How would you like it if the government had access to every single webpage, Facebook comment, video, journal or article you looked at online? How would you feel if the telco companies we know and trust were forced to give all of your phone call, messaging and internet data to the government or risk paying huge fines?
Well, it’s been a scenario lingering over us for months now, but after the plans go to cabinet this week, the laws could be changing a lot sooner than we realised.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the government previously said that the plan has been under “active consideration”, but now the legislation could be implemented by the end of this year.
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David Irvine, the head of ASIO said that the power for government security agencies to access all communications data of everyday people is “absolutely crucial” in order to combat threats of local terrorism. However, Steve Dalby of iiNet said that this legislation forces commercial communications companies into “unwilling agents of the state”.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that a similar piece of legislation was ruled “invalid” by the Court of Justice of the European Union just a few months ago. But this only lasted a short period of time and a similar piece of legislation was brought in that allows the government to gain access to metadata – only the times, dates, locations, sender and receiver.
The government has prioritised the discussion around this legislation in view of recent cases regarding Australians involved in suspected terrorism cases in Iraq and Syria. But is it necessary?
When we were growing up, if you told someone a secret the only way it could be shared was if that person told someone else. If you wrote someone a letter the only way it could be shared around was if the recipient showed someone else. If the government wanted to know about our communication methods they would intercept the post and sort through thousands of letters trying to find the suspicious one. Or, they would come to your house and would search it, and only if they had a full warrant from a court order.
The internet has made life easier for all of us, but when can we begin to sacrifice our privacy for our convenience? Not because we have something to hide, but simply because our lives are our business. I can understand that while technology progresses so too does our need to monitor it, but I’m not sure if I’m willing to give up my privacy rights to enjoy the privilege.
So are accepting the changes the only way to deal with it? Is it a matter of you either use it and submit to the new regulations or you make the choice not to use technology and retain your privacy? I’m really not sure about how I feel… So tell me, how about you?