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Thread: Internet Freedom/Filtering

Author Image Gerry Patterson. The world's most humble blogger
Open the pod bay doors, please HAL

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Date: Thu, 7 Aug 2014 22:46:12 +1000

In an effort to get in touch with the "common man" and wear his computer illiteracy proudly on his sleeve, Tony Abbott announced during the 2010 election campaign that he was "no tech-head" ... He then went on to prove it ... By displaying his ignorance about computing technology ... It seems that not much has changed in four years. Recently our prime minister tried to demonstrate his ignorance of metadata ... Which he did comprehensively in an interview on Wednesday. His Attorney-General, George Brandis, then decided to weigh in to the debate and let us all know that his ignorance of the topic was every bit as comprehensive ...

Which is kinda worrying since the Attorney General is like his leader, currently advocating that service providers should be required by law to retain metadata for up to 48 months to help with (unspecified) law-enforcement activities.

Now dear reader your blogger is merely a humble programmer, with little in-depth knowledge of legal matters, but it seems that if one is contemplating legislation about something one should know at least the basics of what that something is ... And it seems to your humble blogger that Mr. Abbott and Mr. Brandis both should have done some homework before speaking out about the issue.

Although it is true that various forms of these and similar data are being retained by many folks ... Service providers (for legitimate billing purposes), big data entities (to help you find "stuff" and to advertise "other stuff") ... And the American intelligence agencies (for nefarious purposes) ... A law which mandates that certain types of data should be retained by Australian providers in a certain format for a certain period will become another tedious layer of red-tape that will impose an additional cost on providers ... And so dear reader, would you care to guess who is, ultimately, going to bear these additional costs? Go on ... Have a guess!

And in your blogger's most humble opinion, any additional powers given to law enforcement authorities are far more likely to be used to cover up the bungling and incompetence of those same entities and their political masters then it is to be used to apprehend evil terrorists and bikie gangsters.

Because the truth is there is already plenty of laws against extortion with menaces, slavery, armed robbery, murder and conspiracy to commit any of the above ... And generally speaking law enforcement authorities need only enforce the existing laws using the extensive powers that they already have, and have been given since the 2001 terrorist attack ... And they certainly do not need any additional powers.

Past experience has shown that power corrupts ... The Hicks, Haneef, Wikileaks and Snowden cases seem to indicate that comprehensive powers of surveillance often target dissenters who object to the same powers ...

Sadly if the Abbott government is able to pass their legislation to deregulate University fees it will become more expensive for young Australians to understand the basics of metadata ... Thankfully they won't be dissenting ... They will be too busy trying to comply with another onerous layer of red-tape that the un-Liberals intend to impose on all young unemployed ...

Update 2014-08-08: Minister for Communications Malcolm Turnbull hit the airwaves on Friday morning to try and clean up the mess left by the two non-tech-head dodos yesterday. Although your blogger might opine that Abbott and Brandis have left it a bit late to call tech support ... They probably should have done that before putting their large clumsy feet into their tiny little mouths ... After such an inauspicious start, these un-Liberal proposals are probably going to be treated less than kindly by media, the general public and possibly the senate.

Related Item: Federal security agencies given additional powers of surveillance and secrecy.

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