News that the Federal Government’s financial regulator, ASIC, has started forcing Australian ISPs to block websites it suspects of providing fraudulent financial opportunities has set off warning bells for Pirate Party Australia.
The Party has long been a critic of the imposition of filtering regimes on Australian Internet users, taking particular objection to the lack of oversight and competency involved. The ASIC incident has proven to be no exception: 1,200 websites were wrongly and inadvertently blocked as a result of a single request. The IP address used by the fraudulent site was shared with several others, including the independent learning organisation Melbourne Free University.
ASIC’s order to block the website relied upon section 313 of the Telecommunications Act to justify the block, appearing to be the second time ASIC has attempted to have a website blocked.
Witnesses at ongoing negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) in Singapore have reported that Disney has called for an increase in copyright terms, to the disdain of the unsurprised Pirate Party Australia. Like all previous rounds it is unclear exactly what is being negotiated, as the process is completely opaque.
Pirate Party Australia is opposed to Australia’s continued involvement in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement on the grounds that it is not being negotiated transparently, and leaked texts show strong pushes for stricter intellectual property regimes. Such provisions have been likened to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) which Australia is a signatory to, but which last year was defeated in the European Parliament following massive protests across the European Union.
“Yesterday saw the first day of stakeholder negotiations of the latest round. Of particular note was a representative from Disney claiming that copyright terms needed to be expanded to protect its intellectual property, highlighting visits to Disney Land and being able to see IronMan 3 as reasons for longer copyright terms,” said Simon Frew, Deputy President of Pirate Party Australia.
Australian Greens, Pirate Party Australia combined press release
Australian Greens communications spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam will table a petition in the Senate tomorrow circulated by Pirate Party Australia and comprising 1447 signatures raising serious concerns about proposed changes to national security laws.
The signatories have presented objections to the proposals under discussion by the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence and Security Inquiry into potential reforms of National Security Legislation (#natsecinquiry).
“98.9 per cent of the five and a half thousand submissions received by the Committee are opposed to the unnecessary and dangerously vague data retention proposal and other draconian ideas suggested by the Attorney General’s Department,” said Senator Ludlam.
Pirate Party Secretary Brendan Molloy said, “The petitioners object to penalties for failing to provide computer passwords and near unrestricted interception of communications, as well as the appallingly short window of time provided by the Committee to make a submission, of which the Pirate Party campaigned for an extension.”
Pirate Party Australia is appalled by reports that should the Coalition form Government following the next federal election, they would provide ASIO with what was described by the Age’s Daniel Flitton as “unfettered powers to brand refugees a security risk to Australia”.
The Coalition would remove any form of appeal process to challenge ASIO’s determinations, flying in the face of fundamental human rights that a nation like Australia should strive to uphold. Warren Entsch, chief opposition whip, expressed that in his opinion ASIO rulings should not be reviewable, stating that “we rely on them absolutely”.
“Both major Parties seem intent on assaulting human and civil rights by granting draconian new powers to ASIO,” said Simon Frew, Deputy President of Pirate Party Australia.
“The ALP have the National Security Inquiry, where they want to give ASIO the power to dig through personal communication records without a warrant, hack computers of people suspected of no crime and demand passwords off anyone on a mere suspicion. The Liberal Party want to place ASIO above the Law by granting them absolute power over refugees. There is nothing liberal about abandoning the rule of law to set secret police onto people fleeing persecution.”
Pirate Party Australia recommends caution be exercised in regards to the establishment of a global digital market that would involve ceding sovereignty of data to the United States or other jurisdictions with poor data protection legislation and records.
The Party’s warning bells were triggered by an opinion piece from Jeffrey Bleich, US Ambassador to Australia, published in the Sydney Morning Herald two days ago. Mr Bleich’s opinion piece states that the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) may be used to eliminate what he refers to as “cloud protectionism”.
“It’s alarming that they would be even considering such a thing, when the Dutch are currently wondering whether the US can access their confidential health records under the PATRIOT Act,” said Brendan Molloy, Secretary of Pirate Party Australia.