Posted November 30, 2018 11:17:59 A new system called “the digital equivalent of a wiretap” that allows the Australian Government to spy on its citizens has been introduced in Parliament.
The legislation, which is currently being debated, would allow the Government to “intercept” communications in Australia’s territory.
The government says it will make sure the information will be “consistent with the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) Code of Practice and will not reveal any Australians’ identity.”
However, there is a concern that the system will create an Orwellian surveillance state where every citizen will be subject to the same surveillance.
Privacy advocates have been concerned about the surveillance powers proposed by the new legislation.
Privacy advocate David Drummond told the ABC that the legislation would “allow for the government to spy upon any Australian with a warrant”.
He said that in some cases, it would be reasonable to assume that people in a particular community could be targets for surveillance.
“It’s all about this Orwellian state,” Drummond said.
Privacy expert John Daley told the Independent that the Australian public have been warned about the dangers of the surveillance capabilities proposed in the bill.
“We’ve seen a lot of concern about the possibility of these tools being used for mass surveillance, particularly when we’ve seen the NSA’s mass surveillance programs,” he said.
“The Australian public need to be aware of these potential dangers.”
The legislation is also expected to affect other international organizations that work with Australia.
Australia’s foreign minister has already confirmed that Australia will no longer have a visa-free regime with the United States, as the legislation was announced.
“As the new law comes into force, Australians will no be able to visit the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa or Ireland without a visa,” Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said in a statement.
“That’s a very clear statement of policy that’s been in place for some time.”
The Government says that the surveillance capability will be rolled out gradually over time.
The bill has been tabled in Parliament for about a month, with questions about its legality and potential impact being raised.
In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said the surveillance is a matter for ASIO.
“ASIO is undertaking an extensive review of the use of these powers in order to provide clarity about how they operate, to ensure they do not undermine our national security and to ensure the safeguards in place are appropriately and appropriately applied,” the statement said. ABC/wires