Australia’s government is pushing a law that would force phone and Internet companies to keep your digital records for up to two years? True story.
Like any good law that is open to abuse and will erode privacy and liberty, it’s being done in the name of security. Attorney General Nicola Roxon even had the audacity to suggest the law would help prevent or prosecute future assassination attempts. She also assured those who are paranoid about loss of privacy that the data would generally be stored, not seen, and only be used to prevent or solve a crime.
Phew! Thank goodness. We were worried that that government might abuse its access to your personal phone records and Internet data records — records which are generally deleted by phone and Internet companies. It’s good to know the government would only ever mine that data to prevent a future crime or solve one already committed. We’ll go back to worrying about how North Melbourne can beat the West Coast on Sunday at Paterson’s Stadium.
Go the Kangas!
On second thought…we just can’t shake the feeling that whether the law passes or not, the government will find a way to store and browse your data anyway. We hope we’re wrong. And there are some encouraging signs.
Usually, at this point in the debate about living in a police state, some Neanderthal idiot will say that if you have nothing to hide then you shouldn’t be worried about the government having a look around. Only perverts, drug traffickers, terrorists, and underworld crime lords are worried about privacy, so that they can conceal their activity from justice, right?
If you live in a free society with the rule of law and limited government, you’re not obliged to prove to the government that you have nothing to hide. Under a constitution that strictly limits the powers of the State, you are free to exercise your liberty. The State has to prove to the courts that it has the right to search your possessions, seize your goods, detain your person, or otherwise make your life miserable through coercion.
If you want to live in a surveillance society where the State watches your every move, then you’ll love this law. If you trust people in power not to abuse their authority, you probably shouldn’t be reading this. But if you place any value on liberty and limited government, you’ll treat this proposal with the ridicule and contempt it so richly deserves. Take it seriously, but don’t take it lying down. In fact, we take it so seriously we’re actually going to do something about it. Stay tuned!
for The Daily Reckoning Australia
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