The Federal Government will soon finalise the complete and ultimate facial recognition records for all Australian citizens.
And Pauline Hanson wants a national ID Card?
A national data base of passport, driver, gun owner and high risk equipment operator licence photos will be kept for access by just whom remains unknown.
Federal and State police, immigration officers and Border Force will have access, but it seems more clandestine bodies will get their hands on your complete identity.
ASIO, ASIS and reciprocal overseas spy agencies will also have access to all of your personal data.
It should be noted that Australia has arrangements with some rather dubious nations for exchanging the personal information of all our citizens.
CCTV footage as depicted in US television shows such as NCIS Los Angeles will end up in captured data as supposedly trained facial recognition experts scan your face while you browse the shopping mall, fuel your car at the service station or sit on a park bench.
Queensland Traffic Police and their contractors have had this technology for three years, photographing you in your car every time you pass a highway patrol vehicle or stationary camera car, storing your image and that of passengers, vehicle description, direction, time and date of travel.
The police cars have infa-red ability and can photograph the driver and all passengers in the car as you pass. By then your number plate will have been read by the on-board computer and sent online to the huge data bank in Roma Street Police HQ and another massive data bank held by the Main Roads Department.
Soon after the facial images of the car occupants will be sent to the national Face Identification Service.
Nearly 80 per cent of people over 16 hold a drivers licence and 55 per cent have a passport. More than 600,000 citizens have a photographic gun licence in Queensland.
Justice Minister Michael Keenan told News Corp that passport photos would be accessed in the coming months and drivers licences would be tapped into after ongoing discussions with the states were finalised.
The Face Identification Service will match a photo of an unknown person against multiple government records to help establish their identity.
“These biometric services will change the face of crime fighting in Australia,” Mr Keenan, a Liberal, said.
The final piece of the identity jigsaw is about to come into place. Tasmania MP Andrew Wilkie has warned Australia will become the police state, test case for the final solution.
The advice of Sydney security expert Mike Petersen: Do not vote at any election. If everybody does this the government will fail and the people can lawfully take control, elect their own representatives and return to Constitutional rule.
Controversial Western Australian senator Rod Culleton has been seriously assaulted and hospitalised allegedly by a former Western Australian politician.
A spokesman for Senator Culleton told Cairns News the assailant attacked the senator from behind, knocking him and a companion to the concrete footpath outside the Perth Magistrates Court.
The assailant, aged 52, was known to the senator and had been ‘annoying’ him for some time, the spokesman said.
Senator Culleton has been admitted to the Perth Hospital for observation and to undergo X-rays for a suspected fractured wrist.
Sources claim the assailant had been a Liberal member of the Western Australian Legislative Council representing the Agricultural Region from 2005 to 2009.
Senator Culleton has filed an appeal against his bankruptcy handed down in the Federal Court before Christmas.
Australia is a mirror image of this report where fear mongering is the tool of government. Replacing CIA John Brennan we have Attorney General, George Brandis [ASIO overlord] for our lies and deceit, catch-phrases “for National Security” that is never challenged by mains stream media marionettes when any of his bullshit hits the press.
CIA director John Brennan. (photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)
NYT Editorial Slams “Disgraceful” CIA Exploitation of Paris Attacks, But Submissive Media Role Is Key
By Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept- New York Times – 19 November 2015
truly superb New York Times editorial this morning mercilessly shames the despicable effort by U.S. government officials to shamelessly exploit the Paris attacks to advance long-standing agendas. Focused on the public campaign of the CIA to manipulate post-Paris public emotions to demonize transparency and privacy and to demand still-greater surveillance powers for themselves, the NYT editors begin:
It’s a wretched yet predictable ritual after each new terrorist attack: Certain politicians and government officials waste no time exploiting the tragedy for their own ends. The remarks on Monday by John Brennan, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, took that to a new and disgraceful low.
