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  1. #1
    mc2
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    Australian Govt wants ISPs to record browsing history

    Companies who provide customers with a connection to the internet may soon have to retain subscriber's private web browsing history for law enforcement to examine when requested, a move which has been widely criticised by industry insiders.
    (Camera video de surveillance
    image by Frédéric Bisson, CC2.0)

    The Attorney-General's Department yesterday confirmed to ZDNet Australia that it had been in discussions with industry on implementing a data retention regime in Australia. Such a regime would require companies providing internet access to log and retain customer's private web browsing history for a certain period of time for law enforcement to access when needed.
    Currently, companies that provide customers with a connection to the internet don't retain or log subscriber's private web browsing history unless they are given an interception warrant by law enforcement, usually approved by a judge. It is only then that companies can legally begin tapping a customer's internet connection.
    In March 2006, the European Union formally adopted its data retention directive (PDF), a directive which the Australian Government said it wished to use as an example if it implemented such a regime.
    "The Attorney-General's Department has been looking at the European Directive on Data Retention, to consider whether such a regime is appropriate within Australia's law enforcement and security context," a statement from the Attorney-General's Department to ZDNet Australia said yesterday. "It has consulted broadly with the telecommunications industry."
    The EU regime requires that the communications providers from certain EU member states retain necessary data as specified in the Directive for a period of between six and 24 months.
    One internet service provider (ISP) source told ZDNet Australia that the Australian regime, if implemented, could go as far as recording each URL a customer visited and all emails.
    That source said such a regime "would be scary and very expensive".
    Another industry source said Australians should "be very f***ing afraid".
    They said the regime being considered by the Australian Government could see data held for much longer than EU Directive time of 24 months — it would be more like five or ten years.
    "They seem quite intent [on implementing the regime] and they keep throwing up the words 'terrorism' and 'paedophiles'," the source said. "We're talking browsing history and emails, way beyond what I would consider to be normal SMS, retaining full browsing history and everything."
    Internet Industry Association (IIA) chief executive officer (CEO) Peter Coroneos also confirmed that the industry was having discussions with the Attorney-General's Department.
    "There has been some preliminary discussions with the Attorney-General's Department about a proposal for a data retention regime in Australia, but I think those discussions are at a very early stage," Coroneos said. He said the IIA hadn't "seen any firm proposals yet from the government".
    "It's more along the lines of [the Attorney-General's Department asking] 'What do you see the issues of being if we were to move to a position similar to the EU'," he said.
    "But as I say, there wouldn't be any intention, I wouldn't think, to move to any policy position on this unless there was a full public debate about the proposal."
    If the idea were to move to a more "serious proposal", Coroneos said the IIA's view would be "to engage not only with the industry but also the community in a proper discussion".
    Electronic Frontier Australia (EFA) chair Colin Jacobs said the regime was "a step too far".
    "At some point data retention laws can be reasonable, but highly-personal information such as browsing history is a step too far," Jacobs said. "You can't treat everybody like a criminal. That would be like tapping people's phones before they are suspected of doing any crime."
    He added that browser history could reveal all sorts of personal information. "And furthermore, the way the internet works, it's a huge amount of data to be kept and it requires some snooping on the part of the ISPs into which [web] pages people are looking at."
    In February, the senate passed a Bill allowing ISPs to intercept traffic as part of "network protection activities". According to an ISP source, it's likely another Bill would be required for a data retention regime to be implemented.
    "It is likely that new legislation will be required to put any [data retention] obligations in place," the source said. "It seems to be early days yet, and we have an election looming, which means there will be some time required to get any new law in place."


    Govt wants ISPs to record browsing history - Communications - News

  2. #2
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    "They seem quite intent [on implementing the regime] and they keep throwing up the words 'terrorism' and 'paedophiles'," the source said. "We're talking browsing history and emails, way beyond what I would consider to be normal SMS, retaining full browsing history and everything."
    Standard operating procedure; "The Children" (TM) and "Terrorism" are used at the front end of a wedge of sweeping restrictions and curbs on the freedoms we fought for.

