Australian Data Retention Proposal = Stalin's Wet Dream [updated]

I barely have time to look up these days but when I do it's normal to discover Australian Politicians finding new ways to waste public money on inefficient and unecessary things. The 'data retention' scheme is one such, with the added of bonus of highlighting what an oppressive communist country we have become. It's back in the news because our government has estimated the cost - they want to spend over AUD$400 Million to systematically retain national communications 'metadata'¹ for a period of two years. Exactly which element about the proposal most offends me is difficult to determine ... possibly that whoever has the motive to circumvent the monitoring will definitely have the means to do so, and that for the most part the ability to track all this stuff is already in place and can be obtained should the target be important enough. The cost is apparently an ongoing one, in terms of sheer economic brilliance it's right up there with Kevin Rudd in 2008 giving out free 'stimulus' money to everyone including backpackers and some on temporary work visas.

Fortunately there are at least some people talking sense on the data retention issue. David Leyonhjelm in the Australian Senate is my current hero - just for the fact that he is going to fight this thing. Content below is copied directly from ABC - the last section of my highlights, is a great summary of the stupidity we're facing here, for anyone out there who didn't know (or care) that like our United States friends, Australian citizens are also losing their civil liberties at a fast rate.

SABRA LANE: Next week Parliament resumes. The focus will go back onto national security and metadata laws and the Government wants to retain people's metadata for two years. Will you support that?

DAVID LEYONHJELM: No. No, it's totally unreasonable.

SABRA LANE: The Prime Minister says that the cost of losing this data will cause an explosion of unsolved crime. What do you think of that statement?

DAVID LEYONHJELM: It's prime ministerial hyperbole - an explosion of unsolved crime. What he's essentially saying is there is that explosion already 'cause we obviously don't have compulsory retention of metadata right now. So, how long has this been going on? Ever since metadata has existed. What nonsense. There are three issues that worry me about metadata. One is just the cost. I think it's going to be ridiculously expensive. The other one - the next one is the potential for misuse of the data and the third one is just the libertarian principle. We should be watching the Government; the Government shouldn't be watching us. The idea that we are all equally likely, equally capable of becoming criminals and therefore all of our metadata has to be stored in the event that we become criminals so that you and I and my 84-year-old mother and all the kids with their smartphones and so forth are going to be turned into criminals, paedophiles or terrorists or something, it's ludicrous.

SABRA LANE: And the cost? The Prime Minister says it's a small cost to pay.

DAVID LEYONHJELM: $400 million is not small. Who's going to pay it? Taxpayers? They can't balance the budget now on the current expenditure, so they're going to expend another $400 million or are we all going to have to pay an extra $20 a year each to allow the Government to spy on us, to snoop on us? So in other words, it'll be a special tax on our internet bills to allow the Government to spy on us.

SABRA LANE: OK. Senator, that's all we've got time for tonight. Thanks for coming in to 7.30.


¹ in 2014, David Leyonhjelm with Sydney Morning Herald, made an investigation into what 'metadata' actually means. There seems to be nothing to stop government from expanding the definition as it suits them. link &sup2 'metadata' is a misnomer designed to make it sound less draconian - let's just call it data because that's what it is. Update: 27th Feb 2015: The so-called "Opposition" has not done any opposing of the data retention legislation. Some great comments on that article as well, took the words right out of my mouth: "A complete bunch of misbegotten treasonous cretinous mentally challenged moronic fools. Not a one of them has the balls to stand up for the citizens of this country."

Update 26th March 2015: I'm happy at least that many individuals (in the Australian Parliament no less) are vehemently opposed to the data retention bill. Check out this speech by Scott Ludlam (senator for Western Australia) who tears to shreds not only the premise behind the metadata retention program as well as exposes the dangers behind it.

The proposed bill so obviously screws the taxpayer over that it's difficult to comprehend how the leaders of our country could be so blithely campaigning for such a deal. Also worth noting that the worthless opposition party are not 'opposing' the bill (you only had one job, idiots). This all calls for an overhaul of the democratic system. Luckily, I have just the plan for this - in a new post soon I will propose a reinvention of the democratic process. Apologies for the non-gold-related content ... my interest in human freedom and politics seems to just indicate I'm getting older. Got one more idea for GLD data representation soon, btw.

Update #2, 26th March.
Too late, law passed. Dumb-arse Labor Party have joined forces with the ALP. Opposition? What Opposition? You all suck for taking part in the establishment of a police state.


Gary said...

Sad times Warren.

We all need to prepare ourselves for what lies ahead.

The masses believe that government is the answer to all of their problems (caused by the 1%..sigh). The masses don't care about freedoms, as long as the gravy train keeps on running.

We will see governments swing further and further to the left, and what little freedoms we had will gradually be eroded.

It will end at some point, but the way it ends, and where we go next is unclear. When governments go bust (inevitable, the govt bond bubble will burst) as the depression unfolds,how will the masses react to mass unemployment and living standards that fall, never to return?

Will they blame big intrusive govt, or will they look for the wealthy to take the blame.(I accept that there is indeed plenty of blame to be placed in a corporatocracy).

If the latter, you will indeed have full blown communism to look forward to (massacres/nationalisations included), and the world will go through one of the darkest periods in its history (and that's hardly a bright history). Millions will die.

Hard to see who will be the brave souls stepping up to turn the tide back towards small govts, markets and freedom, any that do will be immediate targets.

My advice: accept what lies ahead and prepare accordingly, particularly if you live in a 'five eyes' member country. Plan to be in another country.

Good luck to us all.

Warren James said...

Gary, agreed - previously difficult to fathom but when the wheels turn in front of our very eyes (with blatant events like this) it's difficult to deny. It's going to be really difficult to change since those with their hands in the till are having a great time. Count me in as stepping up to turn the tide and a proponent for human freedom > in our new modern global community we need the equivalent of a new Magna Carta or Constitution. I hope this particular bill gets defeated in parliament.