Snowden says Australian Surveillance Laws are Dangerous

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NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has urged the Australian people to oppose Australia’s new data retention bill. Passed in March, the law forces internet service providers and telecos’ to store personal data for a minimum of 2 years.

“Under the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill 2015, service providers will be required by law to store data such as account holder names and addresses; date, time and duration of communications; the recipient of communications; and the location of equipment used for communications, including cell towers and Wi-Fi hotspots.” [1]

Snowden

Addressing Australian audiences from Moscow, Snowden emphasizes the impact of the new law on the citizenship of the ‘lucky country.’

“Australia’s role in mass surveillance around the world is similar to the UK and the Tempora program.” He continued, “They’ll collect everyone’s communications, it’s called pre-criminal investigation, which means they are watching everyone all the time. They can search through that information not just in Australia but also share with overseas governments such as the US and UK.” [2]

He alluded to the idea that a government’s prioritization is perhaps more aimed at the opposition than potential terrorism. Confrontational journalists, and activists, that may create issues for the establishment are highlighted by Snowden’s concern. “Under these mandatory metadata laws you can immediately see who journalists are contacting, from which you can derive who their sources are.” Snowden claimed.

Australia’s media union has also raised concerns with the new law passed, about press freedoms and protecting sources. Prime Minister Tony Abbott tried to diffuse concerns by reiterating that a warrant process would be overseen by a Government-appointed “public interest advocate.”[3]

[1] Reilly, C. Mandatory Data Retention laws pass Australian Parliament. Retrieved from http://www.cnet.com/au/news/mandatory-data-retention-laws-pass-parliament/

[2] Milman, O. Edward Snowden says Australia’s new data retention laws are ‘dangerous’ Retrieved from Edward Snowden says Australia’s new data retention laws are ‘dangerous’

[3] Reilly, C. PM proposes warrant to access journalists’ metadata. Retrieved from http://www.cnet.com/au/news/pm-proposes-warrants-to-access-journalists-metadata/


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