So, as we look at the Guardian, we see someone stating that we need an independent monitor. So, what is going on? To be quite honest, at first I thought I was reading a cartoon. The fact that the spokespersons name is Julian Disney did not help matters (and I so love my Disney movies).
Yet, this is not me having a go at a respectable person. I do not know Prof Julian Disney AO; he is a professor of Law at UNSW. Even though those from UTS will always happily have a go at their academic brethren (Australian graduates regard the rivalry between Oxford vs. Cambridge and Harvard vs. Yale to be mere child’s play), we do keep all professors in high regard!
Yet, that does not mean that we will not oppose them when needed and this is as I see it such a moment!
I have been very vocal in the past in regards to the press, their actions and their flaws, their massive flaws. It seems that the press all about ‘self-regulating’ and beyond that it is all about public advocates (so that they will have access to materials. Yet, the intelligence field does not operate in this way. I had a few concerns, which I addressed as “I would have preferred that a clear location would be there to alert someone, even if it was a special appointed judge“, which allows for whistle blowers to the smallest extent, but not one that is open to all. I want to be certain that the information is properly vetted for ‘misuse’ (read: whinge to promote one’s self agenda and career).
So yes, I have issues with the article (at http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2014/oct/02/australian-press-council-spy-powers-independent-monitor). My first issue is “The Greens senator Scott Ludlam announced on Wednesday the Greens would not be supporting the next tranche of legislation, which will force telecommunications companies to keep the personal details of Australians for two years“. We have two options here, either the DSD (Australian version of GCHQ) gets all the data, or they get access to the data when properly needed. They opted for option two, which means that telecoms need to hold on to data. Listen up people, this means that your data is safe until there is a direct known threat, which will allow for a ‘data warrant’. So if you did nothing, you will never show up in their lists. To be clear, in America, the NSA opted for solution one, which gives them all your actions and as such you were ‘mined’ for flags. This means that in 99.999657% likelihood (roughly), they never saw you, they mined you with processes, but no person ever saw your actions.
The second quote is “He added that it was critical for the inspector general of intelligence and security, journalists and the community to continue to monitor how the new laws were implemented“, I agree with most of this view, but let’s change ‘, journalists and the community‘ into ‘a special appointed and security cleared judge‘. I have nothing against the proper person monitoring what happens and as I am still in favour of a legal approach, it should be a special appointed judge and let’s keep the journo’s out of that part, for several reasons. Let’s not forget that the Sunday Mirror entrapment sting is less than a week old and we have seen our share of issues, especially when there was some free for all against Julia Gillard, with the questions aimed at Tim Mathieson to be the ‘Ruddy’ cake, the icing and the candles. There are several more issues. I admit we are not as bad as that island on the other side of the planet, but when it comes to trusting the press, we should all have issues, especially as the Sony issue was ignored by ALL!
So, as it stands, at present I will oppose the Australian Press Council on this.
There is however something in the quote “This will affect every man, woman and child and every device in the country. Now the government has rammed the Asio laws through the Parliament today it is now turning its sights on every internet user in the country“, this statement is not incorrect, yet the people (read the press and politicians) are both dancing around one issue, whilst another issue is the real threat. It is not that the Intelligence community has access. They are merely there to stop the dangers of terrorism. My issue from the very beginning has been ‘who else gets to have access‘. Here we see the real danger, which the press seems to be unwilling to voice. Why? Is a company like Telstra too able to ‘uproot’ your careers? That fear was voiced by me in the blog ‘For our spies only!‘ which I wrote on the 26th of September, the issue is not what should get access, but what will end up having access too that is to a larger degree a concern. I am still convinced that if data retention becomes a larger issue, the intelligence community will be lacking in hardware, knowledge and staff to deal with these massive amounts of data, which leaves us open to other issues, yet this is just my view!
Now consider the impact!
What impact could there have been? Well, to understand that, we have to take a look at yesterday’s news (at http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/law-order/jihadist-sponsor-accused-may-have-made-one-fatal-error-that-led-to-his-arrest/story-fni0fee2-1227075746698). The issue here is not how they got him, but how they almost did not get him. The issue was luck, if the FBI did not have a record on all 12 Americans in Syria, we would not know. Hassan El Sabsabi was allegedly funding people to join Islamic State. He would still be in business, and your money on pizza would have gone to support Islamic State. What a lovely meal you would be having then. Was it perhaps the peperoni supreme?
If ASIO had the data and the scripts would have been running, it is likely that he would have been known earlier, more important, who else is doing this? If they funded a non-American they could still be in business and perhaps they still are. There is no evidence that there was only one person doing this, there is evidence that he is unlikely to be the only one. Did you sign up for your Pizza, your Salad or your Sushi to be the foundation for another terrorist? No! So let ASIO do their job! In this case the press will only advice on the things that further their OWN cause, which tends to be circulation and advertisement. That part has been in the foreground in such a blatant way, that I feel no other option then to oppose the view Professor Disney is offering. Possible we will see more information on what happens next and perhaps the Professor will sway my view. I do not think so, but ignoring voices of wisdom tends to be silly and polarising, which serves no one, not even me, myself and I.
What other issues are there?
Well for me that is pretty much it. I believe that access needs to be monitored and no one beside the Intelligence community should have access and that will, at present not be a given. However, I am very much in favour of the press not getting access at all. Yet, the article by Paul Farrell seems to be written with the ‘intent’ to instil fear. A fear we should not get into, for the very reason that it is fear that they are trying to remove and is achieved by people not looking over their shoulder, especially a group of journalists who seem to give into appeasing advertisers, the one group we do not want to see anywhere near these amounts of data.