The editorial, which you should really read in its entirety, destroys most of the false, exploitative, blame-shifting claims uttered by U.S. officials about these issues. Because intelligence agencies knew of the attackers and received warnings, the NYT editors explain that “the problem in [stopping the Paris attacks] was not a lack of data, but a failure to act on information authorities already had.” They point out that the NSA’s mass surveillance powers to be mildly curbed by post-Snowden reforms are ineffective and, in any event, have not yet stopped. And most importantly, they document that the leader of this lowly campaign, CIA chief John Brennan, has been proven to be an inveterate liar:
It is hard to believe anything Mr. Brennan says. Last year, he bluntly denied that the CIA had illegally hacked into the computers of Senate staff members conducting an investigation into the agency’s detention and torture programs when, in fact, it did. In 2011, when he was President Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser, he claimed that American drone strikes had not killed any civilians, despite clear evidence that they had. And his boss, James Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence, has admitted lying to the Senate on the NSA’s bulk collection of data. Even putting this lack of credibility aside, it’s not clear what extra powers Mr. Brennan is seeking.
Indeed, what more powers could agencies like the CIA, NSA, MI6 and GCHQ get? They’ve been given everything they’ve demanded for years, no questions asked. They have virtually no limits. Of course it’s “not clear what extra powers Mr. Brennan is seeking.” It’s like trying to buy a Christmas gift for Paris Hilton: what do you give to an omnipotent, terrorism-exploiting agency that already has everything it could ever dream of having?
Space constraints likely required the NYT editors to leave several specific CIA lines of deceit unmentioned. To begin with, there’s literally zero evidence that the Paris attackers used encryption. There are reasons to believe they may not have (siblings and people who live near each other have things called “face-to-face communications”).
Even if they had used encryption (which, just by the way, the U.S. government funds and the GOP protected in the 1990s), that would not mean we should abolish it or give the U.S. government full backdoor access to it — any more than face-to-face plotting means we should allow the government to put monitors in everyone’s homes to prevent this type of “going dark.” Silicon Valley has repeatedly said there’s no way to build the U.S. government a “backdoor” that couldn’t also be used by any other state or stateless organization to invade. And that’s to say nothing of all the lies and false claims that I documented several days ago embedded in the Snowden-is-to-blame-for-Paris trash — a low-life propaganda campaign that is not principally about Snowden but really about scaring Silicon Valley out of offering encryption lest they be viewed as ISIS-helpers.
But there’s one vital question the NYT editors do not address: Why do the CIA and other U.S. government factions believe — accurately — that they can get away with such blatant misleading and lying? The answer is clear: because, particularly after a terror attack, large parts of the U.S. media treat U.S. intelligence and military officials with the reverence usually reserved for cult leaders, whereby their every utterance is treated as Gospel, no dissent or contradiction is aired, zero evidence is required to mindlessly swallow their decrees, anonymity is often provided to shield them from accountability, and every official assertion is equated with Truth, no matter how dubious, speculative, evidence-free, or self-serving.
Like many people, I’ve spent years writing about the damage done by how subservient and reverent many U.S. media outlets are toward the government officials they pretend to scrutinize. But not since 2003 have I witnessed anything as supine and uncritical as the CIA-worshipping stenography that has been puked forward this week. Even before the Paris attacks were concluded, a huge portion of the press corps knelt in front of the nearest official with medals on their chest or who flashes covert status, and they’ve stayed in that pitiful position ever since.
The leading cable news networks, when they haven’t been spewing outright bigotry and fearmongering, have hosted one general and CIA official after the next to say whatever they want without the slightest challenge. Print journalists, without the excuse of the pressures of live TV, have been even worse: Article after article after article does literally nothing other than uncritically print the extremely dubious claims of military and intelligence officials without including any questioning, contradiction, dissenters, or evidence that negates those claims.
None of the facts the NYT pointed to this morning to show Brennan is lying and misleading are esoteric or obscure. They’re all right out in the public domain. Countless other people have raised them. But so many journalists steadfastly exclude all of that from their “reporting.” Especially after a terror attack, the already sky-high journalistic worship of security officials skyrockets. Many journalists are in pure servant-stenography mode, not reporting and definitely not questioning claims that emanate from the sacred mouths of these Pentagon and CIA priests. Just look at the reports I cited to see how extreme this obsequious behavior is. What can excuse “reporting” like this?
