Is it okay for the Prime Minister to have secrets? 158



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Here’s a modern-day conundrum: if a nation such as ours has a technologically savvy prime minister such as Malcolm Turnbull who is accustomed to using apps and smartphones to communicate, should he have to switch back to the old dinosaur systems when sworn in to the top job?

This is a question being asked this week as the PM continues to send emails via a service he says provides superior security, but which others are worried is a little too private.

And in case you’re wondering, the old dinosaur technology used by most recent PMs is email (and of course Tony Abbott famously used a fax machine to send his letter of resignation).

Mr Turnbull uses a program called Wikr to send emails and told the ABC that other MPs use similar “over-the-top” applications. He insists that Wikr is more secure than the government’s email system.

“Firstly, you shouldn’t assume that government email services are more secure than private ones … but nonetheless we do have rules relating to them,” he said.

“Secondly, I can tell you that text messaging, which is widely used, is the least form of communication — it’s unencrypted in transit and unencrypted at rest.  There are a number of over-the-top applications [such as Wickr]that offer a much higher degree of security.”

A spokesperson pointed out that Wikr servers are located in Australia, and that any piece of classified information would be send using the government’s email system.

In the US, Hillary Clinton was recently forced to apologise for using her personal home email to send a message that contained government information.

Perhaps the real issue here is: how much privacy is a top minister allowed? Is it okay for Mr Turnbull to be working beyond the parameters of accountability and record-keeping?

Fairfax reports that, in addition to security implications, Bill Shorten said he was concerned Mr Turnbull may have circumvented freedom of information laws by using his own email account.

“There is a serious issue to be addressed here,” Mr Shorten said.

“It’s important for the Prime Minister to realise that he’s the same as everyone else. The same rules apply to all of us.”

Mr Turnbull responded by saying FOI requests can be issued for text messages and emails sent from private accounts as well as emails sent from a politician’s official address.

What do you think? Is it okay for our prime minister to be running the country from his phone? Should there be more transparency? 


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  1. From what I can gather the server he is using cannot collect metadata, I can vaguely remember something about him using it before he became PM. All of us should be able to have a private life but in today’s climate that is not possible because of Government legislation. I would say he used that server to help over throw Abbott without being detected but I am guessing

    7 REPLY
    • He used that server around the same time they brought in the metadata laws.Apparently it’s ok to know what we’re doing but they don’t want anyone to know what they’re doing. Figures

    • Oh so relieved to see you back Libbi! Let the negatives flow off you like a ducks feathers. You can’t let them get your beautiful spirit down:-)

    • Don’t know if you were being trolled Libbi, but welcome back. I think you may be right about MT. Everybody can use a VPN to circumvent the stupid Data Retention Laws and that’s why they are totally useless. You can join NordVPN or other VPNs for $60 pa or something. Just remember that whatever people post on social media has their name on it, so they still have to be careful if they want to make mischief without being traced…

  2. The email server he used is self destructing, that means that his metadata cannot be collect stored and read. It is only us mere peasants who have our metadata saved. At the very least is is not fair because his Government bought in the legislation

  3. I suspect a lot of government business is done well away from record keeping. A Canberra restaurant near the Old Parliament House was rumoured to have as many deals done behind its doors as Parliament House. Some important communications should be permanently on the record but I doubt that has ever occurred.

    2 REPLY
  4. The South Australian Independent Commissioner Against Corruption has said the practise for Government official should stop and that includes Turnbull !! because it stops disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act 1991 (‘FOI Act’). meaning he can hide anything and not be detected.. like over throwing Abbott

    6 REPLY
  5. If indeed the government’s email/internet system is not as secure a other commercially availabel systems, surely this is cause for the government to do something about the quality of services? If not how can we plebs possibley expect quality for ourselves?

    1 REPLY
    • I agree. My first thought was security of the country. There are obviously some communications that need to be kept secret.

  6. Really how secure is any security, however the PM’s server is self destructing and the metadata can not be collected, unfortunately for the rest of us we don’t share the privilege however I always say if you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to worry about.

  7. I’m fed up with this ‘open and transparent’ government. Let’s go back to the old way, when we actually knew most of what was happening

  8. Anyone who still believes that you can appease islam & live in peace with moslems is just totally dis-regarding islam’s vile 1400 history & therefore those people are total morons.

    4 REPLY
    • I am a Christian, go back & read their history….let’s learn from history &I be part of creating a new history, not carry on with the past.
      It also helps to study all faith systems, not just vilify our Muslim brothers & sisters, & then we come to realize that all interpretations aren’t correct.
      Actually if you could change the need to fight in the male of the species we may just make some peaceful progress!!

    • The trouble is Del that christians HAVE changed their barbaric behaviour from the past….islam has not.

    • what we are talking about here is murder…..of innocent people on a mass scale….islam is the only “religion” I know of that encourages its followers to murder non followers…..stick to the subject.

  9. and so it starts..he usurped his leaders place and with in days the bashing starts, just gotta love politics…bureaucrats run the country while the politicians play

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