Titus Stahl

The End of Online Privacy for Australians

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Australia’s new surveillance laws will force internet service providers to record “metadata” on all online activity. Law enforcement agencies can access these records without any judicial oversight — it’s pretty much predictable that they will go on fishing expeditions for embarassing data of anyone some particular agency does not like.

There is nothing in the Act to prevent investigative “fishing expeditions” or systemic abuse of power except for retrospective oversight by the Commonwealth Ombudsman. That’s if you somehow found out about an agency looking into your metadata – which is unlikely, as there’s a two-year jail sentence for anyone caught revealing information about instances of metadata access.

So, not only do Australians do not have any privacy online — at least as long as they are not using something like Tor — but they are legally barred from knowing what is done with their data.