate seat in Western Australia, the Australian Electoral Commission confirmed today, in a move which will be interpreted as a substantial blow to the digital rights movement in Australia.

Remember how international media outlets The Guardian, The New York Times and ProPublica revealed last week that the US National Security Agency had developed the ability to break some commonly used forms of Internet encryption? Scary, huh? Well, what you may not have realised is that Australia’s own intelligence agencies reportedly have access to the technology.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, new revelations coming out of US whistleblower Edwards Snowden have revealed that the Australian Signals Directorate habitually taps undersea fibre-optic cables from Australia.

The Australian Greens has unveiled a broad digital rights and privacy policy aimed at stopping what the party this week week described as "surveillance overreach" by Australian and international law enforcement initiatives, as both Labor and the Coalition continue to ignore the area, refusing to release policies to deal with digital rights.

In this election campaign the major parties are carefully dancing round an elephant in the ballroom. The elephant is big and a bit frightening. Its name is privacy policy.

We’ve had #stopthenotes, #suppositories, and #sexappeal to keep us amused, but since the election campaign period began there has been very limited reporting in the mainstream media (MSM) of the electoral relevance of the digital rights issues faced by Australian citizens.

Australia's Federal Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus has made an extraordinary public statement that former CIA and NSA operative Edward Snowden and accused WikiLeaks collaborator Bradley Manning are not technically "whistleblowers", claiming that the information they had released publicly related to no wrongdoing by government agencies.

XKeyscore is an online surveillance tool run by America’s National Security Agency (NSA) that allows analysts to search contents of chats, emails and browsing histories without warrants. Australian experts respond in this article to the issue.

The Federal Government has admitted it has as of yet taken no action to improve the transparency and accountability of the unilateral use by individual departments and agencies of an obscure section of the Telecommunications Act to force telcos and ISPs to block websites suspected of conducting illegal activities.

Bradley Manning’s conviction for espionage marks the closing stages in the US Army private’s personal battle. Yet for Julian Assange, founder of whistleblower website WikiLeaks and Australian Senate candidate, Manning is but a casualty in a much grander mission.

If someone has some direct evidence that Huawei has been spying for the Chinese Government, then let them come forward with that evidence. So far all we have is hearsay and innuendo. And that is not enough, as Huawei and China’s Ambassador to Australia have clearly stated, when we’re talking about billion dollar contracts and the reputation of one of the world’s largest technology vendors. As Huawei has said, on this issue, “put up, or shut up”.

The Federal Attorney-General's Department has refused to release any documents relating to the development of controversial data retention legislation, in a move that follows a pattern of behaviour from the department that has led some onlookers to allege "a pattern of secrecy" at the organisation.

Some five months ago, Pirate Party Australia founder Rodney Serkowski made what many would consider to be a fairly standard Freedom of Information request with the Australian Federal Police, relating to data collected through social media channels. The request has been denied in its entirety.

Telstra signed a secret agreement a decade ago with US Government agencies such as the FBI and the Department of Justice that provided American law enforcement and national security organisations with an extremely broad level of access to all of the telco's telecommunications passing in and out of the US, it was revealed late last week.

Global protests against the PRISM surveillance program operated by the Unites States' National Security Agency are slated to spread to Australia this Saturday, with a broad coalition of political and digital rights groups banding together to hold actions in major cities around Australia from lunchtime.

According to iTNews, security vendor Symantec has dumped what little Australian technical support presence it had, offshoring the jobs overseas.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has published the full text of its official notices to telcos requesting they block websites suspected of providing fraudulent financial information, with the documents revealing that both the frequency and breadth of the agency's blocking activities has increased since they began 12 months ago.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has on multiple occasions over the past month, involving multiple parties, delayed responding to Freedom of Information requests seeking documents relating to its controversial decision to start unilaterally blocking websites it suspects of fraudulent activity.

