In the aftermath of revelations that the US National Security Agency has been operating an extensive clandestine surveillance program known as PRISM, Pirate Party Australia and other organisations will be holding rallies around the country this Saturday in protest against the ever-growing surveillance state.
“As citizens of a democratic country, we must take care that our democracy stays strong, and that the relationship betweens our branches of government remains balanced. Secret mass surveillence by its very nature denies that balance because it prevents oversight,” said David Campbell, President of Pirate Party Australia and Senate candidate for NSW. “We must make sure that what has been occuring in the United States is not replicated here.”
The existence of such surveillance is less concerning to Pirate Party Australia than the fact that it was needlessly kept secret. There is speculation that Australian intelligence agencies may be implicated in the surveillance program or have had access to the data collected. Last month, Senator Scott Ludlam raised a motion in the Senate to compel the Attorney-General, Mark Dreyfus, to describe the extent to which Australia had been involved in or aware of PRISM. The motion was defeated.
“The major parties have continually shown contempt for Australians by failing to be transparent and honest with us,” said Mr Campbell continued. “We are increasingly aware of certain ways the Government has used laws for purposes they were not intended, and are doing so secretly.”
“Many things are claimed to fall within the scope of the law, such as the use of section 313 of the Telecommunications Act for censorship. It is not enough to say that laws give the Government power and leave the matter there — we must be informed of when and how they use provisions so that the people of Australia can decide whether laws are being used appropriately,” he concluded.
Rallies will be held in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth this Saturday, 6 July. Information can be found on the organisers’ website — http://ourprivacy.org.au. The supporters include Pirate Party Australia, the Greens‘, Electronic Frontiers Australia, the Support Assange & WikiLeaks Coalition, WikiLeaks Australian Citizens Alliance, WikiLeaks Party, Socialist Alliance and the Australian Sex Party.
Pirate Party Australia invites all concerned individuals to attend and show our representatives that we care about our privacy, our human rights and our democracy.