Australian AG Insists New Anti-Terror Law Only Allows What It Allows; Refuses To Say What It Allows
from the democracy-in-action dept
Yesterday we told you about just one of the troubling aspects of a proposed “anti-terror” law in Australia, in that under a single warrant, ASIO, the intelligence gathering organization, could effectively monitor the entire internet. During some Parliamentary discussions on this, Senator Scott Ludlam tried to add an amendment limiting the number of computers that could be monitored under a single warrant. Brandis’ “contribution” to the debate on this was to accuse Ludlam of being a “liar” for claiming that the law would allow the tapping of the entire internet under a single warrant and then… refusing any further explanation. The exchange is really quite incredible. Ludlam says he’d be happy if, in fact, his understanding of their previous conversation was in error, and thus wished for clarification. Brandis responds:
What ASIO would be empowered to do is that which is authorized by the warrant, which is, in turn, governed by the terms of the Act.
Holy tautology Batman! Ludlam appears reasonably sarcastically frustrated in return:
Thank you for your opaque and utterly unhelpful response.
He asks further specific questions about what the law would cover and Brandis repeats: “I don’t have anything to add to my previous answer.” It’s basically a giant “fuck you” to anyone wanting to make sure that the law isn’t overly broad and doesn’t allow spying on the entire internet. Remember, Brandis claims that was a lie, but refuses to clarify beyond the “utterly unhelpful” statement he made.
Anyone ? including journalists, whistleblowers, bloggers and others ? who “recklessly” discloses “information … [that] relates to a special intelligence operation” faces up to 10 years’ jail.
In short, Australia is guaranteeing that not only will they not have their own Edward Snowden but they won’t have their own Glenn Greenwald, either. Combine that with the massive new powers to spy on everyone with a single warrant, and Australia just massively expanded the surveillance state, and put a gag order on anyone who wants to expose its abuses.