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Australian Government Cracks Down on Net Users 332

The Australian Government has hastily enacted several measures overnight that should send a shiver down the collective spines of all Net users. Firstly, it passed major legislation that enables the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), similar to the CIA, to remotely tap into and alter data on any Australian's computer. APC Newswire has the story. Secondly, the Government minister responsible for IT, Senator Richard Alston, has appointed an Internet content censorship advisory board stacked with representatives who support his heavy-handed approach, critics say. Critics of Alston's agenda in the past have included the ACLU and the EFF-affiliated Australian Net-users' group, Electronic Frontiers Australia. Again, APC has the story and a commentary.
If they can do it Down Under, how long do you think it will be before similar measures come to a town near you?
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Australian Government Cracks Down on Net Users

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  • I wish I knew who said it, but a favourite quote of mine, that I have heard a few times lately (typically in the context of various repugnant US policies) was:
    "Thank god we got the criminals and not the Puritans".

  • Not really on topic, but there is no President of Australia, the head of state is the Queen of England, their political leader is the Primie Minister (of Aus, not UK).

  • The U.S. is too busy destroying the freedom of their constituents. I see nothing like that happening without a major change of administration even in the United States.
  • It would be nice to blackhole all addresses in Australia for a day or so to express the net's displeasure at this legislation. And if they read or change data as it merely passes thru Australia, I'd support making it permanent until they stop. It's a clear and present danger to the integrity of the net.

    That would work in theory, but I dont believe that the government would give a damn if their citizens werent allowed full access to the net. They are doing it to them anyway. I believe that governments like ours and the Aussies hate the idea of the internet, because they cant control your mind there...that is the game that they are in. Take the net away while increasing legislation, and you switch from democracy to a stalinist communism, or something like that...

    There seems to be an implicit assumption that a government is an evenhanded institution that would never abuse power or play favorites. Few real governments are that good, most are made up of people with agendas

    Those countries are usually poor countries led by dictators. Here, its not the people in charge, nor the government in its main mass, its the people that are dragged around by big business and lobbyist groups.
  • Done all the time in the physical world.

    And it's probably done in the computer world as well...

    The problem is that it's ILLEGAL to do in the physical world.. this bill basically says that if you plant "cyber" evidence, then it's perfectly legal as long as you're with the secret police.

    I'm glad the last of my familty moved from Australia last year... it's not a place I'd want anyone I care about to live..

  • Law enforcement officers in the NRA? Sureyou jest! Don't you recall the fund raising letter a while back where the NRA pontificated against "jack-booted government thugs"? You remember, the letter that made George Bush publicly denounce the NRA?

    It's wonderful how it's never mentioned this wasn't anything close to an official statement by the NRA. It was a comment made by Rep. John Dingell (D-MI). Of course, the media blew it way out of proportion.

    I find it interesting how you don't mention how well funded gun manufacturers fund the NRA.

    It's also interesting how people complain about the so-called influence of the gun industry on the NRA via funding, but we never attempt to discern the funding sources of grouple like the ACLU. This aside, i'm sure we'll find with both, the lion's share comes from membership dues and private donations.

    And so it goes. The ACLU is worshiped for defending a certain part of our constitutional rights, while the NRA is demonized for defending a certain part of our constitutional rights.
  • >A civil war has already taken place in the US not so long ago, between opposed political views.

    But it was a nation divided. In present day, it's not the same. It's not the people v. the people now.. It would be the government v. the people, right? How many of those soldiers do you think prefer their government above their families and friends?

    >This is an experimental proof that strong, quasi-mystical, beliefs in how a country should be ruled can overcome the >natural resistance to killing someone just like you.

    Yes. But look at the entire picture. If a few trees fall, is the whole forest destroyed? Do a few bad apples ruin an entire crop? So if some resistance fighters were tortured and killed by their own, wouldn't the movement still continue?

    The point is, the majority of soldiers (and citizens) on the defense would still have a hard time killing fellow countrymen for reasons they either don't understand or don't feel are right.. Remember those people didn't join the military to fight themselves..
  • Note Australia has a convict heritage (read: used to authoritarianism), and have done pretty well in staying on their masters' (the UK and now their federal government/UN/UKUSA ) good sides.

    Australia doesn't seem to have much interest in technology (can't think of one big Australian hi-tech firm). Perhaps it really isn't important to them, because they don't have anything they consider worth hiding, or any causes they think are worth fighting for. /. might just be getting itself worked up over something Australians couldn't care less about.

    A nation of sheep, eh? Must be from .. oh, nevermind ;-)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    well well well, Australia is becoming a nice little faschist communist country. First they make almost all firearms illegal and then severely restrict electronic communication. Never thought the new world order would have started with them.

  • YOu live there? I'm sorry for ya. really. Now get out on the net, and start clamoring! 'Cause you might not be able to complain about this later (when your right to free speech gets squelched).
  • The link about "remotly tap into and alter data" is broken. I think this [aph.gov.au] is the correct link.

  • The Mass shootings in the schools didn't start untill after it was made illegal for anyone to have a gun on schoolgrounds.
  • Is it just me, or is this a very scary priviledge, that could be easily abused.

    Say they get permission to go onto someone's computer, to find something, can't find it, but decide to fake it anyway. Maybe I'm just being paranoid.
  • Actually the referendum was a safe bill which would've replaced the Governor-General (who is appointed by the Prime Minister) with a President who would be appointed by a two-thirds majority of parliament (so the President couldn't be a political figure like he is in the US).

    The Monarchists had to be against it because if passed, the Queen would no longer be our head of state. There was a good old FUD campain by the Monarchists and Direct Electionists to confuse the uneducated -- statistics show that the educated and high income electorates mostly voted 'yes', while the poorer areas with less educated people voted against the proposal. Personally I reckon that says something for the 'no' cases PR campaign, but not much else.
  • >BTW, it is illegal to use the Military for domestic law enforcement.

    That's nice in theory but does anyone remember the stink when a squad of Marines shot a young Mexican boy at the border. Apparently they had been co-opted by the Border Patrol to help law enforcement watch the border. Highly illegal but they did it anyway. And what of the stories that there were military present and partaking of the Branch Davidian mess. I won't even get into the possibility of any truth in those wacky "black helicopter" stories.
  • by the bungler ( 108400 ) on Friday November 26, 1999 @08:54AM (#1503078)
    In many ways this legislation negates itself. For example, if I am brought into court for my pornographic nihlistic blueprint for the destruction of the Australian Way Of Life can any of my computer records be relied on as evidence? Can anyone prove my files are really mine? It won't take an enterprising solicitor long to bring these sorts of problems to light in court. Another problem is how do I handle confidential information with my collaborators located in Australia? Do I recomend to my shareholders that we cease doing buisiness in Australia due to the probable lack of security? It's one thing dealing with script-kiddies, it's an entirely different matter dealing with a government. How far does this go? Do we have to take special care to ensure that none of our communications are routed through Australian servers? What about working with other government contracts? Will I have to restrict my access to Australian based sources simply because of the potential lack of security? This is the kind of dollars and cents (US or Oz or otherwise) argument that politicians understand. I agree entirely that individuals must pay the price for their freedom- but use all the weapons at your disposal. In addition to voting and letter writing as citizens, use your influence with whatever corporation or institution you might be involved with. As IT professionals your views are (presumably) respected by the people that own the politicians. As individual crackpots we are easily ignored.
  • Nope, thats not it either.
  • BTW, it is illegal to use the Military for domestic law enforcement.

    Used to be. Now it's illegal to use the Military for domestic law enforcement, unless drugs are (suspected to be) involved.

  • Dman! Worked for me a second ago! I think they use some wierd session based search engine. So you can't directly link to the page.

  • If one right can be taken away, then others can. Those who wish to destroy other peoples rights allways start by disarming them. When you give up your right to defend your self, you are making it easy for someone to take the rest of your rights away.
  • Nope, I think what's happening is that the server requires clients to have an existing session before you can retrieve the article. Unfortunately that means everyone has to log in and manually search for the article, as any link would contain a session ID only for one person and won't work for anyone else.

