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)
Cory published a writeup of my research showing Google offshoot Sidewalk Labs’ plan to build a surveilling city in Toronto involves a much, much larger chunk of land than publicly disclosed (in fact about 2,600 acres of prime Toronto waterfront!). It flushed out a response from the high-priced US PR firm Berlin Rosen, apparently acting […]
In 2015, a scandal involving the state-owned 1Malaysia Development Berhad fund brought down the country's authoritarian government, amid allegations that the disgraced ex-Prime Minister Najib Razak and his retinue embezzled $4.5 billion from the fund.
Charter-Spectrum has settled a lawsuit brought by the New York Attorney General that accused the company of defrauding New Yorkers through false advertising about the data-speeds they could expect from their plans (among other things, the AG accused Charter of supplying customers with modems that were too slow to attain the speeds they'd paid for).
It’s a rude awakening for that rookie vacationer abroad when they try to plug in their gear for the night. Veteran jet-setters know that outlet shapes can vary wildly from country to country, which necessitates that most boring must-have for any world-traveler: A sackful of clunky power adapters. Awkward problem, elegant solution: The Twist Plus […]
Looking for a career in music behind the boards, either as a music producer or DJ? It’s a good bet that you’re going to be working with Ableton Live. Each new iteration of this powerful workstation gives the user more tools to create, and it’s just as well suited for the task of meticulous track […]
The graveyard of failed startups is littered with concepts that just got lost in translation. At its core, that’s what great front-end design is about: Making an app or website usable, translating its best ideas smoothly to the user. It’s a skill so broad there might be no one book or course that covers it […]