Our images fly interstate after secretive, private debate

The state government’s secretive sending of our driver licence photos to a mysterious national ID database has come as a rude shock to Tasmanians. What other unrevealed changes has the government imposed on our traditional liberties, rights and freedoms? ‘Full transparency was promised’, but where is it? Richard Griggs asks.

Spooks Minister gives your privacy to Yanks

In an extension of the perfidy that passes for “security measures”, Minister Dutton is again bent on spying and prying into your and my private affairs with the aid of a thoroughly devalued US Administration accused of corrupt international requests. It is well past time that the Australian Parliament had the courage to rein in the excesses of out-of-control ideologue Ministers. MPs need to stand up for our rights to privacy and the liberty of being free from Big Brother abuse.

CLA warning on mass surveillance highlighted

In a proposed new law before parliament, the government wants the right to conduct broad-spectrum surveillance, and hold photos on every Australian, without necessary safeguards. It claims the technology doesn’t exist for mass surveillance in real time, but The Guardian report’s CLA President Dr Kristine Klugman when she points out that a minor development could introduce the option of ‘1984’ and ‘Big Brother’ high-tech to Australia in just a few months, which police and security authorities would find ‘cheap and enticing’…and irresistible.

State’s forensics in ageing decline, audit finds

An audit office analysis of the state of forensic analysis support for the court system in Queensland shows it is causing delays (some caused by errors, some averaging six months), is riddled by inefficiencies in cross-department cooperation and may in future be subject to failure because police cannot guarantee an audit trail of the exhibits they store. CLA’s CEO Bill Rowlings reports on damming findings that require immediate police, health department and government attention.

System crashes: lack of thorough testing?

We seem to focus on machine failures and ignore management (human) systems that lead to machine failures by blaming the operator (or in the Boeing 737 Max analogy, the pilot). Repeated failures of police internal investigations reveal the design and structure is wrong: it is not at all clear that new Queensland legislation will tackle the core problem, Terry Flanders says.

Will the High Court censor 2 million Australians?

A case in the High Court crucial to freedom of speech in Australia will be heard in the next fortnight. Michaela Banerji was sacked for tweeting anonymous criticism of the Immigration Department when she worked there. Was the sacking fair, or does she have a constitutional right to anonymous comment? Two million Australians – and a general right to free speech – await the answer, Kieran Pender writes.

Spooky MPs raise the bar on monumental hypocrisy

The chair, Andrew Hastie, and deputy chair, Anthony Byrne, of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security have issued a truly historically hypocritical media release in which the parliament’s most repressive committee claims it stands for ‘the ability to report freely on national security’ as ‘vital to our democracy’. What about on-water incidents with boats and refugee claimants? What about ASIO reporting restrictions? What about the Witness K/Collaery secret trial at the moment? We haven’t heard a word from either of the two PJCIS heavies standing up for the media’s right to report ‘freely’ on those issues.

Restricting one’s speech curbs all of us

There’s a growing and worrying national trend to curtail people’s free speech. Firms, public service bodies and the like are restricting the freedom to speak out about what concerns you. Organisations are imposing restrictions in the name of their ‘social media policy’ or to ‘protect their brand image’, CLA Director Rajan Venkataraman warns.