Feeds

More interception, less scrutiny as Oz Senate passes wiretap laws

Big Brother is listening

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Australia’s Senate has passed amendments to that country’s wiretap laws, allowing security agency ASIO to pass information across a wide range of government agencies, and apparently to conduct wiretaps on behalf of those agencies.

According to Greens Senator Scott Ludlam, the Australian Security Intellgence Organisation (ASIO) is already more scrutiny-free than similar agencies in the US or the UK. The new Act makes it possible for ASIO to conduct wiretaps on behalf of other agencies, by request. According to Ludlam, this represents an expansion of ASIO’s remit far beyond its stated purpose.

The senator also noted that the bill vastly expands the range of people with which ASIO could share information. For example, if ASIO turned up information relating to tax fraud, this can be passed to the Australian Tax Office.

Labor Senator Jacinta Collins agreed that ASIO is now allowed to share information with “a wider variety of agencies … rather than going through the AFP [Australian Federal Police], the information could now occur directly to the ATO”.

However, in the Senate debate, the government seemed unable to define precisely the range of agencies ASIO could pass information to, which Ludlam believes may be “right across Commonwealth and state agencies”.

Ludlam also raised concerns that the amendments to the act would allow information about individuals to be collected by ASIO and passed to other agencies, even when those individuals are not themselves under suspicion of any crime.

Since the Labor government and Liberal opposition voted together in both houses of parliament, the Greens’ questions were no more than a glitch in the passage of the Telecommunications Interception and Intelligence Services Legislation Amendment Bill 2010. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Apple's iPhone 6 first-day sales are MEANINGLESS, mutters analyst
Big weekend queues only represent fruity firm's supply
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Bill Gates, drugs and the internet: Top 10 Larry Ellison quotes
'I certainly never expected to become rich ... this is surreal'
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
EMC, HP blockbuster 'merger' shocker comes a cropper
Stand down, FTC... you can put your feet up for a bit
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.