Classified Cabinet Docs Leak Down Under Via An Actual Cabinet Sale... Just As Aussies Try To Outlaw Leaking

from the what-a-world dept

Back in December, we reported on an effort underway in Australia to criminalize both whistleblowers and journalists who publish classified documents with up to 20 years in prison. 20 years, by the way, is also the amount of time that Cabinet documents are supposed to be kept classified in Australia. But just recently Australia's ABC news suddenly started breaking a bunch of news that appeared to come from access to Cabinet documents that were still supposed to be classified. This included stories around ending welfare benefits for anyone under 30 years old as well as delaying background checks on refugees. Some explosive stuff.

On Wednsday, ABC finally revealed where all this stuff came from. It wasn't an Australian Ed Snowden. It was... government incompetence. Apparently, someone bought an old filing cabinet from a store that sells second-hand government office furniture. The cabinet had no key, so he drilled the lock and... found a ton of Cabinet documents in an actual cabinet.

So... if that law were to go through in Australia... would that mean the government employee who didn't check the filing cabinet would get 20 years in jail? Or the store that sold out? Or the guy that drilled it? Or do all of them get 20 years? Why don't we just support whistleblowers and the press for reporting on important news that the public should know about?


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  • identicon
    Jordan Chandler, 6 Feb 2018 @ 3:34pm

    Honesty

    Are there any uncorrupt, transparent honest politicians in the world?

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

    • identicon
      Zem, 6 Feb 2018 @ 3:39pm

      Re: Honesty

      Yes, yes there are. The Ministry Of Magic is...... no wait um... damn. Not even fictional ones are uncorrupt or honest.

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

      • icon
        Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 6 Feb 2018 @ 4:09pm

        Re: Re: Honesty

        Wait, the dementors seem to have their act together. The do what they are meant to do and no one has any disillusions as to what that might be. But I really don't think they stand for elections, so that might ruin their standing as politicians, no matter how much they resemble some of those.

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

        • identicon
          Daydream, 6 Feb 2018 @ 4:53pm

          Re: Re: Re: Honesty

          No, not even the dementors; they breach protocol and due process tons of times (see; Gryffindor-Hufflepuff Quidditch match, kissing of Barty Crouch Jr., attempted kissing of Dudley and Harry), not to mention the whole suck-out-happy-memories thing is a violation of human rights.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Feb 2018 @ 7:45am

      Re: Honesty

      No.

      Humans are fallible, that's the way it is. No one is perfect.

      A well run system of checks and balances might work if it is allowed to function.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Feb 2018 @ 3:44pm

    AND this is WHY needs criminalized, to make secretaries more careful of leaving secrets around.

    As usual, you take considering a possibility
    as if were already ordering the grinders to start
    producing Google's Soylent Rainbow. By your notion,
    NO study or consideration could ever be given to
    new ideas, as some part of population will always
    benefit or suffer.

    And of course you go off on usual fantasy that
    prosecutors won't at all apply common sense.

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

    • icon
      An Onymous Coward (profile), 6 Feb 2018 @ 3:54pm

      Re: AND this is WHY needs criminalized, to make secretaries more careful of leaving secrets around.

      Holy... What are you smoking and where can I get some?

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

      • icon
        Toom1275 (profile), 6 Feb 2018 @ 9:06pm

        Re: Re: AND this is WHY needs criminalized, to make secretaries more careful of leaving secrets around.

        Well kool-aid comes in powder form. Maybe he snorts it.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Feb 2018 @ 4:08pm

      Re: AND this is WHY needs criminalized, to make secretaries more careful of leaving secrets around.

      "And of course you go off on usual fantasy that
      prosecutors won't at all apply common sense."

      Except there is court doctrine defining vindictive prosecution. Why would that even be needed if all prosecutors applied common sense.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 7 Feb 2018 @ 7:47am

        Re: Re: AND this is WHY needs criminalized, to make secretaries more careful of leaving secrets around.

        The words "prosecutors" and "common sense" are not usually found in the same sentence.

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 6 Feb 2018 @ 4:54pm

      Re: AND this is WHY needs criminalized, to make secretaries more careful of leaving secrets around.

      I would insult you, but your post is more than insulting for the both of us.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Feb 2018 @ 5:37pm

      Re: AND this is WHY needs criminalized, to make secretaries more careful of leaving secrets around.

      Carry that Snowden hate for MyNameHere, blue boy. I'm sure he'd fellate you once he inevitably returns.

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

  • identicon
    Wicked Witch of the West, 6 Feb 2018 @ 6:13pm

    Or do all of them get 20 years?

    Yesss! And their little dogs, too!

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

  • icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 6 Feb 2018 @ 8:04pm

    Classification and overclassification of materials not provably dangerous to national defense should be criminalized.

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

  • icon
    Eldakka (profile), 7 Feb 2018 @ 4:52am

    The cabinet had no key, so he drilled the lock and...

    I wish someone would drill out the fucking cabinet in Australia, incompetent, self-serving corrupt loonies the lot of em.

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

  • identicon
    Michael H, 7 Feb 2018 @ 7:09am

    Does Australia have a similar concept to "no ex post facto laws"?

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

  • icon
    Jinxed (profile), 7 Feb 2018 @ 10:34am

    I remember from Geography Australia used to be a penal colony.

    I read an article like this and I think, "used to be?"

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

  • identicon
    Chris Brand, 7 Feb 2018 @ 11:54am

    Proposed law would make the problem worse in this case

    https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2018/02/cabinet_of_secr.html makes the great point that if the law were already in place, the documents probably would have gone to a non-Aussie media outlet, who likely would have been much less interested in talking to the government about what gets published and when.

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


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