Yesterday it was widely reported that the Federal Government had 'shelved' its data retention plans, walking away from the controversial proposal to monitor all Australians' communications. But the reality is the complete opposite: Data retention is still being actively considered as a policy and will shortly return to plague Australia once again.

The Labor Federal Government has flatly rejected legislation introduced this week that would see Australian law enforcement agencies blocked from obtaining access to telecommunications records without a warrant, stating that such regulations would "critically impede national security and law enforcement investigations".

For those of you wondering just how much access the Australian Government has access to from the US Government's controversial PRISM spying program? Wonder no more. According to The Age, it's bucketloads -- enough that the Government has had to build a new datacentre to contain it.

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.

Australia's Foreign Minister Bob Carr said over the weekend 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.

Several of Australia's most high-profile politicians in the telecommunications portfolio have publicly demanded answers from the governments of the United States and Australia in the wake of news that the US National Security Agency had obtained open access to private data held by US technology giants such as Google, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft.

The Federal Government has acknowledged that a third agency, beyond ASIC and the Australian Federal Police, has been using the Telecommunications Act to unilaterally block certain websites, with bureaucrats refusing to disclose which agency was involved, apart from stating that the issue was "a national security matter".

One of the top public servants involved in advising on national Australian cyber-security policy has admitted the division she helps lead was "not familiar" with the decade-old Tor software frequently used by activists and those seeking secure communications to protect their anonymity when using the Internet.

Those of you who work in the IT security field might want to pay attention to this. If your organisation suffers a major data breach, you're now going to be required to tell affected stakeholders about it.

Crikey columnist Bernard Keane has developed a nasty habit for pouring cold water all over ‘cybersecurity’ experts and government spin-doctors, who have constantly hyped-up perceived IT security dangers and Internet attacks into the kind of “cyberwar scenario that IT security vendors have wet dreams over. We’re sure ASIO, the Defence Signals Directorate and a bunch of other G-Men in black will be over shortly to arrange Keane’s compulsory education campaign.

Those of you with long memories will recall that the Department of Defence’s Defence Signals Directorate division, which is tasked with certifying technology for use in the Australian Government, has long had an aversion to Android. Windows- and BlackBerry-based mobile devices have long found favour with the DSD, and in April 2012 the agency even added (shock!) Apple’s iOS operating system, but for years Android has sat on the outer, leaving those public servants and politicians interested in the Android operating system out in the cold. Well, late yesterday news arrived that Samsung, at least, may be on the verge of getting access to the inner circle.

To the extent that you still trust Four Corners' reporting on the IT security scene, the program last night made a somewhat audacious claim: That international interests had successfully stolen the blueprints for the new Canberra headquarters of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO).

According to Computerworld, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has asked his department what can be done to provide more transparency around the government use of Section 313 notices under the Telecommunications Act (you know, the ones which financial regulator ASIC recently used to unilaterally block a cluster of websites).

It seems that the move by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission to unilaterally decide to start blocking websites it deems to have illegal material has outraged basically everyone with any interest in the Internet in Australia. Perhaps one of the most outraged is Chris Berg, a research fellow with the Institute of Public Affairs, a long-time advocate for free speech, and, dare we say it, a thorn in the side of powerful government authorities exceeding their mandate.

Not all of the hype around IT security can be believed at the moment — several times when your writer has investigated so-called ‘hacking’ attacks in recent months, we’ve found only low-level script-kiddie-type of behaviour at the bottom of the situation. However, there definitely are some serious break-ins around, as chronicled in this somewhat disturbing article published in late April by citizen journalism site The Citizen.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission revealed tonight that it had in fact blocked "numerous" websites over the past nine months which it suspected contained illegal material, as fears about the extent of the agency's covert Internet filtering scheme continue to grow.

It hasn’t been a good few years for the nation’s biggest telco Telstra when it comes to data breaches. It almost seems like every three to four months, there’s a new chunk of Telstra’s customer data leaked onto the public Internet, and the company has to make yet another apology to those affected, as well as kicking off another ‘review’ of its systems.