    [OT] Isn't it about time we create a slashdolt login/user for annoying sites like this, as somebody suggested a few articles back?

  • Note: The following post is a rant. The views and opinions expressed within are the views and opinions of a especially pissed offed /. reader.

    Why don't people riot over this? Why don't they do anything? This is a very disturbing question. These laws are morally outrageous and completely contrary to the basic rights that people deserve, yet they are simply accepted as is and nothing is done about it. That is the real problem. If the people (I mean the general population. I'm sure there are some who care, but they are the minority) actually cared laws like this could never be passed. But they don't.

    Why are people so willing to flush their basic freedoms down the toilet? The first factor is ingorance. Your average Joe doesn't understand the issue. All your average Joe knows is that there are "bad people" on the internet and that big brother government is needed to protect the poor, defenseless children from them. No matter that these laws don't do squat for protecting the "poor, defenseless children", but they do wonders for oppressing the general population. Average Joe's attention span has been rendered far too short by sensationalism and TV to actually spend the time to determine what exactly the laws are doing. All average Joe cares is that big brother is doing something. So the end result is that the only one that big brother's actions serve to protect is big brother itself.

    It disgusts me how easily people can be fooled. Sometimes I am embarassed to be a member of the human race. Honestly, people don't look for any sort of evidence so support their opinions. They just look at what everyone else is doing and decide to hop on the bandwagon. If they hear about "evil things" going on on the internet (or anywhere else) they are all too happy to get themselves into some unjustified outrage over these "evil things" regardless of how much they have been blown out of proportion or even whether or not they are true. Then they will start writing letters and going to protests about these evil things until big brother swoops in to protect them. They just love big brother. Big brother is their friend. In their minds. In reality, the only evil thing going on is big brother.

    OK, I'm starting to sound very repetitive so I will stop writing now. In conclusion: I'm pissed off and I hate the government. Hey, if anyone from big brother is reading this now feel free to go after me or something. I'd make a much better martyr than I'll ever make a speaker. Maybe we can actually get the general population to give a damn about the fact that they are flushing their rights down a toilet.
  • >But, a "right" is not something that your massa gives you -- it is something that you are born with! Just because it is illegal, does not mean that it does not exist. Remember the bit about "These truths we hold self-evident, that all men are created equal..."?

    That's nice as an empirical truth but how well does it hold up in practice. Ask the slaves, or the Jews about their "Human Rights". All the Rights in the world won't prevent massa from knocking on your door and hanging you from a tree, raping and killing your family. Where are your Rights then?
  • I thought that clipper chip1,2,3,etc had dealt with the issue of secure, bugged transmission.
    Basically, i guess we don't have that much to worry about, just keep on using your pgp, and keep on browsing with your OC-3 connection and i'm sure you'll notice if you're being tapped.

    How free did you think you were to begin with?? --nsfmc
  • Caveat: I am a lawyer, but this is not legal advice. I'm probably not licensed in your jurisdiction, and I'm certainly not licensed in Australia. See an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction if you need legal advice on this or any other matter.

    I have no direct familiarity with Australian constitutional issues (save that silly idea to add a president with political power; at least a distant figurehead queen is harmless . . .). However, Australia and the rest of the English speaking world draw their rule of law and notion of government from the Common Law of England, with which I am familiar.

    Whether expressed explicitly, as in the U.S. Bill of Rights, or through tradition, as in England, the law puts finite limits on the powers of government. THat is, there are limits on the ability of the government to pass legislation that changes the law in certain ways, and legislation that purports to do so simply is not the law.

    In the U.S., this wouldn't get out of committee in Congress (though state legislatures regularly turn out attempts this stupid, and initiative processes do far worse). In Britain, I'm fairly certian that this wouldn't fly (except when dealing with wartime emergencies). I'll be sadly disappointed if the Australian system doesn't have sufficient checks & balances to handle this. Good Lord, these folks just reinvented the general warrant . . .

    hawk, esq.
  • >> (And I won't mention the appalling racist hierarchy that is openly maintained in the US)

    Well Michael, I spent 2 1/2 years in Sydney working for a computer company that had offices in all of the major cities so I had an opportunity to get around the country and have a first hand view. The way that the Australians treat the Aborigines is pretty pathetic. I would say your country is about where the U.S. was about a hundred years ago.

    Perhaps the NRA should push for the Swiss solution of every male between 18-60 *must* own a working firearm and must do a year (or is it 2?) of national service training.

    The US had a draft that lasted up until the early 70's. I myself was drafted out of college as an EE to become a Combat Targeting team member (team of 3). Later I also competed internationally in pistol competitions for the military. I, however only have a rifle for deer hunting now. But there are millions out there like me, who have the knowledge, lack the fear, and will do what is right in our minds if the time comes. I personally do not think it ever will come though, and I am thankful if it does not.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The only changes which are permitted, are those necessary to access further data ... So I imagine this legislation would, for instance, permit ASIO, to set up an acount with root privileges on a system they were checking out ... though whether they would want to be so obvious is another question.
  • ASIO has next to no problem spying on aust. citizens electronically or otherwise, with or without legislation leting them do so - who's going to know...

    It's this Australian fetish with having everything done according to the rule of law. Man, I mean imagine actually having to get a warrant to spy on someone's computers systems instead of just going out and doin' it.
    Another example of typical Australian bureaucratic inefficiency! I mean how is ASIO going to stay internationally competitive with the likes of the CIA if it is weighed down with laws like these?

  • You Don't Need A Gun To Have Rights In A Democracy.

    So very right, but at the same time, so very wrong. In an ideal world, you are perfectly right: a democracy is ruled by the majority(who are presumably right, kind, and just) delegating their powers to representatives(who are presumably even kinder and juster). However, in practice things don't always work out this way. Sometimes, you have what is known as "tyranny of the majority", where the majority uses their democratic power to oppress the minority. The Jim Crow laws [nps.gov] that sprang up after the Civil War typify this. Certainly this was pure democracy in action -- the legislators doing what their constituents wanted. These laws, coupled with the resurgence ofThe KKK [virginia.edu], made it very uncomfortable to be a political(and, in this case, racial) minority in much of this country for quite a time. Democracy in Action!

    However, the founders of the US had thought of this, and set down the Bill of Rights [fast.net]. The Bill of Rights is specifically intended to preserve individual liberty, even at the cost of pure majority rule.

    Of course, in practice, this hasn't always worked so well (see above). It seems that no matter how many times freedoms are written down, even on real paper, they can be stolen by the government and/or antagonistic fellow citizens.

    Only one thing stands between the black sharecropper and the Klan, between the Warsaw Jew and the Nazis, between any oppressed minority and the pogrom. It is the one thing the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto [upenn.edu] tried desperately to aquire, the one thing that was immediately taken from free blacks in the South, the one thing that every tyrant fears: a gun.

    All too often, in America and elsewhere, personal weapons have meant the difference between liberty and slavery, between life and death. Remember the words of Martin Niemoller: "In Germany they first came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up."
    Do you think this would have happened if every Communist, Jew, trade unionist, Catholic, and Protestant had had a gun and ammunition? Of course, one of the first things Hitler did was register, and then later confiscate, almost every priately-owned firearm in Germany.

    Maybe I'm just another crazy American obsessed with guns. Maybe this time, for real, cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die, government is really kind and benevolent. Maybe you will put your faith in them, and vote, and hope that this time, they won't take away quite so many of your rights.

    And maybe, it will be because you have no other choice.


  • It's only insane because of the certain details, not the overall concept; ask the Israelis.

    You are aware of the school shootings *stopped* when a teacher retrieves a shotgun from his car, right? Or did the media not mention 'em to you?

    Those details include:

    * Most teachers over here haven't had firearms training, and probably wouldn't want it. Hence, many of them might be worse than useless.

