The processing of amendments was a tiresome and uninspiring event as Australia was put through Jacqui Lambi’s atrocious public speaking. Together with her erroneous use of the Winston Churchill quote, (saying that it was George Orwell) ” we sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm” which basically sums up Palmer United Party in one syllable. Just as events seemed to take a course for reason Senator Lazarus spruiked his love for all things ASIO like some mechanical toy giggling at his own inability to pronounce “big words”.
Finally, Senators Xenophon and Ludlam both gallantly made motions and together voiced concerns over the way the bills were heading.
Alas, regardless of the erudite arguments and some not so, the Bill was agreed and reported, 44 to 12.
Senator Brandis was quick to explain the idea of “gradation of consideration” in sentencing with regard to Senator Xenophon’s concern. This would be used in the sentencing of a person who was explicitly undermining an ASIO Operation or ASIO operatives through media leaks and other unauthorised means which could result in harm coming to those Agents. However, Senator Brandis omits the fact that a citizen under such a charge would spend many years in jail, his life ruined and his family estranged by the time a court appearance would be announced.
Cases just like this are becoming common place as agencies of Government misinterpret the intentions of a free speech press and react with knee jerk convictions and subpoenas doing little more than to cause havoc in citizens lives and fertilise the seeds of institutional distrust.
Unscrupulous agents with vindictive dispositions bent on revenge, would seize upon this change of law and in an attempt to shut down an activist or movement by planting evidence and concocting circumstances to cause a targeted suspect to be arrested and held without bail until trial. During this time no reporting or media coverage would be allowed as it could be construed as interfering with an ongoing ASIO Operation.
ASIO will have increased powers of surveillance with which they will able to surveil the complete network of sites which a suspect visits. This will be done with a single warrant. The question which arises in this regard is to how many links or hops does this allow. For example would it include all of the followers of a twitter account, or all the friends on a FaceBook Page? One , two or three hop. The concern for ‘over reach’ and ‘over sight’ raised in the Senate become a stark reminder of the bare rule of law.
George Brandis explaining ‘gradation of consideration“
The Bill now passes to the House of Representatives 30th September 2014.
Further concern regarding this legislation..
Further, is the alarming element is Schedule 2, Division 7 – Loss of family assistance for individuals on security grounds
“Individuals who might prejudice the security of Australia or a foreign country may lose family assistance.”
This lends itself to the “if you can’t get the man, get his family.”
The activist needs to become increasing aware and understand the mechanisms and tools of privacy and encryption. Not just the complicated PGP with private and public keys, but the basic privacy already available in the software. Understand how to hide your WiFi, how to search the internet anonymously, to use two step verification, to clear cookies and opt out of website tracking. Learn new habits, research, ask questions, read the instruction, read the privacy policies. Ask how long a VPN service keeps users data, change default settings in your internet router, your phone, your tablet. Seasonally change your passwords, change your emails around, dump old ones, start new ones, back up your data, encrypt your hard drive, use external storage devices which you can carry in your pocket or key chain. Lazy habits will end in tears, be aware and informed, question everything.
Security may be a myth, but it does n’t mean you have to aid and abet the machine. Make it’s job harder, not easier.
30th September 2014 Moved to a second sitting 1st October 2014
1st October 2014 The first of two Counter Terror Legislation Amendment Bills pass House of Representatives.
As the law passed Christopher Warren, Federal Secretary at Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance, speaking on ABC in regard to journalism and the legislation changes in regard to reporting on ASIO. (1st October 2014)