Few among us were particularly enamoured with Australia’s recently-instated metadata laws. The Senate gained us entry into an Orwellian situation that would delight Big Brother himself – enlisting 2500 “metadata cops” to effectively sift through the finer details of Australia’s banal communication on the daily. Welcome to 2015, et cetera.
It’s even trickier territory to be treading upon, as just this week, historic leaks unveiled by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden—mass surveillance of phone records in the US, among other things—were ruled as illegal activity, making the maiden and fundamental step for a legal challenge against the NSA.
Following this news, Snowden has joined the debate on citizen privacy and metadata down under, warning Australia that acts of surveillance baring resemblance to strategies in the UK have been taking place on our shores.
Snowden spoke at the Melbourne conference Progress 2015 via satellite yesterday, saying:
“Australia’s role in mass surveillance around the world is similar to the UK and the Tempora program, which is what’s called a rolling internet proffer. Basically they use local authorities such as this metadata program that’s been passed in Australia to collect everyone’s communications in advance of criminal suspicion.”
Snowden claimed that the change to metadata laws was a “radical departure” from “traditional liberal societies.”
His most foreboding statement, however, was this.
“What this means is they are watching everybody all the time. They’re collecting information and they’re just putting it in buckets that they can then search through not only locally, not only in Australia, but they can then share this with foreign intelligences services. They can trawl through this information in the same way. Whether or not you’re doing anything wrong you’re being watched.”
W E L P.