Target: Tony Abbott, Prime Minister of Australia
Goal: Reject proposals by law enforcement to increase data collection
Several Australian government and law enforcement agencies have submitted proposals requesting even broader surveillance capabilities following the disclosures of Edward Snowden. Statements made by the agencies cite that advancing technologies are hampering the effectiveness of current data-collection programs. They are claiming that the Snowden disclosures have prompted a 40% increase in encrypted web traffic, resulting in circumvention of current surveillance measures.
Australia’s current metadata program collects information about the phone, text, and internet communications of its citizens, as well as their mobile phone locations. The data can be viewed without a warrant by Australian law enforcement, government organizations, and even foreign intelligence agencies such as America’s National Security Agency. The stored data was accessed 350,000 times in 2012 alone.
State police agencies as well as the Australian Security Intelligence Organization have requested permission to log the browsing history of all Australian citizens, as well as their IP addresses. They are also striving to force internet service providers to log metadata for even longer time periods through changes in privacy laws.
Access to communications data without a warrant is already far too common in today’s high-tech world. With technology so new, many rights charters worldwide do not offer the same protection to electronic communications as they do to wired telephone or mail correspondence. Demand that Australia decline all requests for increased surveillance capabilities, and ask that they instead move to include electronic communications under fourth amendment privacy protection.
Dear Tony Abbott, Prime Minister of Australia,
Several state police and government organizations have recently requested increased metadata surveillance capabilities. The current metadata program collects information about phone calls, email and text message communications, as well as the locations of mobile phones. This information was accessed nearly 350,000 times in 2012 by Australian government agencies, law enforcement, and even foreign intelligence organizations such as the NSA.
The proposals request longer retention times for this data, as well as a wider reach of collection. Agencies now wish to be able to record the entirety of citizens’ browsing histories, including their IP addresses.
With the quick advancement of the internet and smartphones, electronic communications currently sit in a grey-area unprotected by privacy laws like other forms of communication such as mail or wired telephones. It has come time to set these protections, and recognize that citizens’ right to privacy extends to their electronic data. I ask that these proposals be rejected, and that instead, Australia establish legal protection for electronic communications privacy.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Elvert Barnes via Flickr Creative Commons