This, of course, is how propaganda is cemented: not by government officials making dubious, self-serving claims (they’ll always be motivated to do that), but by people who play the role of “journalist” on TV and in print acting as their spokespeople, literally suppressing all the reasons why the officials’ claims are so questionable if not outright false.
Kudos to the NYT editors for pulling no punches this morning in making all this deceit manifest. But the real culprits aren’t the government officials spewing this manipulative tripe but the journalists who not only let them get away with it but, so much worse, eagerly help.
Americans mobilise to keep the Internet. This Bill will have adverse effects on Australian Internet users
This is the last 24 hours to do anything to stop CISA, the biggest mass surveillance bill since the Patriot Act. We’re running out of time to save what freedom we have left on the Internet.
Fortunately, we have a plan to get the job done. Recent research shows that the best way to get senators’ attention is by tweeting at them because it holds them publicly accountable — so we built a tool that makes it easier than ever before to rain down a fiery storm of tweets on the Senate.
CISA would, for the first time, create an explicit online data sharing and prosecution agreement between companies and the government. Seven federal agencies and the FBI can use that data for many purposes, including building cases around suspicion of small crimes, like fake id’s. The lobbyists behind CISA claim it would help cybersecurity, but this bill isn’t written so they only get cyberthreat indicators. This bill is much, much more than just that, and no independent expert thinks it would do anything to make us more secure.
We need about a dozen more senators to understand that CISA is not what they’ve been told by the lobbyists. Some tech companies, like Apple and Twitter, have already begun calling on senators to oppose CISA for privacy reasons, and everyone outside of the D.C. bubble already thinks this is a horrible, privacy-destroying bill. We need to break through the lobbyist buzz and make sure our senators know that CISA is actually going to make the Internet less safe and less secure.
We’ve been hammering the Senate with opposition to CISA, but the companies that are lobbying for immunity have more connections and give more money to politicians. We just learned that Facebook is using their connections on the Hill to secretly lobby for CISA while trying to appear indifferent publicly.
It only takes 10 or so tweets on a topic for a Senate office to notice, and most offices say they factor in tweets when deciding how to vote on bills. Many offices seem to be up in the air on CISA right now, with tech companies and other industries pulling them in opposite directions. If we can show them that their constituents stand solidly against CISA, we have a shot at securing the votes we need to stop this from passing.
Senators want to be able to say they did something for “cybersecurity,” but if they think the Internet is up in arms they won’t want to be on the wrong side. Right now the companies that want immunity have more traction than Internet users who want their privacy respected because of their money and corrupt lobbying practices.
Companies like Comcast, Facebook, and Bank of America are lobbying Congress to pass CISA so they can do whatever they want with your data. These companies want CISA for the legal immunity, and the Intelligence community wants it to get more data on people’s Internet communications. This bill would give more power to institutions that already have way too much power while taking away the basic rights of ordinary people who have already had so much taken from them.
We’ve come so far already in this fight against CISA. Congress has tried to pass legislation like this over and over and each time we’ve been able to beat it back because of people like you.
Now, we need to make this the death blow to CISA today.
We hope you’ll stand with us on the right side of history, and help fight this bill before it’s too late.
Shameful: @Facebook secretly backing Senate’s zombie #CISA surveillance bill while publicly pretending to oppose it. https://boingboing.net/2015/10/24/petition-facebook-betrayed-us.html …
· Retweets 5,582
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2:43 PM – 25 Oct 2015
· For the future,
– Donny, Tiffiniy, Evan, Holmes, Jeff, Charlie, Aki, Jessica, Sarah,
P.S. Check this out — it’s not just us that’s been on Facebook for secretly lobbying for CISA — even Edward Snowden tweeted about our campaign over the weekend.
Whistleblower Mamdouh Habib(above) is accusing the Australian government of obstructing and sabotaging his ongoing court case in Egypt, in retaliation for allegations Habib levelled at ASIO over its highly unusual activities before and during the 15 December Sydney siege.