    * The Israelis aren't messing around with handguns, but are instead armed for bear.
  • God, why is this drivel Score:2? Maybe our poster here needs to wake up. It's all well and good to have an active /. who is aware of all these internet censorship issues, but normal people don't care. And normal people are caring less and less about internet censorship. Why? Easy..
    It's so easy to say 'censorship is bad.' Yet with the Internet being in it's relative infancy, anyone can post anything. Total drivel (This is my cat's homepage). Hate mongering. Pornography. /.! And with access being as easy as a point and a click, people get scared. At least with pornography and sex in general, there's a society of taboos to stop a 14 year old from walking into a porn store. There isn't a freedom of information in society as it exists today anyway, yet somehow it should exist online?

    Also, don't expect to see anything terribly violent happen anytime soon. Despite your conclusion being generally logical, remember that Karl Marx had very logical arguments that claimed Communism would just sweep the world because of the oppression of people during the late stages of the Industrial Revolution. Also, the Internet, by and large, still doesn't have enough daily penetration into peoples lives for your scenario to play out. A net underground would be an easy thing to crack down, the way that information is both so free (if it's easy for you to find it, it's easy for it to find you).

    There, my rant is done. Note that my opinions may or may not be stated, I was more or less playing a Devils Advocate.

  • Anyway, I'd suggest you go off and have a really long think about someone like Ghandi, or the Dalai Lama, or
    someone along those lines - it might restore a modicum of your faith in your species.

    Like Ghandi who was shot dead, and the Dalai Lama who is now living in exile? Not much encouragement there.
  • Ok, I'm not sure if this is still relevant to proving a computer record in court but ...

    Well you can be required under s3V of the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) to give your name and address, but I don't know of these other powers of the NCA and the Feds. Could you point me in the direction of the source of this power. (ie the relevant provisions of the relevant act).

  • Israelis also live in a world of reciprocating hate. Believe me, it's not pretty. I lived in both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. The guns and conscription are there for simple survival.

    Also, if you think the amount of 'crazies in the US is disturbing, try israel, iran, iraq, turkey, greece et al. The difference is that in a lot of these countries, leaders have done a good job of propogating hate and denial and target particular groups.

    What I do not condone, is the use of a violent means to promote self-righteous behavior while masking it as a means to promote freedom and liberty. Unfortunately the world isn't so perfect. I do, however, find it refreshing that there are some societies in the world where paranoia is generally unfounded and we can more or less live in peace.
  • If you are using a one-time pad cypher, they CAN change it to whatever they want. Now that is dangerous.

    Hmm, this guy is a politician. How about making this big block O' noise on his hard drive into records about defrauding the taxpayer? Watch him leave in disgrace. This other guy is a theology professor, maybe he would like a disk chock full of porn. Tenure might keep him around, but he would be left to stand in the corner and be ignored. Silencing political opponents is even better than killing them. They lose credibility, and their followers wont have a martyr to rally behind.

    The state could make your cyphertext into whatever has the greatest political fallout. Now, your lawyer can argue your case on technical merits and probably win. However you can still have your reputation damaged beyond repair.

  • The issues of 1) right to carry firearms, 2) rights to access whatever I want on the net and 3) freedom of speech are NOT the same thing.

    To think they are the same is a kneejerk simplification. Think a bit more before responding. I'm quite happy in my Australian city knowing that my neighbour or the local gangs of kids don't have easy access to automatic weapons.

    I'm yet to meet an intelligent Australian or American who believes complete freedom to own whatever armoury people want is a good idea. Most Americans don't realise what a laughing stock the USA is with their 18th Century attitude to firearms which they protect so fiercely whilst having such an appallingly high crime/death rate using weapons!

    Perhaps the NRA should push for the Swiss solution of every male between 18-60 *must* own a working firearm and must do a year (or is it 2?) of national service training.

    Maybe it's just me, but when I'm in the US (fairly often) I feel the average US citizen is much more worried about being shot that being sexually assaulted by someone who looks at porn on his PC.
    Like when I was in Washington last year and was told "Whatever you do, don't go to the bad side of town, it's not safe." So I'm educated about the massive crime rate in the nations capital. So please, criticise the recent Net laws, but don't lecture us on firearms. (And I won't mention the appalling racist hierarchy that is openly maintained in the US)

    Why is it that the "land of the free" is such a dangerous, unsafe place compared to "close minded" societies like Australia?
  • How many Australian boxes with network servers are Linux boxes? Of those, how many are up-to-date "hardened" configurations? True, you don't have to create a 'asio' account (password: "1Mp34ch!", shell: /bin/rsh, no access to anything but political philosophy documents...)

    'sides, they could always try for physical access, or park a TEMPEST van outside your flat and wait until you do enter some passwords. Assuming you're not using some kind of physical OTP S/key-like smartcard.
  • For example, if I am brought into court for my pornographic nihlistic blueprint for the destruction of the Australian Way Of Life can any of my computer records be relied on as evidence?

    Assuming the records pertain to a federal offence (or to an offence in NSW), it ought to be possible to get it into evidence. Computer based records could be adduced under any of the various provisions of s48(1)(b), (c),(d) or (e) of the Evidence Act 1995 (Cth & NSW). This is because 'document' is defined for the purposes of the Act as including anything, inter alia, " ... from which sounds images or writing can be reproduced with or without the aid or anything else"

    Depending on the circumstance, computer records might be excluded, prima facie, by the hearsay provision of the Act (s59). (It won't of course if the 'record' is the actual thing you are not allowed to have). However there are many exceptions which would allow the production of the evidence, for instance if it is a 'business record' (s69), if it is a record you yourself made (s66(2)(a)) &c.

    Can anyone prove my files are really mine?

    Well I guess, since these would be records which "purport to have been produced" (s48(1)(b)(ii)) by your machine, it is likely that the prosecution would put the question to you, whether these actually were your documents. Being under oath you would, of course, answer truthfully, would you not? :P

  • When Australians were coerced into "turning in" (a misnomer) most of their firearms, it was inevitable that their speech would be next to go.

    There are a heck of a lot of people who will argue until they're blue in the face that there is no relation between the two, but remember what Mao said:

    Every Communist must grasp the truth, "Political power rows out of the barrel of a gun."

    It applies to more than just Communists.

    Interested in XFMail? New XFMail home page [slappy.org].

  • When I first read this I didnt really care. But I read it again and realized that someone was smokin' some bad weed or something. How the hell did this government get elected? There has to be some australians willing to stand up for what they believe in and get this government taken down (legally). The have no reguard for what the people want. Yes..the net can be a bad place. If you know where to look. I find that I seldomly "trip over" pr0n or hate sites. 99% of the time if you just look at the domain you are being sent to you can tell if its a porn site or not. Besides...NO filter can get 100%. I dont care if you have a list of good sites there will ALWAYS be a way around it. There is still email with fly by night sites. There are still sites like www.noproxy.com which allow you to bypass it. There are still perl scripts written allowing you to do a noproxy.com on any server you want. This isnt about protecting our kids. It's that parents now adays are just too damn lazy to spend time with their kids and teach them right from wrong. I myself im a 16 year old kid (young adult :) and i feel that parents now adays are just too busy thinking about making money and working than having fun and spending quality time with their kids. I know my parents are just too damn tired to spend any time with us after working long days. The burdon of all of this is on the parents. Frankly my parents dont care what i do on the net. Not cause they are bad people its just that they know i will make good decisions.

  • In the twentieth century, however, the examples of Nazi Germany, Cuba, Russia and Yugoslavia show us that the popular militia is almost always on the side of the totalitarian power.

    Thus the second amendment to the US consititution, protecting the right of the unpopular militia to own firearms as well. Your point is well made, but flawed, in that a state that reserves the right to decide who is allowed to possess a firearm will inevitably produce the "popular militia" (as the state will only allow those who agree with it's political views, and thus pose no risk to the state, to possess firearms.)

  • What good is a private sector that is thwarted by corrupt government officials?
    China and Russia are excellent examples of this. To do business, one must bribe, bribe, bribe. Be it the local crime bosses or the bureaucrats, it doesn't really matter. Neither place has the tradition of political rights which will hold the politician's feet to the fire--and keep them mostly honest.

    You are correct in stating that economic rights are being rolled back. The same goes with political rights--and in many cases they really are the same.

    Take the simple right to vote. Many share holders vote as well as many citizens. Are Chinese citizens not shareholders in their government, and do they not deserve a say in how it is run?

