ANU data breach

Crikey readers are not taking the government’s impending (and Labor-supported) anti-encryption legislation lying down. Plucking the choice comments from the robust discussion of Bernard Keane’s story on the issue was no easy feat, as readers examined every angle. Meanwhile, the introduction of gas fracking to WA reignited old concerns about the practice.

On the government’s encryption bill

Don_from_Melb writes: It is complete “security theatre”: it seems like the government is “doing something” to make us safer, but in this case all that is happening is that every Australian will be less secure online.

MarcusTheFuturist writes: Oh and let’s not forget that, under the disastrous TPP, foreign companies will be able to sue the Australian government for any action that causes them a loss in current or potential future profits — dealing with a hacking scandal will be paid for by the Australian taxpayer.

AverageAussie writes: As an IT guy for a large Australian company, I can tell you that this will work in the following ways:

Step 1. One of our staff clicks on a dumb link in a phishing email and gets some commodity malware.

Step 2. Some hacker uses that malware to connect to spurious sites flagged by ASIO.

Step 3. The government uses this new law to load Malware throughout all of our company systems.

Step 4. Hackers have full access and send flowers to the Australian government by way of thanks.

Well done government. You’ve just legislated the door to IT hell.

Sean Arthur writes: I am confident that whatever their silly plans about introducing “back doors” or otherwise weakening encryption it will never work. Any company allowing back doors (even if forced to) would become an ex-company very quickly. Apple isn’t the only phone company out there. Messaging apps exist by the bucketful.

Robert Garnett writes: I think that there are two elements that contribute to this behaviour. Firstly, Australians are incredibly insulated from the nastiness of the world by virtue of our small population, our remoteness and the fact that economically we have been very lucky to have things that the world wants — gas, iron ore and coal. We also have a democracy that doesn’t have a president, has bicameral governments and compulsory voting. These things provide for a relatively well fed and complacent population.

The other element is our complete disregard for history. History is completely irrelevant to 99% percent of Australians. History is what happened to other people, not them.

On the fracking push in WA 

Dog’s breakfast writes: Even highly regulated, it isn’t a low risk operation, unless you don’t care about fugitive emissions, turning ground water into waste water that always seems to have much higher concentrations of toxic substances than is ever admitted to by industry. Then there are all the examples in the great artesian basin where water despoliation cannot be restricted to the area being mined. The industry is replete with examples of dodgy projects and outcomes, and then not paying any tax just to top it all off.

And for what? Gas we don’t need, spoiling water reserves that we may well do. All at a time when carbon emissions need to be reduced and then eliminated in a hurry. It’s beyond brain dead. It’s callous in its indifference.

Send your comments, corrections, clarifications and cock-ups to [email protected]. We reserve the right to edit comments for length and clarity. Please include your full name.

Peter Fray

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