Aug 5, 2014

‘Nothing to hide, nothing to fear’: whistleblowers warn of threats to privacy

As cabinet debates data retention laws for Australia, US whistleblowers Thomas Drake and Jesselyn Radack remind us that "the people are supposed the govern the government, not the other way around".

Margot Saville — <em>Crikey</em> Sydney reporter

Margot Saville

Crikey Sydney reporter

With highly contested proposals for increased data retention possibly due before federal cabinet today, last night’s discussion in Sydney by two prominent American whistleblowers was a timely reminder of the dangers of giving governments too much power.

US whistleblower Thomas Drake, a former senior employee of the United States National Security Agency, and Edward Snowden’s US defence lawyer Jesselyn Radack were interviewed by ABC broadcaster Quentin Dempster about the threats to privacy arising from increased digital surveillance. During the event, put on by the Walkley Foundation, they also spoke from a personal viewpoint about the pressures whistleblowers confront in revealing what governments are doing in our name.

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5 thoughts on “‘Nothing to hide, nothing to fear’: whistleblowers warn of threats to privacy

  1. klewso

    There’s something about this “Trust Big Brother” argument, whenever I hear them mouth “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear” – so why do they hate the likes of Snowden, Assange and other whistleblowers?

  2. klewso

    I can see the Abbott questionnaire now – “When did you stop being a terrorist?”

  3. Yclept

    If it’s so clear cut why doesn’t business and government like their data to be revealed, why is everything so super secret. Hey Tony why won’t you reveal the donations to your party when they happen – nothing to hide???

  4. Margot Saville

    great comments, thanks. Yes, Yclept, that’s a very good point. I’m going to NSW ICAC tomorrow where that whole question of the transparency of political donations will be front and centre..

  5. AR

    The 2005-7 Customs whistle blower case was opened & closed by the Crown admitting that their entire case was based on the circumstantial evidence (two phone calls – without bothering to prove their origin or destination) and the jury of 12 peers agreed.
    When the only tool is a hammer, too much looks like a nail.
    We should not be mollified and comforted by the neologism metadata, aka ‘circumstantial evidence’.
    As the ex head of the NSA said recently, “we kill people on the basis of metadata”. aka ‘circumstantial evidence’.
    When the only tool is a hammer, too much looks like a nail.

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