    For the folks comfortably placed in the West, we are very lucky to be able to have the freedom to enjoy the wealth we earn. For example, in some countries one cannot legally drink alcohol. Alcohol is common at parties, but afterwards one gets home by avoiding the police at all costs. It is an unpopular rule but the citizens cannot voice their opinions by secret ballot. Civil rights prevent (well slow) motivated extremists from gaining and staying in power.

    With rulers which are unaccountable, the average citizen finds money is tougher to earn, tougher to keep, tougher to spend. What then, is the benefit of wealth accumulation?


  • wouldnt ipsec be nicer? There are also some blowfish patches available for frees/wan ipsec, and then again ssleay libs are originally from here in australia so imsure we could always use those instead. i just hate the thought of getting people into the habit of using pppd mppe and mschap thru msvpn on thier windows boxes. With the MS NSA keys im sure the Au govt would alrady have that covered as part of echelon... what do you reckon? ;)
  • I'll repeat that one, because lots of Americans seem to have trouble with it: You Don't Need A Gun To Have Rights In A Democracy.

    Well, your example of Australia doesn't seem to be supporting your argument lately. I think we'll keep our guns over here in the US, thanks.

    If you are living in a democracy, then nothing and no one can ever take your democratic rights away.

    That is completely niave. There are lots of ways a democracy could crumble, both from internal and external reasons. Although everyone hopes it will never be necessary, it seems best to have some insurance in the long run.

    Take your pick: either you need guns, the US isn't a genuine Democracy and your 2nd Amendment is the foundation of your Civil Rights

    We need guns, the US isn't a pure democracy (it is a republic, technically), and the 2nd Amendment is part of the bill of rights, and it along with the Consitution are certainly a foundation of our civil rights.

  • Perhaps the NRA should push for the Swiss solution of every male between 18-60 *must* own a working firearm and must do a year (or is it 2?) of national service training.

    Interestingly, it certainly seems to work for the Swiss. They have one of the lowest crime rates in Europe. I've been to Switzerland, and I have to say that the Swiss are very nice, polite people. Its an often overlooked example of widespread access to firearms not necessarily causing any sort of social ills.

    Frankly, people like to blame guns for the level of violent crime in the US, and it doesn't wash. The US has higher levels of non-gun violent crime than most of the rest of the world too. However, it is worth noting that violent crime in the US is generally in decline despite the fact that most of the gun control laws on the books are nuisance measures, and the fact that the government has done an absolutely pathetic job of enforcing the laws already on the books. Interestingly, the violent crime rates in Australia and the UK are rising, including their gun related crime, despite near total prohibition of firearms ownership.

  • Thats not right

    The replublic model would have been a bit better actully than the system is now .. as it stands now the prime minster can basicly just say who he wants as the govenner general but if the system had come in it at the very lest would have been a majorty of parlament .. our head of state has no real power anyway unlike the US prez
  • New Zealander's go to the polls today, so they can go and do something about it.

    If you weren't thinking of voting, do. Go and vote for some libertarian bunch like the Greens and do the only thing that you can legally do in a democracy to change the government.

    There is also a vote on reducing the number of MPs. Don't support the cut! Less MPs means less representation for you. If they're too expensive, cut their damn wages.

    Vik :v)
  • Thank you, that was the point I was trying to make.

    Maybe in a more civilized future there would be other ways besides base violence to keep the government in check, or replace it. Whoever can destroy a thing, controlls a thing (Dune). There are, or will be soon, things besides life and death that can be controlled, that would provide leverage. How valuable is information nowadays?

    Just a thought.
  • Sounds like a good reason to keep around some obsolete hardware.

    Apple ]['s in prominent positions 'round the office, say...

    "Yes, officer. That's my computer. And that one, and that one, and that one, and..."
  • Is there some magical "fairy dust" that gets sprinkled on to government employees that makes them immune to the temptations that apparently mere mortals cannot be trusted with?

    Really. Think about it honestly, just briefly.

    Honest. Goverment employees are still human, and therefore fallible, last I checked.

    Interested in XFMail? New XFMail home page [slappy.org].

  • This is horrible. This is the electronic equivalent of saying: Yes, the government may break into your house, plant incriminating evidence against you or clean out your apartment (deleting your files or altering them in subtle ways that may not be apparent right away but still important). Of course the potential for abuse is gigantic ...

    So no, in Austalia your right to privacy in the digital domain have just been vaporized ... I really hope that other governments don't copy this ...
  • ...two wolves and a sheep deciding what to have for lunch.

    Interested in XFMail? New XFMail home page [slappy.org].
  • >That's nice as an empirical truth but how well does it hold up in practice.

    It holds up only as long as you have the means to protect your rights. As the origional post on this thread mentioned, this means guns.
    Check out The Racist Roots of Gun Control [magi.com],
    and read this interview [jpfo.org] with a Holocaust survior.


  • The fact that a few turncoats will sometimes act against their own countrymen isn't a good indication that organized military can always easily crush armed civilian guerillas. I think that even your example of the Vichy French collaborators that most French people supported the underground and opposed Hitler. Ultimately, Hitler lost the war, albiet the role the French resistance played in that is debatable. If you've ever heard of the "Guide Lamp Company" and their product "The Liberator", you'd understand how much value the US government saw in arming the French populous against the Nazis.

  • That is your opinion, and you are entitled to it. Many of us disagree. Frankly I just don't buy your arguments, and if you can't depend at all on the morals of people, then this is truly a more sad world than I think it is, and I consider myself somewhat of a pessimistic skeptic.

  • Law enforcement officers in the NRA? Sureyou jest!

    Surely I don't jest. The NRA is a big supporter of law enforcement, as long as they act within the law, the constitution and the bill of rights. The NRA doesn't speak out against law enforcement, only against excesses comitted by law enforcement agencies or individuals. It is a gross mischaracterization by the media that the NRA is anti law enforcement or that the rank and file of law enforcement agencies are opposed to the NRA.

    I occasionally go to gun shows in my area. A good example is that the NRA booth is usually manned by at least one uniformed local police officer.

    Don't you recall the fund raising letter a while back where the NRA pontificated against "jack-booted government thugs"?

    Have you ever seen the video footage of the Waco incident? Tell me what those BATF agents had on their feet. Many law enforcement officers I have talked to hold about the same opinions about the federal agencies (specifically the BATF, FBI and DEA) as I do. I think they are way out of control and need to be brought into line, and a vast number of the rank-and-file law enforcement officers out there do too.

    You remember, the letter that made George Bush publicly denounce the NRA?

    Uh, and you are saying this is necessarily a bad thing? George Bush, while better than Clinton, wasn't exactly a great friend of freedom.

  • The Europeans do it.....

    Britain is proposing some really extreme anti-crypto laws (you would have to turn over the key to any encryted data you had or
    prove you don't know the key. Proving you don't have it is virtually impossible, so if someone sends you an email containing a bunch
    of gibberish then anonymously reports that you're into child porn/terrorism you could go to jail).

    But on the other hand Germany is sponsoring development of GPG.

    Germans sudden move to sponsor GPG has cirtanly changed my attitude towards them to the better. However I was refering to a situation some - ohh - a year ago, maybe, where Denmark (I am really Danish by nationality, allthough I live in France for the time being) signed some EU-thingie (law, bill, whatever). I have lost track of that (and a quick search didn't help me), but it was something which should be equivalent to the US-regulations on crypthography.

    What was really amazing was, that signing that "thing" on behalf of Denmark was done by some administrator - not by an elected politician, and without any previous and public debate. Most people, interrested in this field (such as yours truely) didn't hear about this thing until after it had been decided.

    Another astonishing example of governments pulling some law out without involving neither technical experts not informing us - the people....
  • We did sign Wassner (sp) though, so some alterations to encryption laws (I don't think we have any now, but IANAL) are possibly on the way.
  • What I am saying is that the idea that somehow government employees (i.e., police, military, etc.) can be trusted with firearms, but ordinary citizens cannot, is, in my opinion, specious.

    Government employees are no more stable, responsible, etc., than any other person, so as long as they have firearms, others should as well.

