Australian Government Considers Logging All Web Activity

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Australian Government Considers Logging All Web Activity

As if proposed mandatory censorship laws weren’t bad enough and unpopular enough, now the Federal Government is considering a proposal to require all ISPs to keep a detailed log of every site their customers visit. Yes, that’s every bit as unpleasant as it sounds.

Ben Grubb at ZDNet received confirmation from the Attorney-General’s department that it was in the early stages of considering a mandatory data retention policy, modelled on similar schemes in Europe. However, while the European approach only logs basic connection times, ISPs briefed on the scheme have suggested it could include a detailed log of all activity, including individual URLs.

Before someone starts banging the “if you’ve done nothing wrong, you’ve got nothing to fear” drum, there’s already ample provision in Australian law to intercept Internet usage if criminal activity is suspected. As EFA Chair Colin Jacobs pointed out to ZDNet:

You can’t treat everybody like a criminal. That would be like tapping people’s phones before they are suspected of doing any crime.

Many people on Twitter have observed that there’s something astonishingly self-serving and contradictory about a government being willing to attack Google for collecting unencrypted Wi-Fi data while taking Street View photographs, while simultaneously planning a much more comprehensive invasion of every Australian Internet user’s privacy.

The collection of that data would also be a potential goldmine for movie studios to track down BitTorrent users, something the iiNet case made it very clear they’d like to do despite losing out in court. All things considered, looks like it’s time to make your feelings known to your local member once again.

Govt wants ISPs to record browsing history [ZDNet]

Comments

    • Hey no, this is cool.

      This means every politician will have their web access and behaviour tracked. I’m sure they’ll like that?

      Maybe we can impose freedom of information in the future to see what every politician has been up to? See how many are into child pornography etc…

      Seriously, I can’t see this going through, but just the fact that they’re thinking about it means I can’t possibly vote them in at the next election (which I did at the last .. he says sheepishly) they’re just being total dicks.

      • I think you will find that politicians will be exempt form having their internet usage logged. Like so many other privacy laws here. You have the right to no privacy, unless you hold office

  • Oh yeah, naughty Google accessing unsecured networds as they drive down the street. Shame on them! Collecting everyone’s internet history is perfectly fine though. It’s for the children! Think of the children! All of you who disagree are child porn enthusiasts or terrorists and should be ashamed of yourselves. /sarcasm.

  • They still don’t get it…the people they are trying to target DON’T USE THE NORMAL ACCESS METHODS!! Simply trying to block or track people isn’t going to work!! They would actually be better dissolving the state system, unifying the police force, upgrading their training and equipment (for digital crime fighting)…

    We’ve seen how useless publicly open sites (such as face book) and the modern police force are at protecting people against each other (hello stalkers!).

    What do they think they are going to gain by pushing the people they want to chase further underground (and into deeper encryption and personal networks) – punishing the rest of the people in the mean time!!

    This has nothing to do with “protecting the children” and more about keep a bunch of lawyers happy of pirating! This is not something governments should be involved in (it’s up to the effected party to purse not the government)

    You want to protect people, how about you start EDUCATING them (and yourselves at the same time)!!

    Okay, now it’s time to start requiring individual encrypted connections for every website you visit!. If they’re going to start collection our info, it’s time to start making it bloody hard to get any info out!!

    Hay, is this one of those scams or spams from the portal!? Cause they can collect our banking transactions under this idea…and you can’t do a bloody thing about it!

    Can we please have an election so that we can get rid of this fucking stupid government and replace it with a…nother stupid government…crap…

  • It makes a lot of sense. Everyone knows that the ‘bad people’ are also the ‘dumb people’ who would never think of using an overseas VPN service.

    Seriously, who are the incompetent people coming up with these ideas?

  • This terrifies me. We’re looking at the potential for one of two nanny-state governemnts and I have to choose between the one idiot who wants to log everything I ever do on the internet and the other who wants to ship everyone under 30 who doesn’t have a job to Western Australia to work in the mines?

    Thank goodness the Green primary vote is going up, we may well need a balance of power in both houses to stop any of this stupidity. I know the seat I’m in is likely to go Green next election.

  • And here I was thinking Australia had democracy.
    Shouldn’t the government elected by the people have to ask us before making changes like this?
    Or are we too stupid to make decisions for ourself?

  • The worst thing, is that if the alternative government gets in, they’ll probably be even more gung-ho. It’s not like Tony Abbott and his pals are some kind of small “l” liberal libertarian group. They probably think this doesn’t go far enough. ? I guess there’s nowhere to go but the greens. And some bog standard anonomysing service.

