Three of a Kind

Online policing isn’t working

Let’s be clear on this point: there are some very good police out there doing a fine job. Now let’s be real. Police are people, just like the rest of us. And just like the rest of us there are those that make some really, really horrendous judgment calls. Like say, “accessing” personal information of citizens who are of no interest to the judicial system out of “curiosity”. We’re not making this up, some of you may have seen the article on this posted on our facebook page via the Guardian recently. Just in case you haven’t or you couldn’t believe your eyes the first time around, here it is.

So, what’s the point? The point is that information, data, records are not just wrestled away from their rightful owners for money. Sometimes, it’s not business, it’s personal. And personally, we don’t care why someone wants someone else’s personal data, they should not be able to access it without consent. Let’s think about these members of the police force who helped themselves to the private info of Ms Average. They didn’t do it for money, for a promotion or as part of an elaborate scheme to corner a criminal. They did it because they could. In some cases, these things are done as shortcuts, a means to an end but it’s not legal and it’s not right. On top of that, the people who committed these um… infractions weren’t even, so far as we could tell, sophisticated hackers.

The problem is that if a backdoor is left open, eventually, someone is going to walk in through it. Their intentions may be good, they may be bad, they may be ridiculous. But if people with badges who are sworn to uphold the law are doing it, how much more so are actual criminals, marketeers and corporations intent on making money from your data, going to trample your rights and the law.

Talk to us about keeping your stories, passwords and info to yourself.

Under the new laws, Australian government agencies can issue three kinds of notices:

  • Technical Assistance Notices (TAN), which are compulsory notices for a communication provider to use an interception capability they already have
  • Technical Capability Notices (TCN), which are compulsory notices for a communication provider to build a new interception capability, so it can meet subsequent Technical Assistance Notices;
  • Technical Assistance Requests (TAR), which have been widely condemned by experts as the most dangerous of all.

The Australian Attorney-General, Christian Porter assures us that despite being able to access all YOUR information upon request they are not interested in YOU but rather; “the powers are only about targeting people suspected of terrorism, serious drug offences, and serious child sex offences.”The Australian Greens are not convinced, as Senator Jordon Steele-John explains, “far from being a ‘national security measure’ this bill will have the unintended consequence of diminishing the online safety, security and privacy of every single Australian.”Oh Boy!

A common excuse and a necessary disclaimer

But I have nothing to hide…

The complacency of some Australians can manifest in the semi-understandable assertion that they have nothing to fear due to having ‘nothing to hide’. This is a flawed and dangerous way of thinking if, for no other reason, that it is exactly the apathetic response the government, hackers and others rely upon to undermine our privacy. If framed another way, it is unlikely the Australian public would be so ambivalent if their so-called leaders asked them to accept that their telephone calls can be listened to, that their personal devices can be taken and you must provide them with access to any information they demand. Regardless of whether you have anything to hide or not, relinquishing your rights to your own privacy is to allow and facilitate breaches on civil liberties and agree to a mechanism devised by all Totalitarian states throughout history.

Time to Pause and Reflect

We fully appreciate the difficulty law enforcement agencies face in tackling crime and do not support their work being hampered. However, before the onset of technologies we all now rely on, the Police and Intelligence agencies were not granted intrusive access to the private domain of the populace. The Access and Assistance Bill passed last month sets a dangerous precedent in allowing this to occur. As the Bill was being ushered through parliament with the assistance of the opposition Labor party, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy Joe Cannataci, stated the bill should be set aside, “the assistance and access Bill is unlikely to be workable and is an unnecessary infringement of basic liberties. Its aims do not justify independent monitoring or the extremely troubling lack of transparency.” Dive a little deeper right here.

At Ncrypt Cellular we believe there is no better time to protect your online Data and Privacy in this climate of monitoring public information.

For more tips, news and updates call us on 1800 NCRYPT 02 8604 4047 or get in contact us via our website.