Jul 13, 2012

Why has the Right gone missing on the surveillance state?

When Labor finally unveils a genuine threat to civil rights, its usual critics have fallen silent. Why?

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

It took a while but Fairfax finally lumbered into action today on the remarkable proposals to dramatically expand government surveillance of Australians that are before the Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, editorialising that intelligence agencies needed to explain why they want to retain Australians’ internet data, after its security specialist Dylan Welch had covered the proposals yesterday.

Yesterday the ABC also provided some detailed coverage; every specialist IT outlet had already covered the proposals in detail on Tuesday and Wednesday, after Crikey broke the proposals on Monday afternoon. A quick reprise of the proposals: the government wants to undertake some sensible housekeeping amendments relating to ASIO, the establishing legislation for which is showing some definite whiskers. But the government has also put on the table, for consideration, proposals including:

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79 thoughts on “Why has the Right gone missing on the surveillance state?

  1. geomac62

    The two year storage requirement reminds me of the recent campaign by the copyright mob . They security people already have laws to monitor and gather data on people they suspect so why do they need wider laws on everyone ? Until there is someone or an independent department watching the watchers there should be no extension of their reach . Even then there is no justification for widening their powers . I,m not sure its about security at all because they have already have laws to do their ” job ” . Copyright ?

  2. fred bill

    it’s as thought they think terrorists (and i’m under no illusion that they actually exist in the manner the state wishes us to think) will post their intention as a facebook update. also some of the predictable partisan comments i’ve seen (even linking the greens into it) are just ridiculous, and to see andrew wilkie is having a go trumpeting this so-called “overhaul”, well lets just say the odds are stacked against them not going through.

  3. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

    The two years recording of people’s internet traffic is very worrying if some of what is now legal one day becomes illegal.

    We know that Conroy (and Rudd and Gillard) were originally wanting to block all x-rated content as part of their filter.

    Imagine if one day the government not only banned downloading of such content but also possessing it. The government would then have a record of everyone who had legally viewed the content before the change of law. This could lead to it being deemed that it is reasonable to check the computer of some people to ensure that the newly banned content has been deleted or to prosecute those who have not deleted the the content.

    The Alternative Liberal Party (ALP) have made a fuss recently about “Labor values”. I suspect that one reason The Age took so long to report on this is that they don’t want to criticise Labor (and give an example of current Labor values) just before the Melbourne by-election. The story was only covered today because it had become such a major story that they had to cover it.

  4. The Pav

    Just once , I would like the intelligence industry to prove that the infringements of civol liberty has made me safer than if the pre-existing mechanisms had been left in place.

    I am more concerned about ASIO than the Taliban.

    Shame on the ALP the pary of the Murphy Raid.

  5. Down and Out of Sài Gòn

    “Is it because the issue of online freedom is somehow perceived to be one of the Left, despite its strong libertarian dimensions?” Yep. That’s basically it. Free speech for me, but not for thee, says the Right.

  6. Modus Ponens

    Limited News isn’t campaigning on it because they know that the conservatives will back the proposal no questions asked.

    Greens on one side of the House, ALP and tories on the other… a reoccuring motif

  7. David Lilley

    Dear Bernard and others,

    The reason why we hear nothing from many on the right regarding free speech and human rights as laid out in your article is because they actually vehemently believe in the oppression of others’ rights; unless of course it directly affects them (e.g. Andrew Bolt). You only have to look at their track record on Assylum Seekers (or should i say Illegal Immigrants) and workers’ rights to see they don’t much care for anyone who doesn’t see the world their way. So the right will be sitting back scratching their heads as to why Labor is suddenly seeing things their way; ‘the right way’ (pun intended).

  8. Its Business Time

    OK, so what can a lay person do to stop this… Who do we need to contact or is there already an activist site that is fighting this?

  9. lindsayb

    government agents allowed to break laws with impunity, plant “evidence” on “suspects”, gain full access to your computer etc.
    Sounds like the perfect place for a crime boss to set up shop.
    Or a news journalist.

  10. Greg Jones

    The dawning must be awful for people when they wake up that this whole issue is apolitical and nothing to do with Left or Right

    Not a finger lifted by the Liberals, the deafening silence from News Ltd, even Wilkie seems to be giving in, zilch from The IPA….is this Children Of The Corn?

    Draconian security measures are a common thread throughout the whole world and something tells me that if these measures cannot be ushered in through civil, diplomatic methods and political channels, then watch for an event or a series of events of cataclysmic proportions to ensure Job Done. Create the problem provide the fix.

    In this series of articles, Bernard Keane has laid out each case point by point with great context. Tremendous piece.

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