Governments around the world are trying to introduce new data-surveillance bills so as to keep a closer eye on the online traffic. Australian government, too, jumped on the bandwagon when it proposed bills which would allow retention of users’ online activity data for up to two years. Now, a parliamentary inquiry has found out that an overwhelming majority of the public is against this.
The proposals presented by the government were intended to make amendments in the Australian Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979. The original act allows the law-enforcement agencies to keep track of data by undertaking activities such as phone-tapping.
The government’s proposal was meant to expand these powers by also allowing the law-enforcement agencies to start similar kind of tapping on web as well as telephony. The line of argument adopted by the governmental agencies was, as usual, that this was required for security’s sake. The government said that, “Fundamental reform is … required, not to increase powers, but to ensure that existing powers are not rendered completely ineffective.”
However, as soon as the proposals were known to the masses, there was a public outcry against such proposed reforms and it was said that the government was simply trying to expand the powers of intelligence agencies. It was also said that such new powers would essentially infringe on the basic human rights of the citizens.
It was in view of such opposition that the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security sought formal response from the masses regarding the proposals – and the response was overwhelmingly unfavorable.
The second largest broadband provider in Australia, iiNet, slammed the proposals saying that they couldn’t find “an appropriate balance between the human rights and privacy of individuals, the cost and impact of the reforms on the telecommunications sector; and the needs of law enforcement agencies.”
Other telecom giants in the country also staunchly opposed the proposals saying that they would also bump up the costs for the end-users.
Source: IT News