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Data retention keeps us safe

Crikey readers talk data retention and the ethics of warfare.

Data retention a small price to pay for freedom

Les Heimann writes: Re. “Data retention is an intolerable threat to democracy” (yesterday). Who’s afraid of the big bad … ? If you create the data it exists. If it is retained for a period, what’s wrong with that?

If I say something I mean it. Whether what we say is verbal or the written word or on an electronic platform it is our responsibility for putting it out there, and it shouldn’t matter to anyone how long it stays out there. Only those who lie, gossip, exaggerate or, and here’s the rub, plot will worry about this. We should all always take responsibility for what we say, do or write. No one has cause at all to quibble with that.

What’s that you say? This is undemocratic. Sure it is if you want to keep on sucking up to those murderous terrorists beheading maiming and injuring thousands of innocents every day. Well, I don’t. I want them caught and if necessary disposed of before they harm anyone. That’s what this is all about. We have to pay a price to remain free, and this is a very small price indeed.

The war is lost on data retention

John Richardson writes: Re. “Crikey says: data retention a serious threat to us — and to you” (yesterday). Is Crikey really serious when it claims: “No media company that is serious about holding the powerful to account can fail to oppose data retention”?

In the good old days, a smart butcher or fruit shop operator would actually run two shops: one at each end of the street. The populace were run ragged from one end of the street to the other, chasing the best prices, all the while the sole proprietor was pocketing all the profits regardless.

Fast forward to Australia’s 21st-century “democracy” where big business now owns the street, with Labor at one end and the Coalition at the other, and we’re still running up and down between the two, while sophisticated media and political commentators reassure us with pithy observations like everything is OK because “we can at least vote them out every four years”.

Meanwhile, the Victorian Supreme Court is quietly used by the rich, powerful and well-connected to run the real system that we don’t even know about: more than 1500 “superinjunctions” imposed over the past five years (almost one a day) and we can’t even find out what purpose they served.

And Crikey thinks we should be worried about ASIO accessing metadata? Methinks this game was played and lost a long time ago and we are all kept compliant and co-operative by being fed the phoney line that what we think and ay might make a difference.

The dogs of war

Peter Marshall writes: Re. “Conveniently forgotten” (yesterday).  Unfortunately, those men and women who advocate war are, shall we say, “stupid”. The one and only reason one offers to go to war is to kill some other person — known or unknown to the one doing the killing. Or else you stay home and send someone else to kill for you. I think the Crikey approach is more than fair and even if it is biased — it is another viewpoint and a sobering reminder to the “other/military/political” viewpoint.

2
  • 1
    Hugh (Charlie) McColl
    Posted Wednesday, 6 August 2014 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    Les Heimann believes that the data retention proposal is about catching “those murderous terrorists beheading maiming and injuring thousands of innocents every day”. But how does he think that will happen? Has the evidence from any other country’s data retention scheme suggested that terrorists can or have been caught by this sort of spying? If so, what’s the evidence? Come on Les, put up some evidence rather than just parroting the seemingly senseless drivel from our politicians of both stripes.

  • 2
    drsmithy
    Posted Thursday, 7 August 2014 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    Why did Les Heimann not simply write “if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear” and save a few electrons ?

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