    Interested in XFMail? New XFMail home page [slappy.org].

  • by SoftwareJanitor ( 15983 ) on Friday November 26, 1999 @06:15AM (#1503191)
    I know I will get flamed by people with anti-freedom sentiments, but doesn't it seem eerie that this is following so closely behind Australia's virtual complete elimination of private rights to firearm ownership? Seems like Australia and Great Britain are sliding quickly down a slippery slope where virtually all civil rights will be given up permanently in the name of some temporary appearances of safety.

    Sadly, there are too many politicians and shortsighted people here in the US that want to bring us the same restrictions on freedom. It seems clear that if the 2nd Amendment is circumvented or eliminated that the 1st Amendment will fall shortly thereafter.

  • And just how do you propose to do this?

    We'll start by inventing a practical assembler technology and forming an underground movement to give everybody in the world access to it. Free assembler technology means virtually infinite resources, which means that everything upon which our current economic model is based upon comes tumbling down. As the human species becomes economy-less, it also gradually becomes politics-less (this is a process we can try to speed up). "Social" crime and violence vanishes, and there is no longer a need for law per se. As governments break, we then make a massive effort to make people conscious of their own freedom - people no longer have economic shackles holding them down, and they should be able to do whatever they want without having Big Brother always breathing down their necks. What this really means is that it no longer is valid for any group of people to try to hold a monopoly on authorized violence (which is the best definition of a government). We also spread the idea of self-regulation - eternal vigilance to guarantee one's own freedom. As life conditions improve drastically, people have no need for a government per se, but only corporations to take care of their bureaucratic needs - life insurance, etc. Because there are no governments and everybody is free, corporations are no longer able to gain power in ways that harm consumers (directly or indirectly). So we have anarchist capitalism.

    It's a nice idea, and the only thing upon which it really depends to work is the technology. We'll see what happens in the long run.

    The last fellow to proclaim himself independent of the law lived in a compound in Waco, TX. Last I looked, he died, his followers died, and just to be sure, two dozen children died in a fire.

    Wow. You know, you're right. Two dozen children died, so we should stop trying to free ourselves from tyranny. Because that's the fate of everyone who attempts to break free - or who questions the morality behind the idea of government.

    Maybe you should research the histories of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence. They were killed, their children killed, their homes and farms burned.

    Again, is that supposed to scare me or what?

    Vigilance? You don't know the meaning of the word.

    I don't? Please enlighten me - how do you know that? Are you by any chance familiar with me? In fact, have you ever heard of me except for this post? So how did you come to the conclusion that I don't know the meaning of the word "vigilance"? Probably by the same means through which you found that I am a doormat. Oh well.
  • by cybercuzco ( 100904 ) on Friday November 26, 1999 @06:16AM (#1503202) Homepage Journal
    "The Price of Freedom is eternal Vigilance" -Ben Franklin

    We here in the united states must continue to be on the watch for such legislation sneaking through congress as riders on legitimate bills or as hastily enacted voice vote bills.

    I think people in australia should be rioting in the streets over this, especially over the legalization of "altering data" on any users computer. What? We dont have enough evidence to convict this guy? Just plant some evidence on his computer, no problem. After all, he must be guilty or we wouldnt have accused him.

    The question is, what would we do if such legislation was enacted here? Would we riot in the streets? Or more likely, would we just start a thread on slashdot and rant for a day or so? The second is much more likely, and worst of all, this is exactly what they want you to do, if you burn yourself out after a day, theres nothing left to keep the protest going. Americas collective attention span is so short that even the most dire problems come on their radar screens after its too late, or darn near ( y2k, global warming, Ozone hole, these are all fixed right, after all i havent heard anything about the last two in awhile, and the first one our government says is fixed, which is exactly what they would say whether it is or not). So, rather than ranting, why dont we come up with some suggestions of what to actually do if and when this actually happens here. Even if it doesnt, its always good to b prepared for any contingency.

    EFF and the ACLU are about the most essential agencies out there protecting our freedoms. I hope that all slashdoters out there who enjoy their freedom give them a donation, or beter yet, join them.

  • by Gurlia ( 110988 ) on Friday November 26, 1999 @06:19AM (#1503208)

    Alright, here's my nano-HOWTO for getting to the page referenced above:

    1. Go to the Search page [aph.gov.au]
    2. Click on Browse
    3. Click on Legislation
    4. Click on Current Bills by Title
    5. Click on Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Legislation Amendment Bill
    6. This should get you to the right folder with the relevent links to the actual documents.

    Hope this will help whoever's looking for the stuff. :-)

  • The question is, what would we do if such legislation was enacted here? Would we riot in the streets? Or more likely, would we just start a thread on slashdot and rant for a day or so?

    The worse part is that as I understand it (correct me if I am wrong) you already have a law that destroy one of your fundamental rights, if not in the letter of the law, at least in the way it is applied.

    The law: The DMCA (DIgital Millenium Copyright Act, or maybe with another order for the words)

    The right: being considered innocent until proven guilty.

    When you can have your free speech reduced without going to court then you ARE told guilty without going to court, and you MUST go to court to prove yourself innocent.

    And the most outcry I have heard is in some /. discussion, nobody in the street (or so few that I didn't heard about it in the UK) to complain about it.

    I have a qestion about the DMCA anyway. There was a /. comment that said that if your ISP didn't shut your site down at a copyright holder request then he was to be co-defendent not only in this case but in all the foregoing cases. Is it true only if you loose the case (you indeed infringed someone's copyright) or if you win the case the ISP isn't co-defendant to later cases. In the latter case it is already a reason tohave an outcry, but in the former case it really would be outrageous beyond any limit.

    Anyway, with the censoring laws in Australia (and this new law), the DMCA in the US, the cryptography law in the UK that deny you the right to remain silent (not passed yet though) I wonder how many violation of human rights will occur in these country in the next few years.
  • by gashalot ( 5775 ) on Friday November 26, 1999 @06:25AM (#1503221) Homepage
    This latest bill that has passed, along with the mandantory net censorship bill seem to be sending out the signal "Australia does not want a hi-tech industry." I know that if I lived in a country where these laws were put into effect, and I were a hi-tech worker, I would "Get out of denver" (in the immortal words of Bob Seger).

    Another important question -- does this infringe any copyright laws in .au? What if the government was paid off by some large corporation that knew someone in .au was developing the next killer app and they abused the system into allowing them full access to what is on the other company's servers?

    Perhaps it's time for someone to start a business in a small country with a very small government where hi-tech companies can headquarter themselves and keep all development servers (the island would need really really fat net pipes to everywhere). That way .au companies can circumvent the possibility of (il)legal search and seizure.

  • Despite the fact that they said "Militia" I think it's pretty obvious that the intent of the founding fathers was to make damn sure that it'd be possible to overthrow the government one day if it ever became as corrupt and tyrannical as the one they'd just overthrown. I wish they'd just come right out and said it, which would have avoided the debates and a lot of restrictions that have already been placed on the ownership of firearms.

    On a related note, I think if Bill Gates or Ross Perot wanted to own an MX Missile and had the money for it, more power to 'em.

  • by Mr_Ceebs ( 60709 ) on Friday November 26, 1999 @06:33AM (#1503247)
    O.K. if it just means that I have to go to prison at some point in my life, then fair enough. let me say here and now that any government has no right to demand my passwords or post anything on my machines. I will supply them with my passwords on the day that they aggree to hand to me all of theirs and a copy of all their messages. One of the main arguments that they employ is the idea that they are trustworthy and that we only have anything to fear if we are doing something wrong. Even if they are trustworthy, then I still could not accept this law as the law would still be in place when the opposition are in place and even the government will tell you that they aren't trustworty. The Australian law should be resisted in every way possible. if for no other reason that it makes all computer based evidence in court untennable. any computer fraudster can now claim that 'it wasn't me it was the government'
  • It wouldn't surprise me if they outlawed the use of non-government-sactioned encryption products next. I'm really surprised that no one in the US has tried that. And since they have an internet censorship board now, I'm sure people will quickly find it to be impossible to access subversive web pages like Slahdot. For your own good, after all.

