Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Attorney-General Plans Full Assault on Privacy

Attorney-General Robert McClelland has expanded his plans to accede to the Council of Europe Cybercrime Convention. He now wants to track every contact we make, whether by phone or by email, and store it all for years.

Many people might be ok with the prospect of having the government able to peer in on who they know and communicate with. They might feel that nothing can really be determined from a bit of meta-data. They should look at Palantir Technologies. Palantir's software makes it easy for agents to draw conclusions from the most unstructured data. From sexual persuasion to political affiliation, software that governments worldwide are currently using can easily unveil many of your lawful secrets.

Here's the tally board for the current government:
Maybe if the government introduced all these policies slowly, it would be more like boiling a frog, and we wouldn't notice. As it stands, every few weeks sees another major incursion in to the privacy of every Australian. At this rate, it will only be another month or two until the government introduces plans for a national id card system, against which all data will be logged, from the above-mentioned, to expenditure data, to TV viewing habits and library borrowings.

In the world of George Orwell's dystopic 1984, the size of a secret microphone was about the size of a fist. Back in the real world, a secret microphone could be invisible to the naked eye. We need to be more vigilant than ever to protect against exploitation by possibly well-intentioned, though definitely power-hungry, moves by politicians to control how we live our lives.

If you read this, and you're fed up with the constant incursions into our rights to privacy and freedom of speech, the Vote Pirate Party at the next election (assuming we are registered in time, which should be the case).

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