The bill was introduced on Wednesday by Attorney General George Brandis, and it gives the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation the power to imprison leakers (including reporters) for five years, with ten year sentences for anything regarding "special intelligence operations" (illegal spy operations conducted under promise of immunity).
The bill also has special penalties for whistleblowers from spy agencies or contractors who leak, described as the "Edward Snowden clause." Brandis has publicly condemned Snowden as a "traitor."
Special intelligence operations are a new category in Australian law, describing otherwise illegal activities undertaken by spies with the promise of immunity.
Barns, who has worked on terrorism cases and has also advised Wikileaks, said Asio could secretly declare many future cases to be special intelligence operations. This would trigger the option to prosecute journalists who subsequently discover and report on aspects of those operations.
He said it would be easy for Asio to declare special intelligence operations because it simply required the security director-general or deputy director-general to approve.
“Their own boss says, ‘I think we better call this a special intelligence operation, don’t you?’ ‘Yes, sir,’ close it down. The more you talk about it the more outrageous it becomes,” Barns said.
Barns said operations in which Asio officers broke laws were the very ones that the community may regard as abuses of power. He argued Brandis wanted powers not available to governments in the UK and the US where citizens enjoyed greater protections for freedom of speech.
Journalists will face jail over spy leaks under new security laws [Paul Farrell and Daniel Hurst/The Guardian]
(Image: Prison cells, miss_millions, CC-BY)
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, having been thrown under the bus by Donald Trump, has clearly run out of fucks to give, and so now he’s not only reviving the feel-good anti-drug program that convinced kids to take drugs, not only directing fed cops to arrest people who take weed in states where it’s legal — […]
Hey, remember how Bill Clinton doubled down on the War on Drugs, perfecting Reagan’s haphazard and shoddily made race-war into a well-oiled incarceration machine that turned America into the world’s greatest incarcerator, a nation that imprisoned black people at a rate that exceeded Apartheid-era South Africa?
The word on the Hill is that Trump will nominate Cheryl Stanton to head the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, a step up from her current job as head of the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce, where her tenure has been marked by high-profile resignations over her plans to trump up […]
The current web development landscape is rife with buzzwords and technology that gets abandoned almost as soon as it’s made. If you’ve never written a line of code before, it can be hard to figure out what’s coming, what’s here to stay, or how to get ahead.This Beginner Web Development Bundle is a great place […]
The Fader Stealth Quadcopter from TRNDlabs packs incredible flight performance into a package small enough to land on your phone screen, and it’s available now in the Boing Boing Store.The Fader’s six-axis gyroscope module gives it perfect balance in the air. This makes the onboard 720p HD camera all the better for shooting amazing flight […]
Although fully autonomous vehicles aren’t yet allowed on public streets, they are poised to dominate the roads in the not-too-distant future. But before that happens, Apple, Google, Uber, and other companies now investing in self-driving tech are going to need talented developers that can account for the dizzying array of factors at play when a […]