In February, Habib travelled to Egypt, where he is seeking redress in an Alexandria court for the torture he suffered in Egypt in 2001–02 under the discredited Mubarak regime, after having been rendered to Egypt by ASIO. He reports that although the Australian government is not a party to his case, the Australian authorities through an embassy representative have interfered twice in the court proceedings, first on 15 March and then on 28 May.
The interference Habib is alleging includes: an Australian embassy lawyer participating directly in the court hearing, even though the Australian government is not a party to the case; blocking Habib’s star witness from entering the country to testify; and persuading Habib’s lawyer to withdraw from the case and hand over his evidence to the opposing lawyers. These instances of recent interference follow years of Australian government obstruction of his case by, among other things, refusing to certify documents he successfully used in evidence in Australia, so he can use them now in Egypt.
Following the 15 March instance of alleged Australian government interference, Habib on 27 March wrote to Attorney-General George Brandis to accuse ASIO of responsibility for the interference. He then made the following explosive allegation about the Sydney siege:
“I further bring to your attention, that I believe ASIO’s interference in my case [is linked] to what’s being said [by Habib –ed.] publicly about ASIO and the 15 December 2014 Sydney siege terrorist attack. I have reported that I first met hostage-taker Man Haron Monis in 2007 when I was running for office. Haron offered to help me in my campaign, and I knew Haron well from that time until the siege at Sydney’s Martin Place 15 December 2014.”
Habib continued: “On the day of the siege, I offered to negotiate with the gunman, but police refused. I contacted the Commonwealth Attorney-General office twice to negotiate with Haron. My call was transferred through to ASIO to whom I repeated my offer but was more careful, because I feared ASIO was involved. I contacted police again and explained that I knew Haron well; that Haron might be mentally disturbed but he was not violent and he wouldn’t harm anyone. I confirmed to the officer, if I was given the chance to speak with Haron I could get him to surrender. My offer was rejected, and this is when I realized that the siege was being handled as a terrorist attack, I told police that ASIO was intending to kill this man, and if that happens the Government would be responsible if any lives were lost.
“That raises serious questions about the handling of the siege, as it is a common practice to use someone that the hostage-taker might respect.”
Man Haron Monis – Sydney siege gunman
Habib then revealed, “Prior to the Sydney siege, Haron informed me that ASIO wanted him to do some sort of job in order for him to be reunited with his children and leave the Country with [sic] different identity and that he needed someone else to help him. He never confirmed what the job ASIO wanted him to do was. But ASIO said to him that if Habib helps in that job they would assist in settling my case overseas. I will release the full story in relation to this matter if I receive a fair public investigation.”
These revelations from Habib, and his allegation against ASIO, are so explosive that he must be called to testify before the inquest presently underway into the Sydney siege. However, when the Attorney-General’s Department replied to Habib, on 1 June 2015, their letter completely ignored his allegations pertaining to ASIO and the Sydney siege. The department chose, instead, to deny any interference in his civil case in Egypt (although they did concede an Australian embassy lawyer attended the hearing, which is itself an admission, given that Australia has no involvement in the case).
Mamdouh Habib is a credible witness against ASIO. In December 2010, following years of denial, the Australian government suddenly reached a confidential financial settlement with Habib, to settle his claim for damages against the Commonwealth Government for his detention and torture in 2001-2002. Habib had insisted that not only had ASIO rendered him to Egypt to be brutally tortured, but that an ASIO officer had actually been present during his torture. Habib was vindicated when an Egyptian official came forward and confirmed his charge, and even named the ASIO officer.
The Australian government admitted ASIO’s wrongdoing by its actions, if not its words. Aside from the financial settlement, ASIO went into full damage control, returning Habib’s passport and declaring him not to be a threat to national security. In Habib’s final security assessment interview with ASIO in early 2011, a senior ASIO officer said to him and his wife Maha, “You have every right to be mad and angry at this country.”