The Federal Government has confirmed its financial regulator has started requiring Australian Internet service providers to block websites suspected of providing fraudulent financial opportunities, in a move which appears to also open the door for other government agencies to unilaterally block sites they deem questionable in their own portfolios.

Remember how the Australian Federal Police’s high-tech crime unit held a high-profile national press conference in late April to announce that they had charged a 24-year-old Australian man with hacking offences? Well, it was revealed today that the AFP has basically charged the man with … almost nothing.

According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, it appears that the limited ISP-based filter which several of Australia’s major ISPs (Telstra, Optus and Vodafone so far) have implemented with the assistance of the Australian Federal Police may have suffered a massive false positive event in early April and wrongly blocked some 1,200 websites, including community group the Melbourne Free University.

News of the LivingSocial breach coincides with debate within the privacy and information technology communities about Commonwealth proposals for data-breach legislation.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has poured cold water on a series of articles by the Financial Review newspaper last week which claimed a series of "cyber-attacks" had successfully targeted the government agency, with the ABS stating that its systems had never been breached.

A high-profile takedown is sure to send shockwaves through the hacker community after the Australian Federal Police arrested a 24-year-old IT worker on a variety of charges that could land him up to 12 years in jail.

It’s been hailed as the vanguard of wearable computing, derided as a plaything of perverts and stalkers, and in a Seattle bar even though it’s not broadly available in the wild and is still untold months from release. No doubt about Google Glass is already brewing a firestorm of controversy – and its possibilities for public snooping have proved worrying enough to Australia’s privacy watchdog that he has requested a meeting with Google to discuss its implications.

It’s only been two weeks since Facebook launched its home-screen replacement for Android phones, and hours since it was launched in the UK. But as privacy advocates wrestle with the ever-increasing efforts of Web giants bent on collecting and utilising personal information to line their own pockets, some in the security community are calling for companies to ban Facebook Home for the myriad and untested security vulnerabilities they fear may be hiding inside it – as well as the usual concerns over Facebook’s (often-questioned) privacy.

The Australian Federal Police said on Friday afternoon that a 17-year-old youth suspected of being a member of the rogue Internet activist collective 'Anonymous' had appeared in Parramatta Children's Court on charges related to "unauthorised access to computer data".

The ABC reports that a high-roller gambler has scammed Melbourne's Crown Casino of $32 million, with what looks to be the assistance of the casino's own in-house surveillance system.

You’ll have seen the fallout this week regarding a so-called “spearphishing” attack on the Reserve Bank of Australia in 2011. As with most media reports on cyber-attacks, this one appears to have been overhyped. So what really happened?

We don’t pretend to know what goes on in the minds of journalists who work for News Ltd, but sometimes some really quite unexpected views appear in their articles. A perfect example is this (paywalled) article by Greg Sheridan, Foreign Editor of News Ltd newspaper The Australian backing Labor’s extremely controversial data retention scheme.

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’.

The ABC has confirmed that one of its websites has been hacked following the airing earlier this month of an interview held by Lateline with anti-Islam campaigner Geert Wilders.

A major new study of the IT security habits and experiences of Australian organisations conducted by government group CERT Australia has found the majority did not suffer an IT security incident over the past 12 months, and those that did mainly suffered minor breaches such as the theft of a laptop of smartphone.

We’re constantly hearing more and more about how “cyber” security is the next big bad, but concrete examples of how Australian Government infrastructure has been broken into are still thin on the ground. One incident to pop up last week has been what appears to be a relatively minor breach of an Australian Taxation Office portal through the logins of a number of tax agents.

