Monday, November 29, 1999

Oz web snooping policy blasted as " nanny state gone totally insane"

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Sydney, June 17(ANI): Australian Internet service providers (ISPs) have described the government's controversial plan to force them to store Internet activity of all local users for law-enforcement agencies to access, as "a nanny state gone totally insane".The Kevin Rudd-government has been holding consultations with industry about implementing the scheme, similar to that adopted by the European Union after terrorist attacks several years ago.According to reports, among the things ISPs would be required to store, would be contents of communications such as web browsing history.Commenting on the situation, Internet Industry Association chief executive, Peter Coroneos, said that the government should be more transparent and open with the public about its intentions.Coroneos however said he was forbidden by confidentiality agreements from discussing any details of draft proposals he has been provided."The decision at this stage to keep the process under wraps is the decision of the government. It's not the decision of the industry," The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Coroneos, as saying."We still argue that there be an open and transparent process here," he added.Meanwhile, Electronic Frontiers Australia's spokesman Colin Jacobs said the government appeared to be trying to access everything without any regard for the privacy or civil liberties of the citizens."What has emerged in recent days has been a clear picture of a government on a fishing expedition for as much data on the public as they can get," Jacobs said."It's not just a fishing expedition, it's casting a driftnet for the communications of all Australians regardless of whether they have ever been suspected of the slightest wrongdoing," he added.A spokesman for Attorney-General Robert McClelland, however, denied web browsing histories would be stored, saying the government was only seeking to identify "parties to a communication", such as senders and receivers of emails and VoIP calls. (ANI)

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