Habib’s present experiences raise the question: is ASIO again targeting him, because of his willingness to speak out about firsthand knowledge of ASIO’s involvement with Man Haron Monis? Habib isn’t just embarrassing ASIO, because the latter is both historically and presently merely a branch office of Britain’s intelligence services (in particular of MI5), and these British agencies are deeply involved in running international terrorism and provocations of all sorts, as the CEC and the LaRouche organisation internationally have exposed for decades now, most recently in a featured speech at the CEC’s 28-29 March international conference in Melbourne, “Who is sponsoring international terrorism?”
It is of vital importance to Australia’s national security that Mamdouh Habib give his testimony to the NSW Coronial Inquest into the Sydney siege, and that the Australian government cease any actions to obstruct Habib’s legal case. –from Citizens Electoral Council, Melbourne
Abbott is asking innocent law-abiding phone users to allow the mother of all police states to keep phone and net data
Nick Ross ABC Technology and Games Updated 20 Feb 2015 (First posted 19 Feb 2015)
Google shows you exactly where you were and when. Soon the government will know this too.
- Related Story: Why are people so worried about data retention and the National Security Inquiry? Nick Ross 28 Sep 2012
If politicians talking about metadata storage bore you to tears, perhaps you’d be interested in seeing how the tedious talk translates into reality? Thanks to Google, we can see exactly what’s in store for all Australians because it’s been doing this – often without people knowing – for years already.
For many people in Australia, clicking the following link will make them gasp.
For the increasingly few of us who haven’t used a Google account on a smartphone (or who currently haven’t signed in), what you’d be looking at is your Location History plotted on a map. Unless you’ve actively taken steps to stop it, Google has been automatically recording of your location every 45 seconds and time stamping each coordinate.
It’s amazingly easy to search where you were on which day: there’s a calendar in the top left, there are individual days below it, clicking on the times (to the second) below them instantly zooms you into your exact location on the map. Beneath the map is a timeline for the month which lets you quickly zoom into specific areas and clicking on the dots on the map shows you exactly what time you were there. Awesome, right?
Here it is up close. This is part of my (now very public) trip down to Bowral. My position has been recorded every 45 seconds. You can literally go back in time and see if I was speeding!
But while you can opt out of this Google tracking and delete your history, the government is wanting to store all of this information (and a whole lot more) for at least two years in the name of preventing crime, terrorism, child abuse etc. You don’t even need to have a smartphone, any mobile will do. What’s more, any law-enforcement official can access it without a warrant. The potential applications are mind boggling.
Simple apps could be developed that worked out who was speeding, when and where – whether it’s a motorway or a School Zone – and there’d be no escape. It would be like a national-level, Average Speed Camera. It could possibly even help to reduce traffic by removing persistent offenders from the roads.
But that’s not all. If you’ve heard businesses talk about Big Data in recent years, you’d be aware that analytics software is all the rage nowadays. With so much data gathered from the Australian populace, all kinds of correlations and interconnections could be made. The potential for catching criminals and spying on people is off the scale. [Update: Thanks to Twitter user @fijma for providing the link to this fascinating explainer of metadata analytics and how it could have been used to discover Paul Revere.]
Just think of the fun you could have with all that information and some low-level programming skills which, say, automatically went through records and found search terms for people’s embarrassing medical problems (which would also be stored as metadata) with nearby trips to doctors’ offices, clinics or hospitals.
You could find out where people of note spend their time, whether they’re celebrities, politicians, criminals, journalists, whistleblowers, ex-girlfriends or husbands. You could see what shock-jocks get up to when they’re not on the radio? Which celebrities are meeting up with other celebrities and at which times of day? Or night. You’d be able to set up alerts if someone went somewhere unusual or to a location they shouldn’t be near.
Turning your phone off only highlights gaps in the timeline and draws attention to areas in which you’ve been. Imagine, for instance, analytics being able to identify all phones that get turned off for an hour in the exact same location as brothels?
With no warrant needed, this is all easily available to bored police officers and officials. Presumably related professionals such as private investigators could make enquiries too.
