Australian Home Affairs Minister Says Government Still Considering Spying On Its Own Citizens

from the be-part-of-the-open-book-experience dept

Nothing's too much to sacrifice for the greater good of Australia. Not even Australians.

A series of police raids on journalists has raised questions about how far the government will go to control what Australian citizens know about their government's activities. Three separate raids targeted leaks that revealed, among other things, possible war crimes committed by Australian soldiers and the government's plans to place its own citizens under surveillance by expanding the power allotted to the Australian Signals Directorate.

The unintentional side effect of government raids designed to discourage further reporting on government secrets is the government is now confirming one of the leaks it targeted.

Peter Dutton has confirmed that a plan to create new powers to spy on Australians – which sparked police raids at the centre of the press freedom row – is still on the table.

On Sunday the home affairs minister claimed it was “complete nonsense” that the government supported spying on Australians but, in the next breath, called for a “sensible discussion” about whether the Australian Signals Directorate should gain such powers, which he argued could help disrupt paedophile networks and stop cyber-attacks.

Ah, the old "we're not going to spy on you, unless..." National security takes a backseat to child porn purveyors in Dutton's directly contradictory statements, but it's still the same tired argument. Domestic surveillance makes it easier for the government to catch bad guys and efficiency should always take precedence over rights and liberties.

This followed other statements from Dutton, most of which followed the same pattern: deny the government wants to spy on Australians, followed by reasons why the government should be allowed to spy on Australians.

“We don’t support spying on Australians,” he said. “That was a complete nonsense."

“But where you’ve got a paedophile network that operates out of Manila that live-streams children being abused, there might be an ability for an Australian agency to try and shut that server down.

“If that same server was operating in Fitzroy, here in Melbourne, then there would be very limited capacity in certain circumstances where it was masked or it was rerouted and … we weren’t able to shut that paedophile network down."

Well, I guess if the ends justify the means… Like others angling for greater surveillance capabilities at the expense of the public's freedoms, Dutton claims Australians are only a "sensible discussion" away from accepting additional government intrusion.

That this "discussion" remains on the table despite Australians' opposition to it just shows how essential it is that Australian journalists remain free to publish leaked documents without fear of government reprisal. Dutton has tipped his hand, though, suggesting neither Australians nor the country's journalists will be as free in the future. He has refused to condemn the raids on journalists and is openly pitching a surveillance program whose unauthorized publication was greeted with a show of force.

Filed Under: australia, peter dutton, privacy, spying, surveillance


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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 20 Jun 2019 @ 3:32am

    Yeah, you really do

    Seems like a pretty simple rule of thumb: if you try to claim that 'You don't support X' and then immediately follow that up with some excuse for why X is not really that bad, or could even be good in some certain situations, then yes, you absolutely do support X, you just aren't honest enough to admit it.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2019 @ 3:32am

    what is it with governments in the so called 'democratic and free world countries'? we are imitating those countries that we have always despised and condemned. surely, us doing the same as them is giving even more excuse for them to not just continue but to ramp up even higher what they are doing, isn't it? what is the real reason(s) for this behavior? i do not believe it's the terrorist thing, as bad as it may well be and as wrong as it is but to want to know what everyone in your own country is doing, every second of every day must have more of a reason. in my opinion, it's to ensure that those who are making these decisions, those who are in charge of countries (and i dont just mean governments!) are able to make sure that their despicable practices are not found out and broadcast world-wide. in other words, they want to be able to do exactly as they like with no consequences and turning the world into a giant surveillance state is accomplishing that, all to our detriment!

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

    • identicon
      TFG, 20 Jun 2019 @ 6:16am

      Re:

      Power corrupts.

      Once you have power, it is easy to start thinking it makes you better, or smarter. Or, maybe, you just wanted the perks that it can afford you in the first place. Once you have power, it's hard to give it up.

      Put very simply? Every person in a position of authority faces a temptation to become authoritarian. What we are seeing is government officials failing to resist that temptation.

      The idea behind the system of checks and balances in the American Constitution was to try and tamp down on these tendencies, but no system is perfect. As for other ostensibly non-authoritarian governmental systems, there are various strategies to deal with the tendency, but again, no system is perfect.

      Personal greed and pride are very difficult to guard against.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2019 @ 8:03am

        Re: Re:

        It also doesn't help that the ones most attracted to power (psychos, schizophrenics, etc.) are the ones most likely to seek out and attempt to gain power...

        Once there, power corrupts, some more than others, but it corrupts everyone who has it to some degree (again some much more than others if they already had those tendencies - like if they are Australian...).

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

        • icon
          nasch (profile), 20 Jun 2019 @ 1:20pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Since when are schizophrenics attracted to power?

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

        • identicon
          R,og S/, 21 Jun 2019 @ 11:06am

          Re: Re: Re: schizophreniform disorders

          Schizophrenics are one of the most mis -diagnosed of all mental health patients, and much research indicates that more often than not, schizophrenia is a bogus label.

          Pschopaths, sociopaths, narcissists and sadists, however, fill the ranks of all police departments, political offices, judges benches and social services.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2019 @ 7:05am

    Hopefully the citizens will take note how people in Hong Kong made a difference (if only to kick the can down the road).

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

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 20 Jun 2019 @ 7:17am

    Fixed Headline

    "Australian Home Affairs Minister Says Government Still Considering Admitting It Is Already Spying On Its Own Citizens"

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

  • identicon
    Annonymouse, 20 Jun 2019 @ 8:02am

    Dear minister, we are not going to tar and feather you and ship you on a rail to the middle of the outback.

    As for the tar, do you prefer boiling or on fire?

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

  • icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), 20 Jun 2019 @ 6:36pm

    Oh, My!

    "It's complete nonsense that we want to spy on our citizens. But pedophiles, terrorists, and sex traffickers, oh my! Pedophiles, terrorists, and sex traffickers, oh my! Pedophiles, terrorists, and sex traffickers, oh my! We must be able to protect our citizens, so we must spy on them. Oh my!"

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2019 @ 7:32pm

      Re: Oh, My!

      In the eyes of the government, everyone is either a terrorist or potential terrorist. Take no risks; better watch them all.

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

  • icon
    summer fox (profile), 24 Jun 2019 @ 2:13am

    I think every one is equal in the eyes of government and they should serve each and every citizen of their country. As an article writer at https://www.eazyresearch.com/ I personally believe for unity equal rights are very important.

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


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