    It's definitely time to look at setting up some international encrypted VPN's. If worse comes to worse, you can even get sneaky and transfer data (Encrypted or otherwise) in IP packet sequence values or some of the other unused headers of the IP packet.

  • A lot of the stuff going on here in the UK is to bring us _into line_ with the rest of the European Union. Now *that's* scary.

  • by jflynn ( 61543 ) on Friday November 26, 1999 @06:42AM (#1503266)
    Allowing the government to read and change all data on computers in a country is something that will lead to abuse eventually if not soon.

    It wouldn't be very hard to put some poorly encrypted child porn on an enemy's computer, modify the logs, then bust them. Even should they win the case in court it's not likely they'd ever be able to win political office again after the reputation damage. Of course there are millions of more subtle ways to damage an enemy thru their data.

    There seems to be an implicit assumption that a government is an evenhanded institution that would never abuse power or play favorites. Few real governments are that good, most are made up of people with agendas.

    How will Australian corporations feel about the government being able to access all their records, and modify them if they so wish? What sort of power will people leaving government and joining private industry have due to having had access to this information? There could be some lobbying power if businesses can be convinced this is not in their interests either.

    Does this imply that information temporarily stored on Australian servers is subject to Australian government control even if the source and destination of that data are in other countries? This is of international concern if so.

    It would be nice to blackhole all addresses in Australia for a day or so to express the net's displeasure at this legislation. And if they read or change data as it merely passes thru Australia, I'd support making it permanent until they stop. It's a clear and present danger to the integrity of the net.
  • >So does this mean that if I am an Australian and I detect a network intrusion that comes from a government machine, I am supposed to spread my legs and bend over?

    No, no, no!

    You're supposed to spread 'em, and LIKE IT! Or else.
  • If the U.S. government did what the Australian government just did, I'd pull the plug on my internet connection permanently. A big middle finger to those idiots. I'd rather be without the internet than to have the government in my computer.

    You're bluffing, I don't believe you. Besides,

    (1) The government would be happy for you to disconnect from the net: another malcontent made powerless.

    (2) You can get the same result by closing all ports, running no servers at all, reading e-mail in a pure ASCII text reader, and browsing the web with something that does NOT understand Java or Javascript.

  • Fortunately, there are so many groups out there that will attack the entire organiztions doing or attempting to do net censorship and privacy invasions that much of this legistlation and those government-appointed agencies who have to do something, even if it's bad, to justify their existence, that I'm not worried about it.
    A censorship group includes homosexual terminology, words such as "gay" and "lesbian", as words that should be filtered out by xyz. Homosexual organizations, including people who are not homosexual but support the organiztions, will make tons of noise, and heads will roll, killing off said legistlation and censorship groups because, in reality, there is only one right way to do it. Parental supervision.
    When the President of Austrailia learns that not only a lower government agency is reading his mail and watching his child-porn-net-browsing habits, but that regular joe citizen can also do it by cracking software or leaked software from the agency, heads will roll once again.
    My point is, radical change leads to radical mistakes.
    ....And, on a political note, who do you think is more interested in staying out of your private buisness, Democrats or Republicans? Liberals or Conservatives? If you don't know, find out. Believe it or not, voting does count, especially when you get everyone else you know in your boat.
  • by CormacJ ( 64984 ) <cormac...mcgaughey@@@gmail...com> on Friday November 26, 1999 @06:47AM (#1503282) Homepage Journal
    This is legalised hacking, and its a VERY, very, very badly thought out piece of legislation.

    1) The bill allows for intrusion of a computer system and removal of any relevant data.

    2) It doesn't allow for trashing of the computer system.

    3) It does allow for bugging and tracking of people or equipment.

    4) It allows for the "use of any force that is necessary and reasonable" to enter your premises for bugging you.

    If you come under the scrutiny of the security services under this law, expect someone to hack your system, break into any premises that yo frequent, copy the hard disks of your computer systems, fit a tracking device to your laptop or your shoes, and bug the telecoms systems that your use.

    It's a *really* bad law in my opinion. It's too wide ranging, and leaves too many things open for abuse. I know that the security services need wide ranging rules to allow for "odd" situations, but in the past, if they were careful not to break the law. This law allows for so much that they can do anything, and it's legal.

    Now they have the full force of the law behind them, so if you catch them, you can't do anything, but they can do anything they want to you.

    This law even allows for spying:
    27B Performance of other functions under paragraph 17(1)(e)


    (a) the Director-General gives a notice in writing to the Minister requesting the Minister to authorise the Organisation to obtain foreign intelligence in relation to a matter specified in the notice; and

    (b) the Minister is satisfied, on the basis of advice received from the relevant Minister, that the collection of foreign intelligence relating to that matter is important in relation to the defence of the Commonwealth or to the conduct of the Commonwealths international affairs;

    the Minister may, by writing signed by the Minister, authorise the Organisation to obtain the intelligence in relation to the matter.

    So, in theroy, anyones computer could be available it you annoy the aussies enough.

    It's frightening that a government can think about passing a law that will allow thier security services to declare cyberwar against people that they don't like.

    This law allows for total information gathering. Under this law anywhere you go, anything you say, anything you record on your computer systems, EVEN IN A FOREIGN COUNTY will be recorded.
  • by siberian ( 14177 ) on Friday November 26, 1999 @06:47AM (#1503283)
    While I am not quite that paranoid it is a scary situation. I was listening to a Noam Chomsky monograph from a few years ago where he essentially attacked the concepts of multinational corporation, free trade and the idea that the corperation is a legal entity. According to Mr. Chomsky, these very concepts are anti-constitutional in nature as the erode the individuals civil liberties and make that individual subject to another non-elected _individual_ ( since corporations are people now ). In fact, I got the impression that he truly feels such entities are the largest threat to what we call 'democracy' out there today.

    He also went into a whole tirade about free trade and how, what we are presented with as free trade, is not really free trade but free flow of capital which is highly detrimental as it essentially releases these 'individuals' into the global eco-political arena with no responsibilities, ethics or mandate.

    Both of these concepts are new entities formed in the last 50-75 years. I wish i remember the title of this lecture, it was really awesome listening. Gotta love public radio while we still have it.. you may or may not agree but its still interesting thinking from a brillant man.

  • I have a friend who thinks the same thing about Y2k, so no, you're not alone.

    But I wouldn't be so happy about living in Canada. I knew a wonderful Canadian woman once, and one of the few disagreements we had was about freedom. She really believed (and still believes, as far as I know) in government serving the public interest, and told me it's a common Canadian attitude. Bad in many respects as the situation in the US is, at least we have a large number of people who really distrust government, period. I think that helps counterbalance the censors, even though eternal vigilance is still unfortunately necessary.


    (I gotta get back on Fight-Censorship :-) ).
  • by voop ( 33465 ) on Friday November 26, 1999 @06:47AM (#1503286)
    Call for actions - all /.'ers........

    Seriously speaking, I think we see more and more of these "issues": Censorship, govermental approved and required intrusions (and now even legal modifications) without the peoples knowing, requirements of "backdoors" to the government in cryptography, restricions on publication (americans call it 'export' and 'matter of national security') of cryptography etc. etc. etc.

    The Australians do it.....(obviously)

    The Americans do it.....

    The Europeans do it.....

    Or if they haven't yet passed laws or bills, they are about to and have such in the process. Gee, I am told that if you are in France, using 'ssh' is in fact forbidden......That makes me a criminal, since I dislike the idea of transmitting cleartext root-passwords on any network.
    This is an issue, which in my mind is more and more beginning to turning into a "people of the world" vs "the collective governments of the world".

    My guess is, that unless action is taken SOON, then it will be too late. As soon as one major country/government makes precedense, preventing others from following will be hard. Remember, people, that the issues at stake are ultimately - as many others have pointed out - the "freedom of speech" and the "right for privacy".

    I think it is time for action. The question is WHAT action can/should be taken? And how? Take this as an "Ask Slashdot", btw....I would like to hear more knowledgeable peoples take on this....