It could even help clean up politics. If a high-powered politician wanted to see who another rival was speaking to or meeting with, it would be simple to find out. Police officers themselves would have to be on exemplary terms with all of their colleagues, overseers and underlings. The same goes for their spouses.
If this sounds hard to swallow, it’s worth noting that as we wrote this article a police whistleblower contacted the ABC’s Download This Show and said that the lack of oversight is already causing this to happen.
Nobody will be able to hide from anything: people they’ve met, places they’ve been or how long they were there and who they called. Going back years. Criminals couldn’t leave phones at home, turn them off or post them somewhere else: alibis would have to be established by sending phones on a believable, trackable journey.
Hopefully the information will be securely stored and not get hacked. One can only imagine what would happen with scurrilous dirt and location information getting into the hands of cyber criminals, extortionists, bored hackers looking for laughs, suspicious employers, journalists, paedophiles, terrorists and the like. But grand-scale hacks only happen a few dozen times per year.
Going off grid might sound like an option but is it really possible to do that in this day and age? The average Australian already has five connected devices and smartphone penetration is already at 75 per cent. While not everyone has a connected watch, it will be normal soon: the explosion of the Internet of Things will soon see all sorts of appliances and things like your car connected online.
Many people would freak out at the thought of having all movements recorded. Those who aren’t familiar with tech tend not to question policies that sound tedious and claim to prevent crime, terrorism and child molesting. But there are fleas which come with this hi-tech guard dog and the above merely describes just one small area of what’s going to be collected.
[Update: Extra links and info from social media discussion]
This article is being discussed on reddit, here.
The iPhone has something similar anyway. Just go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services > Frequent Locations (You can also disable it – and it is even creepier because it can tell when you were actually there or just passing through and it knows EXACTLY when you arrive and leave.) From doggie015
Crikey – Data retention will hurt YOU, not criminals. Here’s how via kqqw
TED Talk – Malte Spitz – Your phone company is watching via sciencetaco
Palmer United Party senator Lazurus says internet “greatest threat to our existence”
Terror laws clear Senate, enabling entire Australian web to be monitored and whistleblowers to be jailed
Date September 26, 2014
Deputy technology editor
Terror laws enabling internet monitoring clear Senate
Australia’s spy agency could soon have the power to monitor the entire Australian internet after new anti-terrorism laws passed the Senate on Thursday night.
Australian spies will soon have the power to monitor the entire Australian internet with just one warrant, and journalists and whistleblowers will face up to 10 years’ jail for disclosing classified information.
The government’s first tranche of tougher anti-terrorism bills, which will beef up the powers of the domestic spy agency ASIO, passed the Senate by 44 votes to 12 on Thursday night with bipartisan support from Labor.
Attorney-General George Brandis praised the laws being passed. Photo: Andrew Meares
The bill, the National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2014, will now be sent to the House of Representatives, where passage is all but guaranteed on Tuesday at the earliest.
Anyone – including journalists, whistleblowers and bloggers – who “recklessly” discloses “information … [that] relates to a special intelligence operation” faces up to 10 years’ jail.
Any operation can be declared “special” by an authorised ASIO officer
The senate voted on the bill on Thursday night.
This also gives ASIO immunity for criminal and civil liability in certain circumstances.
Many, including lawyers and academics, have said they fear the agency will abuse this power.
Those who identify ASIO agents could also face a decade in prison under the new bill, a tenfold increase on the existing maximum penalty.
The new bill also allows ASIO to seek just one warrant to access a limitless number of computers on a computer network when attempting to monitor a target, which lawyers, rights groups, academics and Australian media organisations have condemned.
They said this would effectively allow the entire internet to be monitored, as it is a “network of networks” and the bill does not specifically define what a computer network is.
ASIO will also be able to copy, delete, or modify the data held on any of the computers it has a warrant to monitor.
The bill also allows ASIO to disrupt target computers, and use innocent third-party computers not targeted in order to access a target computer.
Professor George Williams of the University of NSW has warned previously the bill was too broad.
