Tuesday, July 16, 2024

More police powers, less protections

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Senator Lidia Thorpe, Media Release, 26 August 2021

The Labor and Liberal parties have voted to pass the Surveillance Legislation Amendment (Identify and Disrupt) Bill 2020 which makes three new warrants available to the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC). 

Network activity warrants allow the AFP or ACIC to monitor online activity, without investigating or accusing a person of a crime. Account takeover warrants enable police to take over an account and change their data, which could then be used as evidence in a criminal proceeding. 

Data disruption warrants grant law enforcement data disruption powers to stop the suspected commission of an offence using a computer. If a person with relevant knowledge does not comply with a data disruption warrant, it could result in a 10 year jail term. 

“The Richardson review concluded that this bill enables the AFP and ACIC to be ‘judge, jury and executioner.’ That’s not how we deliver justice in this country.” said Senator Lidia Thorpe, the Greens spokesperson for Justice. 

“The bill does not identify or explain why these powers are necessary and our allies in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand do not grant law enforcement these rights. 

“The Greens put forward amendments to balance these powers with a robust human rights framework that would protect innocent people from the abuse of powers contained in this bill, but we were outvoted by the major parties. 

“As our laws evolve to combat cyber-enabled crime, our human rights need to evolve as well to protect us from cyber-enabled abuses of power.”


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