    Slashdot represents - in my mind - an opportunity to unite briliant minds across the world. Slashdot COULD become a MAJOR GLOBAL POLITICAL PLAYER on such issues - if used in the right way. After all, I the average Slashdotter (whos posts get a score >0) is equiped with a cirtain level of technical expertise and common sense.

    I'd say "slashdotters unite" - let's figure out how to play the game right, and prevent insanity of government control, restrictions and supervision.

    I will end by saying as Evita does in Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical "Evita":

    "...true power is YOURS, not the government, unles it represents the people!"

    Somehow I feel that there are many governments who do not - at least on this issue.

    (Sorry for being emotional on this. But I am deeply concirned over the current development)
  • by DanaL ( 66515 ) on Friday November 26, 1999 @06:50AM (#1503288)
    What is the state of encryption laws Down Under? If they don't have Britain-esque laws regarding encoding your data, then at least they can download GnuPG or PGP and protect the contents of their computers.

    Also, do the laws give the government permission to break into your computer, or do you have to install software that opens the door for them. If the later, ugh, seems like a big security risk. *I* wouldn't want to store my company's financial data on a computer where I have to have a backdoor that lefts government (or criminals using the backdoor) come in and snoop around. Conversely, if they merely have permission to break in, I would be doing everything in my power to prevent it. If the Feds can get in, so can criminals or just nosey people.

    Canada still seems friendly to privacy issues, but it scares me because the more countries that adopt measures like this, the more likely our government is to jump on the bandwagon.

  • If they can legally change any information on your computer, clearly they can already restrict criticism of their policies - and anything else they might want to, too.


  • I'm sorry. I'm Australian. We suck.
  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Friday November 26, 1999 @06:51AM (#1503292) Homepage Journal
    Nor let us underreact.

    The worst thing an advocate of freedom can do is to discredit the cause by not having his facts straight.

    The link to information on the proposed legislation is stale, does anyone have a newer one?

    I searched for "ASIO data" and my only hit was a piece of testimony from April about cryptography.

    It seems to me that the "Right to remotely access and alter" data on private computers can cover a lot of ground, running from policies that many people would find reasonable to highly unreasonable policies. A lot depends on what the legislation says about the scope of those rights. A carte blanche is obviously a bad thing, and if that is whasis being granted I'd say we should treat Austrailia as a pariah government the way we did South Africa. But how about the equivalent of a wire tap with judicial overview?

    Example: suppose a person can credibly be shown to be taking part in a conspiracy to commit a bombing; the extent of the conspiracy is not known, however. In such cases, a court might grant a wiretap or bug, which would involve modifying some of a subject's property in a way that the tap was invisible. Likewise, suppose the persons were believed to be using the internet with strong encryption to coordinate the bombing. Perhaps the court could authorize putting BO2K on the user's computer to capture keystrokes. The intelligence agency may not have such a legal right, and I'd say that the fact they feel the need to get legal authority to do such things is a good sign. I'd doubt very much that the CIA or NSA would let a little thing like illegality stop them.

    So, a lot depends on exactly was is being granted. Anyone have any facts to offer?
  • This is it. We may not realise it now, but the internet is the next great force that will change the structure of the entire world. It is uniting people in a way never before seen. Within the 'net, political boundaries are invisible and sites halfway around the globe are as readily accessible as sites a few kilometres away. Nations, once separate worlds in their own right, are being crammed and fused together from the bottom up. Individuals, the common people, are forming this new global nation directly, all by themselves, without nore requiring cooperation from their parent governments. Long standing laws and rules of various nations are clashing violently within the net because they are all incompatible with one another and simply cannot all coexist. In response, nations are struggling desperately to impose local order over the net but are finding that they can have very little control over what is a global entity. And each time any one nation tries, there is a global backlash by the world citizens of the 'net. Those beyond the reach of legislators make it their mission to foil the new restrictive regulations, and have done so with stunning success. Witness the "banning" of DeCSS and the resulting wider propagation that resulted. Stronger and more restrictive crypto export regulations have resulted in a deliberate moving of crypto research to crypto friendly nations. And as gov't finds their powers being lessened, they lash back with stronger and more sweeping attempts to strangle the net back under their control. Eventually it will get to the point of global backlash and the world will descend into war and chaos between vicious govt's and a vast flourishing 'net underground, or the world will come together and embrace the new globalness. Only time will tell.
  • I don't know if it's changed, but it used to be very hard for the FBI to get authorisation to track computer taps. This is why they used to prefer to find out what numbers were called from an address, and do a number trace on incoming calls.

    This australian law allows for easy access to all computer data, including wire tapping.
  • What is the state of encryption laws Down Under?

    Last I checked, pretty good (much better than the US). The SSLeay (now OpenSSL) and Cryptix projects were both started there. Kind of an odd contradiction, really... unless, of course, they're planning on making some, uh, alterations (read: reversals) to their encryption laws soon (which would not suprise me much).
  • No, you are insane (O.K., you at least sound insane) because you are saying things about a group you obviously know nothing about. While the NRA often opposes government regulations (and often vocally), they do so in a completely law abiding manner. In fact, I can't think of many organizations whose members are on average more law abiding than NRA members (a large percentage of whom are law enforcement officers).

    Do you even know anything about the NRA? Or are you just repeating third party disinformation spread by the anti-freedom media? Interestingly enough the media likes to talk about protecting the 1st Amendment (which should be done), but they don't seem to think that it should apply to the NRA.

  • "We do have the right as citizens to create militias, but it's the crazies and the bad media coverage that will eventually ruin that for us."

    Unfortunately america is full of uneducated lunatics. And unfortunately those people tend to group in militia.

    I think you are mistaking your right of free speech and your right to form a political party with the right to form a private army. Hitler, a german guy, did both in the thirties and the results were very bad for individual freedom.


    Good for you, but a lot of other people are and I don't symphatize with any of them. I would sleep a lot better if their guns were taken away from them. People in militias are people who are plainly to stupid and ignorant to join a political party and use their constitutional right to change the system in a civilized way. Stupid people and guns is a deadly combination. Usually in a civil war intellectuals and smart people are the first to die when militia take control (look at places like Serbia and Rwanda if you don't believe me).

    My government (in the netherlands in case you wonder) should protect me from this kind of people, that's what I vote for and that's why I pay my taxes.
  • I don't understand your point.

    You agree that the Australian regulation is ignorant and inept, then seem to be trying to justify it on the basis that there is evil in the world.

    • Will these new rules make the World a better place ?
    • Will these new rules make Australia a worse place ?

    Laws have been around for a very long time, and we already have of the ones we could ever need. Very rarely is it really necessary to invent new laws, when a law that is properly drafted in the first place (and is enforced by judges who aren't afraid to LART a few loophole-seeking lawyers) will often serve. How many things are there on the Net which are immoral now, were already illegal outside the Net yesterday and have actually had their illegal status appreciably changed by this new law ? If something is already illegal to do, then you don't need anew law to cover it, just because it happens in a new place.

    Whenever governments are let loose with a lawbook, they write in new laws which reduce personal freedom in favour of government control, and at little benefit to the general population. We already had the means to punish many of the crimes that "occur on the Net" and if we needed any more, then it certainly wasn't a draconian ruling of this magnitude.

  • > Gee, I am told that if you are in France, using 'ssh' is in fact forbidden......That makes me a criminal, since I dislike the idea of transmitting cleartext root-passwords on any network.

    This is both true and false.

    Some previous government (right-wing, I think) had passed a law putting strict constraints on cryptography. The current government (left-wing, or "socialist" if you prefer) is removing those restrictions, and actively promotes the use of cryptography.

    So far, they lifted the limit on encryption without authorization from 40-bit to 128-bit. They couldn't go further legally - the executive branch just can't say "hey, the law says that there should be limits on encryption technology, but, hey, we issue an executive order saying not to care about it". They are proposing a law which would shred the remaining restrictions - and perhaps give some legal power of digital signatures. Alas, parliament is currently overloaded due to silly foot-dragging tactics by the right wing. How intelligent.

    [And to contradict another myth: France does not regulated in which languages Web pages are written, except when they are from government agencies (understandable) and when they constitute an advertisement (you must put a translation nearby; this is because of litigations on misleading advertisement. Any other claim is myth.