And, unlike the government’s controversial plans to get internet providers to store metadata for up to two years, the bill passed on Thursday allows for the content of communications to be stored.
Most groups that had complained about the new bill also said they feared its disclosure offences went too far, with the Australian Lawyers Alliance saying they would have “not just a chilling effect but a freezing effect” on national security reporting.
Attorney-General George Brandis did not seek to allay their concerns on Thursday but said that, in a “newly dangerous age”, it was vital that those protecting Australia were equipped with the powers and capabilities they needed.
When the bill passed on Thursday night, he said it was the most important reform for Australia’s intelligence agencies since the late 1970s.
On Wednesday afternoon, Senator Brandis confirmed that, under the legislation, ASIO would be able to use just one warrant to access numerous devices on a network.
The warrant would be issued by the director-general of ASIO or his deputy.
“There is no arbitrary or artificial limit on the number of devices,” Senator Brandis told the Senate.
However, Senator Brandis did say on Thursday that the new bills did not target journalists specifically, despite concerns from media organisations that they would be targets.
The new legislation instead targeted those who leaked classified information, such as the former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, Senator Brandis said.
“These provisions have nothing to do with the press.”
Despite this, Senator Brandis refused to say whether reporting on cases similar to Australia’s foreign spy agency ASIS allegedly bugging East Timor’s cabinet and the Australian Signals Directorate tapping the Indonesian president and his wife’s mobile phone would result in journalists or whistleblowers being jailed.
The Australian Greens, through Senator Scott Ludlam, put forward an amendment that would limit the number of computers ASIO could access with one warrant to 20 but it failed to gain support from Labor or the government.
Speaking after the bill passed, Senator Ludlam told Fairfax Media he was disappointed.
“What we’ve seen [tonight] is, I think, a scary, disproportionate and unnecessary expansion of coercive surveillance powers that will not make anybody any safer but that affect freedoms that have been quite hard fought for and hard won over a period of decades,” Senator Ludlam said.
“I have very grave concerns about the direction that the Australian government seems to be suddenly taking the country.”
Independent Senator Nick Xenophon and Liberal Democratic Senator David Leyonhjelm also put forward amendments that would protect whistleblowers but these did not gain enough support either.
The legislation, which also covers a number of other issues, addresses many of the recommendations of a joint parliamentary inquiry into Australia’s national security laws.
After concerns were raised by Labor and Senator Leyonhjelm, the government agreed to amend the legislation to specifically rule out ASIO using torture.
“ASIO cannot, does not and has never engaged in torture,” Senator Brandis said.
The Palmer United Party was also successful in amending the law so anyone who exposes an undercover ASIO operative could face up to 10 years behind bars instead of one.
“The internet poses one of the greatest threats to our existence,” Palmer United Party Senator Glen Lazarus said, speaking out against Senator Ludlam’s amendment.
The Australian Greens voted against the bill, slamming the new measures as extreme and a “relentless expansion of powers” of the surveillance state.
Senator Leyonhjelm and Senator Xenophon also opposed the legislation, as did independent Senator John Madigan.
One of the amendments put forward by Senator Xenophon would have required ASIO’s watchdog, the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, to report publicly each year on how many devices ASIO accessed.
But Labor and the government voted against it, with Senator Brandis saying it “would not be appropriate” to report figures as it would reveal information about ASIO’s capabilities.
The legal changes come amid growing concern over Islamic State extremists in the Middle East and terrorism threats at home.
Islamic State (also known as ISIL) has ordered followers to target civilian Australians.
In less than a week, police in two states launched the biggest counter-terrorism raids in Australia’s history, and shot dead a known terrorist suspect after he stabbed two officers in Melbourne.
A second anti-terrorism bill targeting foreign fighters was introduced in the Senate on Wednesday and will be debated next month.
These changes have opposition support and would make it a criminal office to travel to a terrorist hot-spot without a reasonable excuse.
A third bill enabling the collection of internet and phone metadata for a period of up to two years for warrantless access by law-enforcement and spy agencies will be introduced later this year.