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.
Article: Data retention – secrecy by Government, pussyfooting by Labor. The content we linked to is no longer available
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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
Under the proposed laws, people travelling to terrorism hotspots could be jailed for five years; their passports could be seized for two week periods; while welfare, family payments and paid parental leave could be cancelled on security grounds.
Stephen Blanks, from the New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties, says children could be the real victims.
"We have concerns about the provisions for secret cancellation of passports, or cancellation of passports without notice. There are some consequences of those provisions are likely to result in children being put into detention. Now that's a hot-button issue at the moment. One can expect that the way in which cancellation of passports and visas impacts on dependents will result in detention of children.
Mr Blanks is calling for a public interest monitor to oversee the proposed laws.
Listen now: Concerns raised over 'foreign fighter' laws
Source: SBS World News Radio, 6/10/2014
This week saw the passage of legislation that will give the Australian Security intelligence Organisation new powers to conduct "special intelligence operations", where agents will be permitted to break the law and journalists, whistleblowers and others will be penalised with up to 10 years in prison if they reveal any aspect of them.
Meanwhlie, ASIO will only need one warrant to spy on networks of computers, which some intepret to mean the entire internet.
"That could be to really any device that's connected to the internet," says Stephen Blanks of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties. "[Intelligence agencies] will access information concerning people who are not suspected of any wrongdoing."
Australia’s domestic intelligence agency would have almost “total control” over the cancellation of passports for people who are considered a security risk under proposed laws which the Australian Human Rights Commission has warned may have severe consequences.
Stephen Blanks, the president of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, also expressed concerns about the passport changes, and said it could see more people being held in detention.
“One can expect that the way that that impacts the cancellation of dependants passports will result in detention of children,” he said.
Source: The Guardian, 3/10/2014