I couldn't find an existing thread on this, but it's kinda tricky to search for, so let me know. Anyway, a few people have expressed concerns about some proposed changes to digital communications and data retention in Australia. Firstly, from Silicon_Angel: The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security is seeking public submissions in response to reforms proposed increasing and expanding surveillance, collection, retention and access to digital communications and data, including mandatory recording by ISPs of all Internet activity by their customers and storage of these logs for two years, making it a criminal offence to refuse to decrypt data upon request by law enforcement, giving ASIO the power and right to ‘disrupt’ a target computer for the purpose of gaining access to it, or even access to ‘third party’ computers on the way to the target computers, and other changes designed to streamline and simplify the process of warrant acquisition to authorise surveillance and acquisition of communications and data. I strongly recommend every Australian with any concerns at all with regards to these legislative changes makes their voice heard by the Joint Committee. In discussions elsewhere, people have been asking what all the fuss is about. Surely this provides government with the ability to do their jobs better to protect us all? Well, that’s the whole point, isn’t it – will it lead to more efficient and effective law enforcement and a safer Australia, and at what cost? If these reforms are vastly in the public interest, can be guaranteed to be safe from potential abuse or misuse of the data and can be quantifiably proven to improve not just the effectiveness of law enforcement, but the capturing of dangerous criminals and disruption of their imminently fatal activities, then they have some reasonable basis. The facts are the reforms will be extremely expensive to implement (particularly data retention), they severely encroach on freedoms, rights and privacy of Australians, they will create a database of Internet usage unlike any other that will be a honey-pot irresistible to law enforcement, commercial enterprise and criminal elements alike, making the likelihood of misuse extremely high. They will make it an offence to hide any information, whether it be private, commercially sensitive or even potentially incriminating, from law enforcement, even if their search and seizure of your computers and data is merely a fishing expedition. They will trivialise the process of obtaining warrants for data tapping, surveillance and search and seizure of private property. But most importantly, they are unlikely to improve the effectiveness of law enforcement activities against professional criminals who will be aware of these laws and will quickly determine the easiest way to circumvent them will be to simply use a VPN connection beyond the jurisdiction of these laws. So after all these laws, all this cost, all that will happen is every Australian –not- going to extraordinary lengths to hide their data from the government will be under constant surveillance and monitoring, while actual criminals will simply be beyond the technical ability of the government to watch anyway. That sounds like giving up a hell of a lot of rights, allowing Big Brother into our lives in a highly invasive, unprecedented way without actually getting any increase in safety and security back in return. Public submissions to this process end on the 6th of August (no, they didn’t give us much time), so get writing, and tell as many people as you can. “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” –Benjamin Franklin More from Gaakor: The Federal Parliament has rejected a number of requests from interested parties to extend the short deadline for submissions to an inquiry into a wide-reaching package of legislative reforms proposed by the Federal Government which the Greens have slammed as constituting a “systematic erosion of privacy” in Australia. - This is serious I would really appreciate OCAU encouraging people to call their MP's and make a submission to the senate committee before time runs out, because the government is trying to rush this through - before it's on peoples radars it will be LAW. Mark Newton's comments are here. If rational minds were in charge, last week’s announcement by the government of an inquiry into potential reforms of National Security Legislation would be seen as an admission of failure and incompetence from Australia’s law enforcement and intelligence agencies. ... Every year they make nebulous hand-waving gestures about undefined, secret threats that will befall Australia if they don’t get their own way, and every year spineless politicians give them everything they say they need. GetUp have published their concerns and a petition. Would you copy ASIO in on every personal email you send, include them in every conversation you have with a friend online, or send them your personal photos and videos? Soon, you may not have a choice. ... Right now the Government is considering the most sweeping and radical changes to Australia's surveillance and intelligence laws since the establishment of the original powers in 1979. If all this concerns you, you might want to sign the petition above and make a public submission to the Government.