  • Title should read; “Government ministers consider career change”.

    Oh Australia, why is our only political choices right-wing nuts, Left wing loonies or incompetent twats?

    Stuff this, I am moving to Sweden :/

  • So how about I just send all my internet history and all my emails direct to Senator Conroy or was that Comrade Conroy . That way he can read it all and let me know by return mail what he considers best for me to access. This is from Conroy’s website ‘The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Senator Stephen Conroy, today welcomed 50 students from across Australia who were in Canberra to advise the Government on cyber-safety issues.’ how did they pick these kids, what schools do they represent, what age are they? What the fuk do these 50 kids know about my internet usage requirements? Next week he has 50 kindergarten kids advising him on internet security and uncontrolled dribbling sh*t.

  • Guys, we aren’t powerless. We vote these morons in each election. Start writing to your member for parliament and tell him or her exactly what you think. If each voter made sure that the seat in their electorate was a marginal rather than a so called safe seat, politicians would suddenly start listening to us – the people that vote for them. We’d suddenly have government for the people by the people. At the moment it’s government for the multinational corporations and stuff the people.

  • You can’t wonder why Conroy is like he is when you see the following. ‘Conroy’s parents worked at an air-force base, where his mother Jean monitored radar and his father Bill was a sergeant. In December 1973 the Conroys moved to Canberra, where he attended Daramalan Catholic school. He obtained a Bachelor of Economics at the Australian National University in Canberra. His involvement in student politics was minimal, although he helped organise a rally against student fees’ note his mother’s occupation!

  • Good idea. How about PUBLISHING the sites that every politician visits – either privately or while working in Canberra or from their electoral office. That would be interesting

  • It’s dollars to donuts that the politicians web habits would be excluded from this monitoring. Oh dear no, we couldn’t possibly have our democratically elected representatives suffer such privacy intrusions! That’s only for us untrustworthy lower classes.

    The amazing thing is they’ve just seen the Labour government in the UK get kicked out in part because of a revolt against their privacy intrusions and monitoring mania, yet Labor here plan to blindly follow the same path to destruction. Are they slow or something?

  • North Korea’s looking good right about now. Their respect for civil rights seems light years ahead of the attitudes of Rudd and Conroy.
    Note to Rudd and Conroy: this won’t be forgotten. You will be held accountable.

    • Hey, lay off parents. Just because some idiotic Minister is using the “its for the children” line, doesn’t mean the parents want or asked for this! Don’t make this a fight against each other, that’s what they want – divide and conquer. At the end of the day it’s stupid policy, and no-one asked for it.

  • I think URLs you visit may tell a LOT about who you are. Just imagine if that kind of information accidentally becomes available to public. Recent security breach exposing e-mail addresses of iPad for more than 100.000 users is nothing compared to that.

    Just like government tight finance control resulted in creation of “tax havens” and Swiss bank accounts, controlling Internet access will result in more people bypassing these controls. Proxy servers and Tor peer to peer network are good examples how it could be done.

  • Not that I disagree with any of the comments regarding Conroy and his lack of competency…

    But it’s worth noting this is the Attorney General’s office.

    Not that it’s necessarily a difference which makes a difference, but this isn’t policy (at least not yet) nor is it indicative of any particular bill actually existing (at least not yet)…

    But it is a few other names people should be taking note of (to say the very least).

  • “Before someone starts banging the ‘if you’ve done nothing wrong, you’ve got nothing to fear’ drum, there’s already ample provision in Australian law to intercept Internet usage if criminal activity is suspected.”

    Funny, this statement reveals the revolution in public morality that we have witnessed over the last 50 years. It assumes that the only kind of activity that is “wrong” is criminal activity. Truth is, most internet users do stuff online that they wouldn’t want anyone to know about. Not because it is illegal, but because they’d be ashamed or embarrassed to admit to such activity in public. I.e. they do stuff that they consider or feel to be “wrong” in some way.

    Don’t get me wrong – I think it is obscene that the government would even consider collecting this kind of information on citizens.

    Still, if people knew that their every move was being recorded, I’d say most men would look at a lot less legal porn on the web, because deep down they know that looking at porn is shameful and wrong, even though it’s not illegal.

    • I think it’s telling that you automatically assume that porn is at the core of the issue. A morality that assumes people can’t have any sort of private life sounds very suspect to me.

  • This sort of policy is a continuation of what the Liberals proposed.
    The Greens are the only party of the three to actively campaign against this time of nonsense.

  • That’s terrible. It’s still more terrible than the confusion I had with the picture I initially was trying to make when I thought of logging as tree-chopping when I first read the headline.

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