Last night, the Government’s first bill in a series intended to widen the national security and surveillance powers of ASIO passed the Senate. It’s bad news for internet freedom, however, as it allows Australia’s spy agency free reign to spy on the internet with a single warrant.
Greens’ Senator and internet freedom activist, Scott Ludlam, was one of the dissenting dozen in the Senate who protested to the Attorney General, Senator George Brandis, over the open-ended nature of a Bill that allowed a spy agency such broad powers over internet users.
Liberal Democrat Senator, David Leyonhjelm, also voiced concerns over the Bill, saying that it could give access to the entire internet on a single warrant.
“There does need to be a level of constraint on the scope of warrants issued under this section. It just can’t be allowed to stand. It’s a license to snoop on anyone, anytime, anywhere,” he told the Chamber.
Senator Nick Xenophon also spoke to the amendments, saying that he was comforted by the fact that the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security could ask ASIO how many devices had been accessed by a particular warrant, although he added he would prefer if an “upper-limit” of 20 devices could be added into the Bill.
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