  3. #3
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    that gives the government access to everything, bank transactions, inland and overseas,if every one decides to start sending joke emails to al quaida or sends loads of stupid messages to govt websites do you think they might get fed up

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by kmart View Post
    "They seem quite intent [on implementing the regime] and they keep throwing up the words 'terrorism' and 'paedophiles'," the source said. "We're talking browsing history and emails, way beyond what I would consider to be normal SMS, retaining full browsing history and everything."
    Standard operating procedure; "The Children" (TM) and "Terrorism" are used at the front end of a wedge of sweeping restrictions and curbs on the freedoms we fought for.

    Used to be the "war on drugs" was used to undermine freedom, now it's this nonsense. The future of the World is truly bleak. Glad I only have another 30 years left. It was both a Brit and an American who said "give me liberty or give me death."

  5. #5
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    Personally, I am not a member of the "Big brother tin foil hat" brigade.

    This one is going a bit too far though.

  6. #6
    Enjoys sheep
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobR View Post
    It was both a Brit and an American who said "give me liberty or give me death."
    I believe Mr Henry's quote has been modified to

    "Give me liberty or give me death unless the government fancy a peek at my private life on the off chance I'm shagging a 5 year old or about to bomb some fucker."

    Have another quote.
    Guilty Until Proven Innocent
    I'm not into rap but Jay-Z got that about right.
    Be happy dudes. It's a lot more fun than crying.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ningi View Post
    if every one decides to start sending joke emails to al quaida or sends loads of stupid messages to govt websites do you think they might get fed up
    Probably not. Would just build more prisons.

    Privatized for profit.

  8. #8
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    Australia's going "New Labour"?! What a shame...

    I wouldn't worry too much.
    It will only serve to prompt the geekarati to develop more sophisticated open source counter-snooping software.

    e.g.:
    Yauba - World's first privacy safe, real-time search engine

    To deal with things like this:
    Debateseek | Speech & Debate Search Engine
    debatescape (debatescape) on Twitter

    I agree that for the most part, the "big brother"-esque aspects are largely a result of the law of unintended consequences.

    It's simply that left-wing governments are instrinsically unintelligent and have a trope for centralised, one-size-fits-all, top-down, paternalistic, statist solutions, because they can't cope with complexity; nor the fact that half the population of most developed countries are probably more intelligent and more capable of running their own lives than their own governments.

    "Tin hat" hysteria does serve a useful purpose in raising awareness amongst the hoi polloi about data protection stuff.
    There is a genuine danger of significant numbers of people becoming dependent on online systems that they lack the time (due to being overworked and underpaid) or training to understand.
    I don't think it's entirely desirable that you can't fix a new car by yourself... not so much because I imagine that the secret service will seize remote robotic control of it to drive me to a rendition centre; but more because it denies people a hobby, and makes them more dependent on computer systems and associated bureaucracy in order to live their lives. Too much dependency on large computer systems is as much an economic risk as it is a censorship risk.

    More to the point, the reason why monitoring people's e-mails won't work, is that once you announce that that is what you are going to do, then you allow your targets to just exploit the analogue hole of just transferring information by hand, after arranging perfectly legal "conferences". At that point, you will be asking a lot of your limited intelligence staff and software resources to examine billions of e-mails with completely innocuous and perfectly legal text. So that's a fundamental conceptual flaw. As Ningi alludes to, there's plenty of other ways to undermine this silly policy idea.

    Essentially, what they are really saying is that they can't cope with and don't know how to deal with the problem and want to use computers to do the work for them, when really it requires dedicated, well-trained, well-supported staff on the ground doing "HUMINT". This has been learnt time and again by the military; and anyone with any acquaintance with the preposterous Gilliamesque bureaucracy and malfunctioning centralised computer systems brought in by the inveterate micromanager and academician regime of New Labour in the UK, will know what I'm on about.

    ISPs in general, don't want to touch this because they know that most computer literate members of the public don't want it; and will resent being policed by a private company on behalf of the government.

    All governments really ought to be getting off their intellectual arses and looking at addressing the root causes of these problems, rather than squandering public resources to create giant databases that futile-ly attempt to firefight a constant stream of "symptoms".

    They really ought to ask this feller for some advice before embarking on this reprehensible folly.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1F2i0rYMj8

    we are all figments of our own imagination.

  9. #9
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    Creating fear is very good business.

  10. #10
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    I am getting really pissed off with the aussie government, its becoming worse than china.

    Wont be long before they demand to know how many sheets of paper it takes to wipe my arse.

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