OpenMedia

Stop the Secrecy

EFF: Australian government sneaking extra powers into a security law

Fri, 11/07/2014 - 15:13 -- Eva Prkachin

Photo by See-ming Lee via Flickr

The Australian government is using this spying law to target Internet users. Got a problem with that? Speak up in the comments!

Article by Jeremy Malcolm for EFF

As we foreshadowed, a new law requiring mandatory data retention by ISPs was introduced into the Australian federal parliament last week. In the few days since then, there have been claims and counter-claims about whether data obtained under the new law would be limited to use in fighting major crimes (such as terrorism, as the government originally claimed), or if it could be used to target citizens who download and share files online.

The current party line, from flip-flopping Attorney-General George Brandis (whom some may remember from this train-wreck interview in which he attempted to define “metadata”) is that the new laws “can't be and they won't be” used to prosecute file sharers, because copyright infringement is only a civil offense.

Except, of course, when it isn't. There are a wide range of criminal offenses defined under Australia's copyright law, including penalties for sharing copyright works on (what is loosely defined as) a commercial scale, and penalties for breaking DRM—both of which result from Australia's 2005 free trade agreement with the United States, and are likely to be replicated and perhaps toughened in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

- Read more at EFF