Monday, December 1, 2014

Community Safety 'Trade Freedom for Security and you'll Lose Both' Cassandra Wilkinson Weekend Australian July 26-27th 2014 Hyper-Vigilantism



"The challenge brought by terrorism is, as AC Grayling has written, not only what they may do to us but “what liberal societies might do to themselves in the face of this new and different threat”. 

Given the real problem posed by terrorism, we cannot simply, in the spirit of Benjamin Franklin, forgo all liberty for security. 

But our parliamentarians must convince us with better arguments than “nothing to hide, nothing to fear” or we will find ourselves left with neither."


"In January (2014) The Age reported five officers charged in connection with Victorian police raids that uncovered nearly 6000 police documents in the hands of criminals. 

“This has demonstrated that no matter how much security you have, someone can still be intent on being corrupt enough to betray their office, their colleagues and their community,” said (Victoria Police Chief) Commissioner Ken Lay,

noting it was extremely fortunate that none of the identified people had been harmed."

"Those considering creating honey pots of data may take heed of the (Chief) commissioner’s admission: 

“When one of our members who has access to our systems decides he is going to turn and behave corruptly, it is almost impossible to protect the organisation.”




Protect liberty, or bad guys win

CASSANDRA WILKINSON THE AUSTRALIAN JULY 26, 2014

A FEW weeks ago I raised concerns in these pages about a bill that the commonwealth had introduced to abolish the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor.
The monitor had been appointed with the support of all major parties to stand guard over our civil liberties as law enforcement powers were extended to address terrorist threats. So I was thrilled when on the Attorney-General recently withdrew the repeal bill, confirming the monitor will stand. But the thrill is tempered, because the powers the monitor oversees are set to grow again.
A bill has been tabled to give force to the recommendations of a parliamentary report, Potential Reforms of Australia’s National Security Legislation, last year.
According to the lawyer who held the position of independent monitor, Bret Walker SC, some additional powers are needed. He takes the threat of Australians becoming foreign-trained fighters especially seriously, suggesting the “desensitisation to atrocity” that happens in foreign theatres of conflict spells trouble when fighters return. But along with what seem reasonable provisions such as faster passport suspensions, there is a wish list from the spy agencies that deserves wide debate.
The expanded powers would allow access to computers and networks of suspects and non-suspects as well as entry to non-suspects’ premises. There are proposed offences that appear to target whistleblowers and journalists with increased penalties for letting the public know if security agencies are doing wrong.
In addition, the proposed data retention laws requested under the previous government are still under consideration. The committee that delivered the report on extended powers squibbed on the data retention issue, saying it was a matter for parliament. However, transcripts suggest members gave short shrift to the Institute of Public Affairs’ Chris Berg, who said the measure was inconsistent with the right to privacy. Berg argued creating stores of information known to be of interest to police could attract the unscrupulous to data “honey pots”.
Independent MP Andrew Wilkie has said you can’t deny increased powers contribute to national security but warned: “A police state would also enhance your security.” If only that were true. Even given the excellent job most police do, it isn’t true that your personal information is always safe with them.
This month Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said it was “stupid” to say there was no corruption, 25 years after Fitzgerald. More people could take a leaf out of his book and acknowledge the risk of corruption. This year alone there have been several cases of poor controls over private information. This month, an Australian Federal Police officer was charged with four counts of unauthorised access to data with intent to commit a serious offence, and a former officer in Western Australia was sentenced to nine months’ jail after illegally accessing police information to give to a lawyer who was his lover.
In January The Age reported five officers charged in connection with Victorian police raids that uncovered nearly 6000 police documents in the hands of criminals. “This has demonstrated that no matter how much security you have, someone can still be intent on being corrupt enough to betray their office, their colleagues and their community,” said Commissioner Ken Lay, noting it was extremely fortunate that none of the identified people had been harmed.
Those considering creating honey pots of data may take heed of the commissioner’s admission: “When one of our members who has access to our systems decides he is going to turn and behave corruptly, it is almost impossible to protect the organisation.”
Anyone who thinks this is the stuff of the lower ranks or provincial forces should remember the $120 million worth of ice the former deputy director of the NSW Crime Commission attempted to import in 2007.
The old act, we are told, “pre-dates the internet age”. That’s true, but we shouldn’t be fooled that the age of terror raises different issues than were raised by the age of postage, telephones or cameras. Open society has always faced enemies. The challenge brought by terrorism is, as AC Grayling has written, not only what they may do to us but “what liberal societies might do to themselves in the face of this new and different threat”. Given the real problem posed by terrorism, we cannot simply, in the spirit of Benjamin Franklin, forgo all liberty for security. But our parliamentarians must convince us with better arguments than “nothing to hide, nothing to fear” or we will find ourselves left with neither.


Cassandra Wilkinson

Weekend Australian July 26-27th 2014







Cassandra Wilkinson

Weekend Australian July 26-27th 2014

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