What opposition party?

EVERY call you make. Every email you send. They’ll be watching you.

The government’s controversial data retention laws have officially passed the House of Representatives, with all but three MPs voting in favour of the bill.

It was revealed earlier today that Labor would be siding with the Coalition after the two parties worked together to make amendments to the bill, with most of those revolving around journalists.

The deal will create a public interest advocate to assess warrants for the metadata of journalists.

The advocate will be able to make submissions in response to applications for warrants on matters of public interest.

It’s understood the advocate will be a senior barrister and appointed by the prime minister.

The government has also agreed to a presumption against issuing a warrant, meaning police or intelligence agencies must meet a higher threshold to get the warrant.

The agency seeking the warrant will also have to demonstrate they have tried to access the information in question by other means.

This is despite the head of parliament’s intelligence committee saying journalists should not be exempt from the new laws – on the off chance they could be paedophiles.

Mr Tehan said his committee had been wary of making specific groups such as journalists exempt from metadata retention.

“For instance what happens if a journalist is a paedophile?” Mr Tehan told AAP.

“Are you telling me that there has been no journalist in the history of journalism who has ever committed a serious crime?” Mr Tehan acknowledged all the journalists he knew were “very good, honest hardworking decent people”.

These men want your data.

These men want your data.Source:News Corp Australia

What data will they keep?

It’s called metadata. When it comes to phone calls, metadata is mostly just a record of who you call and for how long.

But when it comes to the internet, a lot more is stored:

● Every email you send, to whom, at what time, where you sent it from and the subject of it;

● The location you took a photo, the settings you took the picture with and the camera model;

● All the information you post about yourself on social media plus when, where and how long you were logged in for;

● What you searched for on Google, the results that appeared and the sites you eventually clicked on;

● The web pages you visit, when you visited those pages, hardware details about your computer and even login details if you use auto-fill password features.

Metadata can already be accessed without a warrant for criminal and intelligence investigations, but monitoring of internet or telephone use over a period of time requires a warrant from the Attorney-General.

Attorney-General George Brandis, the person leading the bill.

Attorney-General George Brandis, the person leading the bill.Source:AAP

Why are they keeping it?

The government says the new measures are all in the name of protecting the country from terror threats, and are a response to the increase in Australian jihadists fighting overseas.

The United Kingdom adopted similar data retention laws last year following advice from MI6 about an increased terror threat in Europe.

Despite that, earlier this week, Edward Snowden warned that data retention won’t stop terrorist attacks. He referenced both the Sydney siege and Charlie Hedbo attacks, noting that the attackers in both incidents were known to governments already.

“They’re not going to stop the next attacks either,” he said. “Because they’re not public safety programs. They’re spying programs.”

“But the question that we as a society have to ask, our are collective rights worth a small advantage in our ability to spy?” Snowden added.

Cartoonist: John Farmer (Polly).

Cartoonist: John Farmer (Polly).Source:Supplied

What are the risks?

Under the new laws, our privacy becomes a thing of the past. Not just from the government either – experts and insiders warn that our data could become vulnerable to hackers. Even Telstra has labelled the storage of the data as a “honey pot for hackers.”

Speaking on Radio National’s Download This Show earlier this year, one police insider revealed the flaws in the proposed system.

The insider, whose identity wasn’t revealed, has worked for the police dealing with metadata for years.

“There are only three different justifications (where) we have to access metadata; if someone’s life is being threatened, protection of government income, and (an) investigation of a crime punishable with at least two years in prison,” he said.

However, crimes punishable by two years’ jail can be for things as small as graffiti, meaning that more often than not, those investigating a criminal case will have access to metadata.

Game of Thrones pirate? You could become a target.

Game of Thrones pirate? You could become a target.Source:YouTube

There’s also the concern that the new laws could be used to monitor users’ internet habits to find people pirating content.

The insider confirmed that as it currently stands, the laws wouldn’t allow it, but that could change in the future.

“[Pirating] is not interpreted by police at the moment as a crime. Copyright infringement is not a criminal offence, it’s a civil wrong. But all it would take would be lobbying by a financial backer of a political parties to make copyright seen as theft and then bang, you’ve got all these Aussies caught up criminally,” he said.

Of course, this bill still has to pass the Senate.

[Source:- news.com]

By Adam