Australia's Attorney-General: Data Retention Is 'Very Much The Way In Which Western Nations Are Going'
from the dedicated-follower-of-fashion dept
Techdirt has noted before that bad policy ideas have a habit of spreading around the world. As the UK’s Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill continues its ridiculously rapid passage through Parliament, it now looks as if Australia may bring in something similar. Here’s what the country’s Attorney-General, George Brandis, said, as reported by ZDNet:
“The question of data retention is under active consideration by the government. I might point out to you as recently as yesterday, the [UK’s] House of Commons passed a new data retention statute. This is very much the way in which western nations are going,” he said.
Although Brandis insisted that this was “not a decision that Australia has yet made,” on related matters it seems that everything has been decided:
Attorney-General George Brandis has introduced legislation to Parliament to expand the ability of spies to hack computer networks, allow more flexible warrants and improve cooperation between different intelligence agencies.
The new legislation will permit:
one warrant to cover a network of computers and electronic devices, not just individual computers
the computers of third parties (those who are not suspects) to be used in order to access other targeted computers
intelligence officers to disrupt the operations of a computer in some circumstances
As that makes clear, this will allow offensive actions, including using computers of innocent parties to attack other targets — a really bad Australian idea that Techdirt has written about before.
And as if all that weren’t enough, Brandis also plans to bring in harsh laws against whistleblowers who might be tempted to emulate Edward Snowden:
Spies who leak sensitive information will face tough new penalties of up to 10 years’ jail and internet firms could be forced to store customers’ data for up to two years under sweeping national security reforms.
Prompted in part by the leaks from renegade US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, the Abbott government will on Wednesday introduce legislation clamping down on intelligence officers who leak to journalists, lawyers and other members of the public.
As the Sydney Morning Herald report quoted above notes, the Australian government of Prime Minister Tony Abbott is trying to cover every eventuality:
the Abbott government will move to plug a ”legislative gap” by making it an offence to copy, keep or remove sensitive intelligence information, or to make a record of information without authorisation — such as making notes of a meeting without approval.
These offences will carry up to three years’ jail. At present, no crime is committed unless the copied material is actually handed over to someone else, but Senator Brandis told colleagues it could often be difficult to prove that the information had been passed on.
It will be interesting to see whether that idea starts to spread, too….