    People that want to verify can always check official legal codes on http://www.legifrance.gouv.fr.

    Don't trust what the press says!]
  • JFK's security was no match for Oswald's sniper attack. In an armed society, a politican who was a threat to freedom wouldn't face a lone gunman, (Spare me the conspiracy theories), But litterly thousands of patriots willing to defend thier freedoms. Sooner or later one of them will nail him.
  • What annoys me is that I can't stand the EU's attitude to "national security", but I can't stand the US' attitude to privacy of personal information. It seems that everywhere you go, you either have to take it from the government, or take it from the corporations. This planet sucks.

  • Try having a spook break into your office and mirror your hard-drive... It's allowed for under the propose legislation.
  • Unfortunately, civilian firearms are no match the US military

    It might seem that way, but unless the US military was willing to take significant casualties and/or unleash weapons of mass destruction against the civilian population (IE start bombing civilians), in fact the military would stand no chance against a motivated, armed guerilla populace. One only has to look to such examples as Viet Nam, Afghanistan, and Chechnya as examples of how traditional armies don't always fare well against entrenched people on their home turf. And as far as the populace goes, the people of those countries are/were way behind the people of the US, where it is estimated that around 80 million of the 270 million population own at least one firearm. And when it comes right down to it, the US military would suffer wide scale defection and low morale if they were required to fire upon people who might be their friends, neighbors or family members. It isn't so easy to kill people who are so like oneself as it is to kill people who are easily identified as enemies (because they look different, speak a different language or are wearing a different uniform).

  • It seems to me that instead of a lot of wringing of the hands the Aussies should be doing some letter writing, demonstratating, getting referrenda on the ballots, bringing court cases to impune the constitutionality of these measures and otherwise creating a big malodorous stink right where it will be smelled the best.

    I grew up in the 60's and let me tell you, it is quite possible for citizens to have a big impact on government.

    What are you waiting for? If you do not take political action you have only yourselves to blame for how you are governed.

    Oh, aand if you need ideas on how this works, grab a copy of Thoreau's essay "On Civil Disobediance" and give it a careful read.

  • I agree. In history, other countries which followed down this path wound up ruled by dictators and wishing they hadn't allowed such "safety" measures: Cuba, Nazi Germany, Yugoslavia.

    This is arguable at best for Nazi Germany and absolutely false for Cuba and Yugoslavia.

    In Nazi Germany, weapons were removed from the population by the Allied powers as part of the Versailles settlement. And if disastrous mistakes hadn't been made in the Weimar Republic, Hitler would not have come to power. (In any case, your argument seems to presuppose widespread popular opposition to the Nazis in Germany, which there was not).

    In Cuba, they were ruled by a dictator (Batista) with guns allowed, then they had a revolution, fought with guns, then they were ruled by a dictator (Castro) with guns not allowed. That's been a pretty unfortunate rock to be stuck to this century (rum and salsa excepted), but clearly has nothing to do with firearms policy.

    In Yugoslavia, Tito took power at the end of the Second World War, following on directly from a monarchy. And indeed, under Tito, Yugoslavia was a fairly free country (albeit a one-party state). It was not a bad place to live at all. And despite compulsory registration, gun ownership in Yugoslavia was widespread, as has been tragically proved over the last ten years.

    Your general attitude to government is one I share, but statements like this don't do much to advance it.

  • >>Unfortunately, civilian firearms are no match the US military, at present. Handguns cannot down B2s, hunting rifles cannot be used against tanks, etc.

    Define "civillian firearms" with enough time and the right tool I can convert SEVERAL different target rifles into the functional equivalent of their military counterparts. I don't do this because it's illegal and only would endanger my right to own them, BUT if the need were great enough in the future I'd be forced to do so.

    But nonetheless you are mistaken. Look at Afghanistan, Look at Vietnam, the two most powerful military forces on the planet couldn't stomp underequipped native people into defeat.

    Have you ever heard of a little place called Waco Texas? The Branch Davidians had a 50 caliber rifle. With the proper ammunition there aren't many things that a 50 cal can't shoot through. The 50 caliber is a legitimate hunting rifle that is used for long distance BIG GAME hunting.

    BTW, it is illegal to use the Military for domestic law enforcement.

  • I've been seeing a lot of comments about ceasing to do business with Australia, blackholing Australian adresses and other over-the-top stuff and I'd have to say do it - just make sure that people know why.

    The whole IT industry here is fed up the gills with this crap and we've run out of ideas on how to stop the insanity.

  • ASIO is *not* the equivalent of the CIA. ASIS, the Australian Security and Intelligence Service (acronym expansion slightly uncertain here), is the Australian equivalent of the CIA. ASIS, and the CIA, are (legally anyway) not involved with domestic intelligence. They spy on other countries, in other words, not their own citizens.

    ASIO are a highly secretive, but quite small, organisation that is mainly involved with counterintelligence (ie making sure that local diplomats stick to diplomatic activities rather than spying) and tracking "internal security threats". Over the years these have historically included Communists (which seem to scare the bejeezus out of Americans, and Australians of an earlier age, but seem pretty laughable to me), and Vietnam war protesters. Not surprisingly, the political left has disliked ASIO for quite some time. It was only in the 80's that they came to accept the perceived need for an intelligence agency (and when you've got a country of 200 million people that seems to be de facto run by a rather nasty army across 100 miles of water from you, a foreign intelligence service comes in handy).

    I should make clear that this is more dumb legislation from a minister who seems to make only dumb legislation. He's the one responsible for the net censorship laws (which didn't achieve their desired goal - get a tax bill past a particular Senator), he's mandating an extremely dumb HDTV broadcasting standard that no-one else in the world will use, and now this. Technologically savvy Australians are counting the days until Senator Alston gets the boot, either by election or by his own party.

  • The prohibition amendment was repealed, so congress has legal precident to repeal the Bill of Rights as well.

    Yes the prohibition amendment was repealed... with another amendment. No, it wasn't a legal precedent, it was simply an application of the rules in the Constitution providing for amendments:

    Artivle V.

    The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

    The Bill of Rights is nothing more (or less) than the first 10 Amendments because it wasn't even in the Constitution at first. It was a list of 11 (yes 11!) laws which were proposed to insure that the people would be protected just a bit more from the governement. 10 of them passed through this process to become part of the Constitution and the 11th fell short of the 2/3 of the States and sat around unratified but ratifiable(sp?) for 200+ years until several years ago the requisite 34th State (don't remember which) ratified it:

    Amendment XXVII

    No law varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives shall take effect until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.

    The Bill of Rights legally have a status identical to all other amendments, and thus all other parts of the Constitution, making them subject to amendment (and, yes, repeal). What sets the Bill of Rights apart is this almost worshipful attitude most Americans have towards them (which you displayed to a small degree :-), leading to the IMO relatively safe assumption that if there are ever 3/4 of both Houses and 2/3 of all States ready to ratify a repeal of one of them, then the Government has already become a monster which ignores the rights anyway.

    I reccomend you read up a little on the relevant documents:

    The Constitution [house.gov]
    The Amendments [house.gov]

    There are also 1 or 2 papers and books and articles and such which have been written about these documents if you want to brush up on the background.

  • Of all the issues that Slashdot has presented in the last year or so, only the Eschelon problem is as far-reaching and fatal to democracy than this new legislation in Australia empowering the government to remotely tap and alter ANY computer they wish to.

    Censorship, the removal of citizen-owned guns, and now complete digital search, seizure, and alteration is "legal" Down Under. Must your backs be against the firing squad wall before you dobies realize that you are setting yourselves up for a one-way ticket to complete dictatorship?

    My company will never invest in Australia or locate equipment there while you continue to exhibit such insane tolerance for your politician's bleeding-heart policies.

    The public good is not served if Australian citizens have no way to curb their government's actions. Wake up!

  • Of course you are right its cracking, not hacking. I apoligse to the set of programmers labelled "hackers"- my brain had switched over to government minister mode to read the legislation.

Due to lack of disk space, this fortune database has been discontinued.