Australian Spy agency ASIO has requested extra powers to investigate person of interest in the light of the newly heightened terrorist risk. The agency could not have plotted for a better time for the agency after the knife attack on a Victoria Police and second Australia Federal Police officer from the counter-terrorism division at Endeavour Hills Police Station in Melbourne.
The National Security Legislation Amendments Bill (No.1) have been accepted by the government in full and by the opposition.
The privacy discussion arises as line that allows for access to “a computer associated with, used by, or likely to be used by, a person (whose identity may or may not be known)”. This line within the bill makes ASIO completely unaccountable.
The broad laws allow the ASIO officers to access third party computers and networked computers and thereby access to the whole web with a singular warrant. The vague definition of the third party computer makes it a field day for ASIO. Opposing parties have expressed that public networks such as the large MNC’s, Universities etc, which can network 10000+ computers and one warrant would lead to the privacy compromise of all devices and users.
A similar program in the USA has backfired on the NSA and the Obama administration with revelations by Edward Snowden of wide spread breaches of privacy at citizen and government level.
The question arises if the NSA will be using the the ASIO framework to conduct its dirty work going forward to avoid scrutinisation at home going forward.