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When governments drape a flag over their secrets, we need whistleblowers

The Coalition government is the most secretive of the modern era — except when it’s in its interests to share information. In that environment, we need whistleblowers more than ever.

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Panel says curb NSA’s worst excesses in wake of Snowden

The panel appointed by Barack Obama to forestall criticism of the NSA’s global surveillance has called for major change to intelligence collection and an end to some of the NSA’s worst behaviours.

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Defence-heavy spy committee needs to demand answers

The parliamentary committee tasked with overseeing sensitive intelligence agencies has finally been picked. It’s heavy on Defence and DFAT types, so will it do its job properly?

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The war on whistleblowers — it’s come to Australia

The tactics of the Obama administration’s war on whistleblowers and journalists have now been openly deployed in Australia. The Coalition government is on the attack.

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Errors, lies and secrecy: don’t trust govts on national security

The demand that we trust governments to determine what we should know about national security matters is discredited by their performance over Iraq.

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Huawei charm offensive can’t whitewash complicity in surveillance

Huawei has launched a charm offensive to portray itself as independent of governments. But it has a track record of working closely with the world’s worst regimes.

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Brandis’ staffing coup points to ‘national security focus’

George Brandis has secured the services of former ambassador and ASIO chief, Paul Sullivan, raising interesting questions about the new Attorney-General’s approach to national security.

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Don’t trust governments on national security until they accept scrutiny

Until governments cease using national security as a way of avoiding scrutiny, they should not be trusted on surveillance.

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Yes we can: how surveillance was quietly stymied in Australia

There are some lessons from this week’s Australia’s national security inquiry, especially when we compare ourselves to the US and the UK. Secret plans for data retention came to nothing.

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National security inquiry declines to endorse data retention

A key review of proposal to strengthen national security laws has opted against recommending mandatory data retention, and suggested a strictly limited scheme if governments do consider one.

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Attorney-General’s Department: hiding a data retention gargoyle?

Questions continue to grow about the extent of the Attorney-General Department’s work on data retention, and whether it is hiding it from scrutiny. Is AGD quietly developing legislation on data retention?

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Australia’s supine reaction to our surveillance planet

While other US allies demand answers on the Edward Snowden revelations about mass US surveillance of private citizens, the Australian government wants the whole thing to go away and tells us there’s nothing to worry about. Fail.

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Surveillance, secrecy and the cost of intelligence outsourcing

A culture of secrecy, unaccountability and outsourcing created the conditions for the Obama administration’s mass internet surveillance programs.

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The greatest threat to our rights is the Attorney-General’s Department

The record of the Attorney-General’s Department shows that, on national security, the department is the greatest threat to Australians’ rights.

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Tony Abbott’s uncomfortable resemblance to Labor

Tony Abbott occasionally shows signs that he’s not as different from Labor as he claims — in ways that don’t augur well for his government. Can Joe Hockey assert some influence?

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Revealed: Australian spies seek power to break into Tor

The Attorney-General’s Department has admitted data retention will be “trivially easy” to avoid and that intelligence services want to be able to break into encrypted internet systems like Tor.

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Reporters as ‘co-conspirators’ in Obama’s war on journalism

The Obama administration is engaged in a war on investigative journalism, backed by national security laws. The internet may free up information, but it also aids government surveillance.

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The new ACSC: a ‘reasonable illustration’ of a cybersecurity hub?

The government’s much-vaunted new “Cyber Security Centre” will have no legislation, no central leadership and no money. But it will have “unclassified areas”.

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Danby and Sheridan hammer home an own-goal for data retention

A national security committee member’s poor judgment has inflicted serious damage on the push for data retention by Australia’s security agencies.

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Data definitions in the spotlight as A-G dept fronts inquiry

There is still confusion about what data would be retained under the federal government’s highly contentious data retention proposals — and it arises from the government itself.

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National security laws: the ‘balance’ that only ever tips one way

The concept of “balance” repeatedly invoked by politicians on national security — while extending the powers of law enforcement and intelligence agencies, curbing the rights of Australians — is flawed.

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National security hysteria, the fastest-growing crime in Aust

Wild claims about cybercrime are a key tool in inflating spending on cybersecurity and expanding the powers of governments, like the latest proposal for two-year data retention.

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Essential: WorkChoices, data retention, will life be better under Abbott?

There is rising concern about the return of Workchoices, today’s Essential Report finds, and voters don’t believe workers will be better off under an Abbott government.

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Hypothetical: news from a national security future

We already know what could happen if proposals to dramatically extend surveillance and intelligence-gathering powers are allowed to proceed.

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Paper reveals govt’s national security
crackdown

After more than two months of behind-the-scenes negotiations, the high-powered Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security has agreed to a government reference on a major national security review.

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