In re-writing the law on foreign fighters, the Government is increasing the law and order emphasis on stopping the Australian based frontmen for Islamic State. The new and broader control order regime gives the Federal Police more scope to isolate people who are recruiting Sunni Muslims to travel abroad and fight.
"There's still a whole lot of mystery around about this intelligence sharing... I think the Australian public are entitled to know a whole lot more about how the intelligence gathering functions of government work, how they interact with law enforcement and with the defence force." - NSWCCL President, Stephen Blanks
Source: ABC Radio PM, 25/11/14
The NSW Council for Civil Liberties and Muslim Legal Network, which will front the inquiry on Thursday, are concerned at the speed the government wants to move the laws through parliament.
"The short time frame is an abuse of process and lays the foundation for reckless lawmaking," they told the committee.
Source: 9 News Australia, 13/11/2014
The window of opportunity to complain to the government about the latest changes to national security laws has closed with barely a ripple of protest.
NSWCCL's Stephen Blanks and Muslim Legal Network's Lydia Shelly speak to ABC Radio following a joint submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security .
Source: ABC Radio "PM", 12/11/2014
Proposed anti-terror law represents a "back door" to allow targeted killings of Australians on foreign battle fields
The Abbott government's latest proposed anti-terror law represents a "back door" to allow targeted killings of Australians on foreign battle fields, and make the Australian Muslim community feel "targeted" by law enforcement and intelligence agencies, the Muslim Legal Network and the NSW Council of Civil Liberties argue in their joint submission to a parliamentary committee reviewing the Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment Bill 2014, introduced to Parliament on October 30 by Attorney-General George Brandis.
Source: Sydney Morning Herald, 12/11/2014
NSW government agencies are pushing ahead with the linking and sharing of personal data stored on massive databases to make life "convenient".
Coming soon are changes to the way Compulsory Third Party Green Slips will be purchased in 2015
The insurers are building a real-time computer interface with the registry. The industry says it wants to check for fraud, particularly where a driver claims their car is garaged, but is in fact parked on the street in a different suburb.
The president of the NSW Civil Liberties Council Stephen Blanks says opening the register to insurance companies shows the "dangers of creating databanks and function creep".
Source: Sydney Morning Herald. 2/11/2014
Insurance companies will be able to access personal data held on the motor vehicle registry before quoting a price to a potential customer for a Green Slip, under NSW government changes.
But the NSW Civil Liberties Council president Stephen Blanks said giving insurance companies access to a government registry through a regulation change "shows the dangers of creating databanks and function creep".
This occurs where a database of personal information is created for one purpose, but over time is used for more and more purposes.
"This can be done without any real public scrutiny at an agency level," Mr Blanks said.
Source: Sydney Morning Herald, 2/11/2014
Yesterday opponents of Australia’s mooted data retention laws held a protest meeting in Parliament House.
It was led by three cross-bench senators who oppose the legislation – The Greens’ Scott Ludlam, independent Nick Xenophon, and libertarian David Leyonhjelm. They were joined by a large cross section of communications industry and privacy advocates, including Communications Alliance and the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network.
Others opposing the legislation include Electronic Frontiers Australia, Pirate Party Australia, Blueprint for Free Speech, Civil Liberties Australia, Internet Society of Australia, Institute of Public Affairs, Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association, the Law Council of Australia, Liberty Victoria, the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, the Australian Privacy Foundation, iiNet, the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, and ThoughtWorks.
The state government has thrown its support behind a push by police to be equipped with body-mounted cameras capturing every move of the NSW public. Police Association president Scott Weber said the roll out of the cameras to every front-line officer was a "natural progression" following a successful trial of the technology in some police commands and moves by the state government to allow video evidence to be used in domestic violence court cases.
Stephen Blanks, president of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, supported the roll-out of cameras, saying it will keep police accountable too.
"These cameras are fine so long as police can't turn them off," he said. "If they are going to have them, it's important they capture everything that occurs, not just material selected by police."
Source: Sydney Morning Herald, 21/10/14
In an atmosphere of manufactured hysteria about “Muslim terrorists” in our midst, the Coalition government has introduced sweeping attacks on civil liberties in Australia.
ASIO was also given expanded powers to break into more actual houses with force and without being accompanied by the state or federal police. They have the power to break into neighbouring houses to those targeted and to use “reasonable” force not only at the point of breaking in but right through the operation.
The new laws also give ASIO legal immunity for breaking the law in any “special intelligence operation” designated by the attorney-general as long as such lawbreaking does not cause death, serious injury, torture, sexual offences or significant damage to property.
The NSW Council for Civil Liberties has warned that this expanded power to conduct searches and use force, without the presence of the police, formally turns ASIO into a “secret police” and is a “significant danger to Australian democracy”.
Source: Green Left Weekly, 11/10/14
The next tranche of the Australian government’s national security legislation could allow biometric information to be shared with domestic and foreign agencies
Stephen Blanks, the president of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, said the ability to share with other agencies without a warrant was concerning.
“Sharing of data collected for immigration control with other agencies ought to be subject to independent oversight and should only be done in circumstances which would justify the issue of a warrant,” he said.
Source: The Guardian, 7/10/14