2006/04/04

Warrantless Snooping? Australians Make Americans Look Like Amateurs

In American we're dealing with Bu$hCo's use of warrantless mass surveillance in the so-called War on Terror But at least in this country scholars mostly agree that the administration's actions are illegal; there's the chance of reversal in the courts; and the 4th Amendment may yet be reasserted to protect the innocent.

Not so Australia, where the Federal Parliament is writing the nearly unfettered ability to snoop on it's citizens into law, and if you think that America's Patriot Act is draconian, Australia's Telecommunications (Interception) Amendment Act takes surveillance to a whole new level. The Sydney Morning Herald notes -
...the Government will be able to access communications not only between the B-party (someone a suspect has communicated with) and the suspect, but also between the B-party and anyone else. If you have unwittingly communicated with a suspect (and thereby become a B-party), the Government may be able to monitor all your conversations with family members, friends, work colleagues, your lawyer and your doctor.

The Government may be able to use the information even though the information is not related to the original suspect. It also does not have to tell you that it has been listening in. While there are some remedies if you have been illegally monitored, these are pointless if you do not know you have come under surveillance.

And we thought we had troubles here in the United States.

9 Comments:

And that's why I won't be moving there. Still looking for the best country.
Thanks kvatch, spread the word! The Howard government are trying to outdo Bush in the fake terrorism war stakes. When it comes to freedom, they seem free to do anything they please. I just hope the place returns to normal before I ever head back there.
For a minute there, I thought your heading read warrantless spooning? My goodness, I must have dyslexia.

Some countries are worse than our, but that fact doens't make me feel any better about the W, Rove and Co's systematic dysmantaling of our constitution.
Actually I should make a correction.

I was incorrect that the surveillance is "warrantless". The act actually does require that a warrant be obtained, but it can come from Australia's equivalent of our Attorney General. In other words, law enforcement only has to go to their own top dog to initiate this nonsense. Imagine, for example, the FBI simply having to ask John Y--I mean Alberto Gonzales to issue the warrant to go after anybody they felt like.
So creepy. And I'd always thought of everything being kind of lose and free down under!

David Hume. Heh. Good editorial, but wow, he must've gotten teased like crazy in his undergraduate history of modern philosophy class.
Well, there's a daisy chain there. Once you have one B you have thousands!
Kvatch- wasn't that pretty much all they had to do here? Its been called "easier than rubber stamping". And at least there is presumably some oversight or tracking.

Who knows, anybody's guess as to scope, purpose, etc. their way.
The Howard government are trying to outdo Bush in the fake terrorism war stakes...I just hope the place returns to normal before I ever head back there.

Cartledge, I was on a plane to Australia the night the Howard government came to power. Halfway across the Pacific, they announced the results of the election. At that moment half of the plane started cheering, and the other half actually started throwing things at them.

I'm not sure "normal" is a term that can be applied to Australia. :-)
Windspike, spooning's next. :-)

Libby, read the above comment...lose maybe...free, not so much.

Lily, you still can't go after and surveill people who aren't connected with the crime in the US, and since it's a Constitutional issue here, we still have a hope of getting abuses stopped. I don't know if a guarantee against unreasonable searches and seizures exists in Australia, but from reading the article, it doesn't look like it.

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