Are you an internet bad guy? Odds are, probably not. But the new "data retention for all Australians" plan aired by Attorney General Nicola Roxon yesterday is going to tar every Aussie internet user with the same brush as cybercriminals according to Greens Senator Scott Ludlam.
After much to-ing and fro-ing about whether she would support the mandatory data retention scheme, Roxon threw her support behind the plan yesterday, saying in a speech that all Australian ISPs should retain the browsing history of users for up to two years. Roxon said in the speech that without these new powers, law enforcement agencies would be powerless to stop the bad guys of the future.
That's not how Senator Ludlam sees it though, saying in a blog post that the backflip by the Attorney-General is going to cost Australians their privacy.
"Does the Federal Government really believe all our personal data should be stored by service providers for two years so that every move we make can be surveilled or recalled for later data mining? It is premised on the unjustified paranoia that all Australians are potential criminal suspects," he wrote.
The Senator goes on to add that Australians are already under more surveillance than could be deemed appropriate. Almost 250,000 requests for user information were made by law enforcement agencies under the guise of the the Telecommunications Interception Act in 2010-11, Ludlam said, and with these new powers will make things that much worse.
"Data retention as envisaged by the Government will entrench huge databases that can be mined for precise patterns of our movements, purchases, interests, friends, and conversations. This interception, copying, recording and disclosure of our data is a means to retroactively police the whole population.
"We are citizens, not suspects," he added.
If you don't think data retention is something to be afraid of, check out David Pope's latest cartoon featuring a giant cyclops-version of the Attorney General and a request page that we should all be afraid of. It's not far off the mark.
As Roxon now officially throws her support behind a mandatory data retention scheme, hackers operating under the Operation Australia banner — the same ones that hacked AAPT — have issued a hit-list of sorts, listing targets for cyber attack. The hits started last night, with the Attorney-General's website being the first hit.