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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

a pantomime « Previous | |Next »
August 7, 2014

The widespread surveillance of activity on the phone and online advocated by the spooks and government allies in the name of security paints us all as potential criminals. Just in case we do the wrong thing, or are up to something, it would be best to keep an eye out.

When we haven't consented to that, the surveillance becomes invasive. WikiLeaks, the phone-hacking scandal, the Snowden files indicate he extent to which our communications are being monitored by the e triumvirate of state, press and data-harvesting corporations.

RoweDTeamAustralia.jpg David Rowe

The menace is within say the spooks. An emergency is threatening. Mass surveillance is needed.

So how wide is the proposed surveillance. It's very unclear what stuff is going to be subject to surveillance. Behind the pantomime and confusing messages the emphasis on security does appear to sacrifice individual liberty through state intrusion into our phone calls, physical location, and our email and browsing history.

The spooks message is that "If you have nothing to hide, you've nothing to fear." However, our rights about our private lives are being handed over so that our secrets are revealed through mining our virtual identities. Yet, we can count on, the two major political parties will stitch together a deal which will sideline all meaningful democratic deliberation. Parliament will be bounced.

The spin will be that a statutory boost to the security services, enabling the trawl through records of private internet and mobile phone traffic, was a draconian anti-terror measure thrust upon the politicians by terrible circumstance. Labor has already decided to support the government position, claiming to be satisfied by the argument that urgent legislation is required and satisfied with the safeguards to protect civil liberties.

The use of the national security argument as an excuse for riding roughshod over fundamental freedoms enshrined in law underscores that the Australian political establishment, which voted for this law, has lost its moral compass.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:17 AM | | Comments (9)


There is no justification for us all to be regarded as suspects of terrorism or a meaninglessly broad category of “general crime”.

This is government that refuses to take full responsibility for the Australian intelligence service’s active participation in the NSA online surveillance programs under the Five Eyes program. All that is offered is that old chestnut: national security.

The proposed legislation basically provides the government with carte blanche to access our personal communications data without due cause, due process, or adequate protection of our fundamental rights.

Various organisations can access our metadata already, without a warrant . The agency requesting the data is required to fill out a request form, however there is no judicial oversight or requirement that law enforcers prove suspicion of a crime being committed.

It's a pantomine.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Attorney-General George Brandis in separate interviews both indicated that the government would seek to retain a list of websites as part of a scheme to force telecommunications companies to retain customer "metadata" for up to two years for access by government agencies for law enforcement purposes.

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has ruled out including the history of websites visited by every Australian resident as part of any mandatory data retention regime.

Either Australia's Attorney-General, Senator George Brandis isn't across the basics of what data would and wouldn't be collected; or he is being deliberately disingenuous.

There probably needs to be more security for welfare people. 140 billion dollars per year according to ABC news facebook. We need to make sure they are not spending it on grog, drugs and smokes. Monitoring their bank accounts is a good idea.

I congratulate Gary for such an incisive summary.

"If you've nothing to hide you've nothing fear". And who actually decides what is right and what is wrong? Who has such god-like omniscience?

We are told its about bombs under burqas, but like Les, I think it could be more for quite willful reasons based on prejudice; this law will likely apply in reality to dissenters on ecological matters, trade unionists and other people involved with social activism as to asylum seekers, civil liberties and aboriginal rights, to name but three examples.

IN a funny way the ALP is even more despicable than the conservatives on this type of thing lately.

You expect no better from reactionaries, but ALP representatives are supposed to have the (social) consciousness, the rationality, to know better as to things repressive and fascistic.

The authorities can say what they like.

There is no way the data can be be ultimately secured and likely companies employing certain marketing and sales strategies will also be involved in breaching privacy through bribery, seeking material intended to target different sales demographics.

The funny thing is that people have been using these free computer scanning programs for years.
I mean to say really!! Who works there?