First, the country started moving towards internet filters and censorship on a scale only seen in China. Then, they wanted ISP data retention on all net activity. Now, they want to link passports to internet activity.
While the government is denying it would capture individual browsing histories, unnamed sources from ISPs are saying that the original data set sent to ISPs from the government said that they’d require allied personal information, including passport numbers.
Why does the Australian government need any of this information? A passport is a travel document that allows people to travel to other countries. What is the purpose of tying it to their online activity?
Since each household has numerous devices connected to the internet, how is the ISP to discern whether dad or one of this kids was on the xbox? Some households share a computer. How is an ISP to know which member of the household is on the computer at any given time? What about people who don’t have passports? Where is their data going to be linked to? Will they be forced to get a passport?
Given the fact that the Australian government already uses a national facial recognition database for people who have been arrested, that they want to implement it for driver’s licenses, and that the RTA in New South Wales has admitted converting people’s faces into biometic identifiers, one has to wonder exactly what the hell is happening in Australia.
ZDNet has an interesting, in-depth look at the situation.
“[They’re] asking us to retain data for law enforcement purposes that, under existing privacy laws, we would be breaking the law if we retained for any longer than for operational purposes,” the source said.
“The Attorney-General’s Department doesn’t get it,” the source said. “They don’t get it that … a proxy log isn’t just a [network] switch. They think [that], because it is a computer, to say ‘retain the data’ is a minor step.”
We are reminded that this scheme is another decision made by politicians who fear a technology that they don’t understand, assuming that everything can be fixed by the flick of a switch. All of these decisions were, again, done in secret. The public, who will be most affected by these schemes, were left out of the discussion.
If politicians actually understood how the internet worked, they would know that using SSL at google and on POP3 email would get around their filters. Services, such as iPredator, will help you circumvent data tracking.
These schemes are always introduced as a means to track terrorism or kiddie fiddlers, but they always end up being used against the public at large for mostly idiotic reasons. Anyone with a little knowledge, including criminals, will easily circumvent this system. It will be innocent people who end up having their information tracked.
Schemes like these are deemed to fail as measures meant to protect children from evil. You will not save a child from facing abuse from family members and family friends. You will not stop terrorism because no terrorist is stupid enough to look up rail plans, nuclear power plant plans, etc. without a VPN or proxy.
There are no guarantees from the government that this information will not be used against dissidents or any behavior deemed unsuitable by the current administration. Australians need to speak up now, before a search of their internet history is needed to leave the country.
The technetronic era involves the gradual appearance of a more controlled society. Such a society would be dominated by an elite, unrestrained by traditional values. Soon it will be possible to assert almost continuous surveillance over every citizen and maintain up-to-date complete files containing even the most personal information about the citizen. These files will be subject to instantaneous retrieval by the authorities.’
Zbigniew Brzezinski, Between Two Ages: America’s Role in the Technetronic Era, 1970
Think about it.