Crikey correspondent Bernard Keane has published an extensive, highly referenced article debunking eleven recent “cyber” attacks, in response to Prime Minister Julia Gillard's spate of announcements in the area yesterday and today.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard this morning announced that the Federal Government would spend $1.46 billion through to 2020 on strengthening what she described as its “cyber security” capabilities, including establishing a dedicated Australian Cyber Security Centre.

It hasn't been a good few weeks for university IT security in Australia, with the Universities of Western Sydney and New South Wales both being broken into.

The Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security's report on the package of National Security Inquiry reforms has already been delayed to the extent that it is unlikely that any associated legislation will reach Parliament before the next Federal Election.

Evidence has emerged that the Federal Attorney-General’s Department may have breached Freedom of Information regulations in delaying the release of documents which will enhance the transparency of its discussions with the telecommunications industry over the controversial National Security Inquiry proposal.

According to media reports, a single hacker from the Anonymous group, calling himself Darwinare, released online the names, birthdays and passwords of 20,000 staff and students from a university database at the Australian Defence Force Academy.

The ongoing National Security Inquiry has dislodged quite a few stones from the bottom of the paranoia well. One aspect that took my interest in particular is the relationship between data retention and mobile or cellular telephone data.

Forget Black Hat in Las Vegas. Australia’s Ruxcon is where it’s at, complete with public transport ticketing hacks and shadow figures involved in advanced network security exercises.

As we move forward in this era of online transactions and social media, there’s a need for security and privacy legislation to keep pace. Most importantly, there’s a need for Australians to feel confident that their personal information is being kept safe by those we entrust it to.

In a move which has been debated and rumoured within the IT security industry for years, the Federal Government this week confirmed it would seek public opinion on whether it should force organisations to disclose when their databases containing personal information had been broken into by hackers – or even inadvertently.

The Australian Federal Police has acknowledged that it sent one of its most senior officers to visit other law enforcement jurisdictions around Australia and encourage them to make submissions supporting the controversial data retention and surveillance proposal currently being discussed in Federal Parliament.

Australia’s two major sides of politics have combined to block a Senate order moved by the Greens which would have forced the Attorney-General’s Department to produce key documents it is holding regarding advice it had received pertaining to the controversial data retention and surveillance scheme it is pushing.

Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has likened the Federal Government’s controversial data retention and surveillance plan to the mandatory Internet filtering project which remains official policy of the Federal Government, despite the fact that Labor’s attempt to introduce it several years ago was met with near-universal political and popular opposition.

The Federal Attorney-General’s Department has rejected a request by the Pirate Party of Australia to release draft legislation associated with the Government’s controversial data retention and surveillance proposal, with the department stating that public interest factors did not outweigh the need to keep the material private as it was still being deliberated on.

The Australian branch of global search giant Google has written to the nation’s Privacy Commissioner admitting that it had found yet more examples of undeleted data which its Street View cards had collected over the past several years as they brushed past Australian Wi-Fi networks, in what marks Google’s third attempt so far to delete the illicit data it collected.

Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has broken his silence regarding the Fedeal Government's controversial data retention and surveillance package, declaring that he has "grave misgivings" about a project which he feels "seems to be heading in precisely the wrong direction".

Critics of Federal Government's proposed data retention and surveillance scheme have labelled suggestions by police that Australians' telecommunications data could be retained indefinitely as "appalling", and pointed out that there is very little likelihood of political support for such a scheme.

Sydney Morning Herald correspondent Philip Dorling has uncovered the fact that the US has designated Wikileaks founder and Australian citizen Julian Assange an official target.

Australia’s financial regulator has called for the content of online communications – not just the metadata associated with the communications – to be retained as part of the Federal Government’s data retention and Internet surveillance package being pushed by the Attorney-General’s Department, in a move which was immediately damned by critics of the proposed scheme.

This inquiry, and any proposals that stem from it, should be looked at very closely and any expansion of powers of the state put forward should be fought.

According to the ABC and a plethora of other media outlets reporting from parliamentary hearings yesterday Australia's friendly police want data retention laws extended to cover a period lasting ... forever.

