AUSTRALIA: Email spy powers 'a licence for witch hunts'
Here we go again, with that fine line between good government and potential overbearing government, with the potential to spy on people's private emails - the one and only true open source internet service we have. Our beloved Deputy Prime Minister Julia Dillard has me worried with this statement.
"So it's a national security move, not a move about an unseemly interest in people's private emails." She has sent up warning signals! Naturally, the outcome will depend on whether enough people will show they are paying attention. What the government needs to do is talk to the Servers. They are suupposed to have secure firewalls. Maybe that is where the focus should be, not down the line at the end user.
14 April, 2008, ABC News
Civil rights groups have spoken out against a proposal for closer monitoring of email and internet use in workplaces.
The Federal Government is considering new national security laws which would allow employers to check their workers' computer use - such as emails - without the employee's consent.
Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard says critical computer networks need to be better protected against cyber attacks.
But Dale Clapperton, from the internet-rights watchdog Electronic Frontiers Australia, says it is an over-reaction.
"Our concern is, that if given these powers, they're more likely to be used for eavesdropping and corporate witch hunts rather than protecting Australia from some kind of cyber attack."
Earlier Ms Gillard defended the proposal.
"We want to make sure that they are safe from terrorist attack," she said.
"Part of doing that is making sure we've got the right powers to ensure that we can tell if there's something unusual going on in the system.
"So it's a national security move, not a move about an unseemly interest in people's private emails."
Attorney-General Robert McClelland says the changes are only being considered, but he thinks people's privacy could be protected.
"You would be looking at excluding use of personal information for any other purpose," he said.
Opposition legal affairs spokesman George Brandis says he is concerned about giving companies the power "to act in effect as a quasi-law enforcement or investigative authority"