Australian Politicians Create An Exemption From Data Retention Laws For Themselves... Or Not, Because We Got Fooled

from the not-thinking-it-through dept

Update: Or not. Turns out this was an April Fool's joke that Glyn missed. So, congrats, Crikey, on fooling our most careful writer...

Now that the completely disproportionate data retention law has been rushed through the Australian Parliament, politicians are suddenly realizing that their metadata will be collected too. And so, as was perhaps inevitable, they have asked for an exemption, as reported here by Crikey:

An in-camera meeting of the high-powered Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security last week agreed to task the Department of Defence's signals intelligence arm, the Australian Signals Directorate, and the new Australian Cyber Security Centre with ensuring politicians' metadata is not captured by the government's new data retention regime while they are at work in [the Australian capital] Canberra.
The argument was that:
given Parliament House is supposed to be the centre of Australian democracy, they shouldn't be, you know, tracked while at work there
Well, many people would argue that they shouldn't be tracked either, but obviously politicians are special. It seems that there were two options for achieving this carve-out. One required officials personally identifying and deleting the metadata of politicians, staffers and senior public servants -- a manual process aptly dubbed "handwashing". The other, cheaper, approach -- the one chosen -- was simply to remove metadata from all communications generated within Australia's Parliament House.

Problem solved -- except that some 680,000 visitors enter the building annually, and while they are there, their metadata will not be collected either. Ironically, then, the new exemption for politicians from a scheme allegedly to help the fight against terrorism and crime will turn Parliament House into the perfect location for plotting precisely those things in relative safety.

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  • icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), 3 Apr 2015 @ 9:59am

    Just when you thought hypocrisy couldn't get any more obvious...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Apr 2015 @ 10:00am

    Cleveland Steamer Act of 2015

    All citizens of voting age will be required to allow daily visits from federal enforcers in which they will subject themselves to be shat upon for a period of time no less than reasonably expected for the enforcer to finish relieving their bowels on said citizen.

    Amended to exclude all government officials, agencies, and employees.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Michael, 3 Apr 2015 @ 10:03am

    given Parliament House is supposed to be the centre of Australian democracy, they shouldn't be, you know, tracked while at work there

    That has to be one of the stupidest things I have read this year.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Padpaw (profile), 3 Apr 2015 @ 10:03am

    Who didn't see this coming?

    1 law for the self perceived elites/nobles. 1 law for the serfs ie the regular citizens.

    Those running the "free world" seem hellbent on returning us to the age of feudalism where only the nobles have any rights and everyone else is essentially a slave to their whims

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Apr 2015 @ 10:05am

    given Parliament House is supposed to be the centre of Australian democracy, they shouldn't be, you know, tracked while at work there

    The first law of politics is do not be caught, and this will help us obey that law.
    /sarc

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    indolent (profile), 3 Apr 2015 @ 10:06am

    Uhh, did anyone read all of the linked article?

    "The proposal will now go to the Prime Minister’s Office for approval in the 2015 budget process, with the “communications annulment tool (generator in flagpole)” system expected to be operational by April 1, 2016.

    *April Fools!"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    TheResidentSkeptic (profile), 3 Apr 2015 @ 10:16am

    One set of rules

    for the governed...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    jakerome (profile), 3 Apr 2015 @ 10:28am

    It's at least mostly a joke

    It says April Fools in the article. It's about a *flagpole* blocking metadata tracking.

    I guess Facebook members aren't the only ones that post links without reading the articles.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), 3 Apr 2015 @ 11:10am

    April Fool's

    Just updated the post, noting that it appears to be an April Fool's joke. Still, fooling Glyn is quite a feat. I think in all the years he's written for us, I've only even seen a *single* typo.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Kronomex, 3 Apr 2015 @ 3:50pm

    It may have been an April fool joke but I imagine our scumbags...oops, politicians will be looking into ways to make themselves exempt from the new laws. The words "national security" spring to mind.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 3 Apr 2015 @ 6:38pm

    The best lie and/or trick is a believable one

    I think the real impressive/depressing thing here is that this wasn't immediately spotted as an april fool's joke.

    It was close enough to how people expect politicians to act, in this case proposing laws to spy on the public, claiming that there's nothing to be concerned about with regards to said spying, and then exempting themselves from the public being able to see what the politicians are doing/saying, that people took it at face value.

    Given what they've done and said to date, how would something like this be out of character? Politicians are infamous for their gross hypocrisy, so something like this? Completely in line with what they've done in the past, so it's not surprising that people thought it was real.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Padpaw (profile), 3 Apr 2015 @ 11:19pm

    Look on the bright side then. The way things are going there is a good chance this will come to pass. then your article is already written for you.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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