Roxon plans one warrant to snoop us all

May 18, 2012

Attorney-general Nicola Roxon is planning a raft of new powers for ASIO to intercept and store any individual’s information. The move follows the adoption of new laws that allow Australia’s spy agencies to target individuals and organisations that oppose the government's interests — nicknamed the “WikiLeaks amendment”.

Several proposed changes to telecommunications interception and access laws, as well as the Intelligence Services Act 2001, would expand ASIO’s powers of surveillance and reduce government oversight of ASIO activities.

Current laws make ASIO apply for separate warrants for each form of communication it wants to monitor. The warrants expire after 90 days. The new powers would allow ASIO to use a single “super warrant” to tap phones, computers, programs, tablets and even video games for up to six months without renewal.

The attorney-general would be able to change or update the warrant without the knowledge of the subject of surveillance.

It could also force internet providers and mobile carriers to keep user data for two years and even assist in decrypting files, allowing any ASIO agent to retrospectively search your emails, internet use, text messages and computer data at any time without your knowledge.

This notion that everyone's digital information would be trapped and recorded to aid spying later has barely been scrutinised by the mainstream media, and only the federal Greens have challenged the laws.

Roxon said the proposed laws would only bring surveillance warrants in line with ASIO’s other warrant powers, which include entry and search, detention and questioning, and tracking of suspects.

She said the proposed changes would be reviewed by public hearings via the parliamentary joint committee on intelligence and security, which would report back to the government at the end of July. The government would then “consider” its findings before drafting legislation.

On May 4 Roxon said the changes are necessary to “stay one step ahead of the terrorists … who threaten our national security”.

But Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon said the government had failed to show any terror threat to “justify any expansion”. She said that gave the impression the government was “beating the law-and-order drum to distract from their own failings”.

Australian Lawyers Alliance president Greg Barns said in a May 10 ABC Drum Opinion article that the plans were “dangerous” and “potentially involve major incursions into, and erosion of, liberties”.

“Imagine, for example, how a Julian Assange would have been dealt with under these laws. It would have been ridiculously easy for ASIO and others to surveil every device Mr Assange used — his mobile phone, laptop, iPad and whatever else.

“If he were found to be getting his hands on some decent leaks which the government did not want to see the light of day, then the attorney-general could vary the warrant to ensure such materials were captured. There would be no scrutiny by a court for six months.”

The WikiLeaks amendment, pushed through parliament in March with only Greens opposition, streamlines the extradition process to make it easier for foreign governments to extradite people from Australia. It also allows people in Australia to be prosecuted for overseas crimes.

The Australian Pirate Party said the potential new laws were an addition to “Australia’s already overbearing security theatre”. The party's secretary, Brendan Molloy, said on May 7: “Nothing about warrants should be streamlined. It is an affront to due process to weaken judicial principles in the name of 'counter-terrorism', which seems to be the catch-cry of anyone unjustly wanting more power.”

As it announced the proposed new laws, the government also announced several deals it had made with the US government, with no public scrutiny, to increase data sharing and information on Australian citizens.

Roxon, home affairs minister Jason Clare and US secretary of homeland security Janet Napolitano met in Canberra to sign off on plans to share “law enforcement data” and monitor international cargo and passengers.

Ostensibly to obstruct “violent extremism”, critics have pointed out that such powers and information-sharing have been used against peace activists such as Scott Parkin in the past. Crackdowns and spying on the Occupy movement and climate change activists also highlight the dangers of Australia being obligated to hand over information to the US about its citizens.

Ever-growing suspicion and fear of people from Arab and Muslim backgrounds in Australia could also mean ASIO abuses its secretive powers. Labor MP Maria Vamvakinou recently told the Herald Sun that ASIO and federal police have showed a “special interest” in suburbs with “high populations” of Muslim people.

Stoking anti-Muslim rhetoric, the Herald Sun said on May 16 that the attorney-general’s department “admitted several places” were identified as “potential breeding grounds for terrorism”. Vamvakinou said suburbs in her electorate with big Muslim communities were aware they were “under surveillance”.

But she said they live “pretty much ordinary lives”.

Rhiannon said the government should not go ahead with further expanding ASIO’s powers until it reviews the sweeping changes made by the former Coalition government.

Then-prime minister John Howard introduced a huge expansion to ASIO and federal police powers after the September 2001 terror attacks, which included the power to detain people and prevent them from contacting anybody. The UN human rights committee recommended the Anti-Terrorism Bill 2005 be reviewed and doubted it complied with the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.


By now they have already violated most laws there are in the book, the next step is simply a formality. Without going into the role that our so called "intelligence" ours & the US have played in the lies & assault of the Iraq chapter that REMAINS a closed door to this day. Harassement, frame up, setup, torture & even assassination these agencies are guilty of crimes beyond description, indeed time for ACCOUNTABLITY time for healing to take place. Time we see the real faces of those who are recording our phone calls listening to our most intimate thoughts, feelings, ideas, strengh & weaknesses only to use them to supress our freedom of speeth That is trully the ultimate form of terror. They violate law they create themselves only to change them again later Hitler, Stalin, Fronco, Mussolini, bush & cheney & the small tyrans often manufactured by EMPIRES, moubarak, saddam, bin ladin the list is huge, all have demonstrated what they can do with those powers. I say we need to open those doors not allow these agencies to bury the truth behind more doors more unrest & more torture. At last we realise that Iraq was never about democracy, since than many countries have gone through the empires canibal touch, everywhere it goes it leaves horror behind it. there is no doubt there was premiditation & planning, more countries are or will suffer the same faith For the record the assault on Iraq was a WAR CRIME no amount of water boarding, no amount of electroshock, drones, mind control or warrant on earth will suffice to blind us. No covert or overt adversities will be enough to suppress the many. The CIA with the help of NSA has yet to imform the international community about methodes ot torture used outside prisons & military basis. Eather we have a CONVERSATION & heal COLLECTIVELY the 100% or MONITOR & RECORD both ends of the phone line for the benefit of all. Amoung the many topics we must not allow tyranny to impose its WOT CONVERSATION They will find a way to sabotage the debate in the name of "WOT" our job is to never allow them to do that. One would think some of them have childreen they may CONNECT THE DOTS where its heading, nops think again history is not compolsory in our schools especially the neo cons, do not watch FOX you'll be forgiven to think you're on an other planet that would explane some things. WARS, ACCOUNTABILITY the role of "intel agencies) the moral & economic outcome that follows for the 99, the existing expired LAWS OF IMMUNITY for polititions & diplomats alike & so called agencies, amoung the few laws the 1% does not dare to touch. PRIVATIZATION Against the will of PEOPLE & the devolutionary socio-economic repercutions on the 99. The transfer of wealth & public resources & assets to the 1%, is nothing short of a crime beyond everything people voted for. EDUCATION the foundation for tomorow's creative & divers humanity not a toy for extreem capitalism CORPORATION'S chock doctrine to experiment with dogma & mind control. In whatever order, For the 99 a thousand issus to deal with, all existancial to the core, THE SO CALLED (WAR (WOT) TERROR) is certainly not one of them, if anything it is TIME we talked about the WARS THEMSELVES. What CIA did in Iraq CIA & its collabortors are about to start here, for some of us it has already begun a while ago, to use one of there favorite expression they'll have to finish the job. I call it passing the point . There is a time where we must face our inner devils for a true transformative moment, that time is not too far away. In Soulidarity

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