Two Year Data Retention in Australia
According to GetUp Australia:
Big Brandis is watching you.
Click here for GetUp article
Last night, the controversial data retention laws passed the Senate: 43 to 16. The laws granted government agencies access, without a warrant, to the phone and internet records of 23 million Australians. The data will be retained for two years.
"Aside from the obvious privacy concerns, the laws have serious implications for potential whistleblowers, who will now be far more reluctant to come forward with information that could expose misconduct within government."
GetUp Australia encourages readers to:
Go dark against data retention. The Government's data retention scheme passed the Senate this week with Labor's support.
The scheme, which was recklessly rushed through Parliament, is costly, ineffective, and against the public interest.
The flawed legislation leaves open numerous loopholes, which can be used to evade the data retention. This means the data retention dragnet will capture the data of innocent Australians and cost millions of dollars, while allowing those who don't want to be caught to remain hidden.
The following can be used to circumvent data retention. None of these should be relied on for anonymity.
- Use public Wi-Fi hotspots, which aren't covered by the data retention scheme. For example, use the Wi-Fi provided at a council hotspot, library, university, or even Parliament House.
- Use a foreign-operated messaging service (which most messaging services are), such as Google chat, Twitter direct messages, Facebook messenger or Whatsapp.
NB: Intelligence agencies will still be able to see if you are using these services, but Australia's data retention scheme won't be able to tell who you're messaging. (Also be mindful that the good folk at the NSA will still be able to see this.) Most hotspots are under CCTV surveillance. Even if your mobile phone is switched off your exact movements can still be traced through it's GPS. Leave your mobile at home. If you purchase anything your presence can be traced from credit card records.
- Use a foreign-operated email service, such as Gmail or Hotmail (which many Australians already do).
NB: Again, intelligence agencies will still be able to see if you are using these services, but Australia's data retention scheme won't be able to tell who you're emailing. That being said, if you are emailing someone who uses an Australian-based email service, they will have access to their metadata – i.e. know you emailed them. (And again, be mindful that the good folk at the NSA will be able to see this.)
Now if you really want to get serious, here are some tools for the die-hard data retention evader*:
- Use an anonymous browser such as Tor, which you can download for free here:https://www.torproject.org/download/download
You can find out more about Tor and how it works here:https://www.torproject.org/about/overview.html.en
- Get a Virtual Private Network (VPN), see here for a list of recommended VPNs:http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2014/03/five-best-vpn-service-providers-3/
- Instead of sending a text message, use an encrypted messaging app such as Signal by Open Whisper Systems (available from the App Store for iOS) or TextSecure and RedPhone (available from Google Play for Android). Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) can be used for the internet.
*These are all perfectly legal and anyone can use them.
Why "go dark"?
Is this legal?
Aren't you just teaching bad people to evade data retention?
Is there any evidence to suggest a mandatory data retention will prevent crime?
GetUp Australia Home
NOT mentioned in the GetUp article is FLAGGER, a browser add-on that adds words to the web address (URL) of the internet sites you are visiting. The added words are presumed to be 'interesting' to the software that the government uses to hone in on which meta-data to pay the most attention to. Get Flagger here.
Anonymous whistleblowing here