Half a dozen of Roxon’s fiercest critics have started mailing the Labor Senator copies of George Orwell’s iconic book 1984.

Over the past several weeks Attorney-General Nicola Roxon has publicly compared the Federal Government’s controversial data retention proposal to a similar system enacted in Europe. But the truth is that Europe’s data protection bureaucrat has heavily criticised the scheme, and a number of countries have struck it down as being unconstitutional.

Australia’s two major sides of politics have avoided substantially discussing the Federal Government’s controversial data retention and surveillance package, in a Senate debate stimulated yesterday by Greens Senator Scott Ludlam, who described the privacy issues involved as “deadly serious”.

Nicola Roxon has publicly linked the religious protests held in Sydney last week over a YouTube video and the issue of cyber-bullying to the Federal Government's wide-ranging packaging of surveillance and data retention measures, in what the Federal Attorney-General stated was "a lot of different trends coming together".

Citizen lobbying organisation GetUp! has published a strongly worded rejection of a YouTube video published by Federal Attorney-General Nicola Roxon yesterday relating to the Government’s current data retention and surveillance proposal, describing Roxon’s video as “partisan spin” and highlighting what it said were inaccuracies in it.

Well, well. Looks like Coalition MPs in general are not as disinterested in the Federal Government's controversial data retention and surveillance proposal as has been previously believed.

Federal Attorney-General Nicola Roxon has taken to YouTube to make an impassioned plea to Australians not to believe some of the criticism which is being spread about the Federal Government's highly controversial data retention and surveillance package, which has been widely slammed by a large number of interest groups as being over the top.

Like history repeating, the Australian Government just keeps on coming up with disturbing new ways it wants to control and censor the Internet. Here's five ways the current controversial data retention proposal is similar to its predecessor in infamy: Senator Conroy's mandatory ISP-based Internet filter, which was shot down in flames in 2010.

Prominent network engineer and commentator Mark Newton has accused the Federal Attorney-General's Department of using the Attorney-General of the day -- whether Labor or Coalition -- as a front for its long-running data retention and surveillance plans, which he said dated back to the Howard Government.

Federal Attorney-General Nicola Roxon has called for critics of the Federal Government's proposed new data retention and surveillance package to take a "cold shower" and stop insulting in "hysteria" over the proposal.

Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has declined a request to comment on the Federal Government's controversial surveillance and data retention policy, despite significant public demand for the Liberal MP and the Coalition in general to do so.

The first sign of tension has emerged within the Opposition over the Federal Government's proposed new surveillance and data retention powers, with a prominent Liberal backbencher describing the proposal as being akin to tactics used by the Third Reich's notorious Secret Police.

Federal Attorney-General Nicola Roxon has strongly defended the need for the Federal Government to enact controversial data retention laws making it mandatory for telcos to retain data on the Internet and telephone activities of all Australians for two years, despite the proposal having been described by privacy authorities as being akin to "a police state".

Victoria's acting Privacy Commissioner has filed a strongly worded critique of the Federal Government's planned telecommunications surveillance and data retention reform package, labelling some of the included reforms as "being characteristic of a police state".

A number of major telecommunications companies including iiNet and Macquarie Telecom, as well as telco and ISP representative industry groups, have expressed sharp concern over the Federal Government's proposed package of surveillance and data retention reforms, stating that "insufficient evidence" had been presented to justify them.

A controversial piece of legislation aiming to bolster the powers of law enforcement agencies has passed the Federal Senate, despite vehement protests from the Greens, who argued strongly that the bill was "yet another" unnecessary expansion of the Government's surveillance powers in Australia.

Greens Senator Scott Ludlam has demanded answers from the Federal Government as to whether it knows whether the controversial TrapWire surveillance system had been deployed in Australia to keep tabs on locals through the use of public surveillance cameras.

Get our weekly newsletter on Thursdays

Follow us on social media