And softly went our privacy into the night
With the passage of the Cybercrime Legislation Amendment Bill 2011 in the Senate yesterday, the Australian government gained the power to demand the storage of citizens’ personal data from telephone and internet usage at the behest of foreign governments. This was necessary, we were told, because Australia had to accede to the European Cybercrime Convention.
The convention, described by the US Electronic Frontier Foundation as “one of the world’s worst internet law treaties”, is designed to enable governments to investigate citizens of other countries for activities ranging from terrorism, fraud and child p-rnography to filesharing, political activism and dissent. Crikey’scoverage of the bill’s progress is here.
In the end, as expected, only the Greens opposed the bill, despite shadow Attorney-General George Brandis’ complaint that the government hadn’t even bothered to respond to the report on the bill by the Senate Committee on Cyber-Safety, which found several serious flaws in the legislation.
Brandis at least showed up for the debate. The performance of Labor MPs and senators in debating this serious intrusion on Australians’ basic rights has been abysmal. Apart from duty minister Joe Ludwig, the only senators from the government side who made the effort to discuss it were Tasmanian Helen Polley and NSW’s Matt Thistlethwaite. Nick Xenophon, Scott Ludlam, who had carriage of the bill for the Greens, Brett Mason and Brandis all spoke on the bill; Ludlam, following an epic effort on cluster munitions immediately before the Cybercrime bill, led questioning of the government and unsuccessfully moved amendments.
It was a similar pattern in the House of Representatives almost exactly a year ago when the bill was passed there: nine Coalition MPs and Adam Bandt spoke on the bill, to only six Labor MPs.
did you hear about it on the news?
or this weekend? no?
both sides totally complicit..in the end they are just making legal what they would be doing anyway..