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US-Australia Agreements Create Opportunities for Privacy Violation, Extradition 127

Posted by timothy
from the come-on-don't-you-like-opportunities? dept.
TheGift73 writes with a link to (and this excerpt from the beginning of) a brief description at TorrentFreak of recently signed agreements between the U.S. and Australia: "Figures.... File-sharing was firmly on the agenda when the head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security touched down in the Australian capital last week. The four new agreements – promptly signed before Secretary Janet Napolitano flew back out of Canberra – were less about sharing season two of Game of Thrones and more about sharing the private, government held information of Australian citizens with U.S. authorities."
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US-Australia Agreements Create Opportunities for Privacy Violation, Extradition

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  • Terrorism (Score:5, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Saturday May 05, 2012 @11:23PM (#39905801)

    Having caught every terrorist in the world, Department of Homeland Security has now moved to the next threat to America: People downloading crappy TV series.

    The Department of Homeland Security is a joke. Director, you sir, are a joke. And sooner or later, public support is going to evaporate, and then you'll be wasting billions of dollars classifying every detail about every employee in your organization. Every camera you point at the public will mean ten more pointed back at you. You're going to spend more time spinning and protecting your image as the "good guys" than you will finding and hunting down the bad guys. And the only people who are going to want to work for your organization are pathetic paper pushers with no sense of ambition, loyalty, or patriotism. And why will that be? Because that's the kind of person your organization will be doing its bidding for. You won't be saving the world... you'll be pool boys for the wealthy entertainment industry.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The sooner someone puts a bullet in the head of DHS the better for the world.

      • The sooner someone puts a bullet in the head of DHS the better for the world.

        One, they'd just replace him with someone else just as bad. Two, you'd be doing the exact same thing they do: Carry out extrajudicial executions without a full review of the facts, which are presented in front of a judge and jury, and the results made public. We can't regain democracy in this country by stooping to their level -- if we're going to dismantle this corrupt super-organization, it's going to start with exposure and doing an end runaround the media.

        Spin doctoring and media manipulation works fin

        • by robot256 (1635039)
          I prefer to read that comment as putting a metaphorical bullet in the metaphorical head of the department. But you are right, that is how we must do it.
        • Re:Terrorism (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 06, 2012 @02:50AM (#39906415)

          One, they'd just replace him with someone else just as bad. Two, you'd be doing the exact same thing they do: Carry out extrajudicial executions without a full review of the facts, which are presented in front of a judge and jury, and the results made public. We can't regain democracy in this country by stooping to their level -- if we're going to dismantle this corrupt super-organization, it's going to start with exposure and doing an end runaround the media.

          A pretty ideal but naive. Talking someone into giving up power only works when a) they are willing to listen to reason [pig-headed delusion about being right by default prevents this]; and b) has a sense of shame. If your opponent fails on either of these counts then they will not go quietly into the night no matter how much you insist they should, they will cling to that Titanic claiming that it is unsinkable even when the water is up to their neck.

          The important thing to remember about the justice system is that it is a mechanism for preserving the status quo of civilization. When the status quo slides away from fairness and actual justice then you aren't going to find those within the system. There's a reason the American Revolution against the British was a war. If you can find people in influential positions who will actually listen and force the collective to behave then maybe you can accomplish your Velvet Revolution but don't expect the institutions of state to give a damn.

          I should also point out that someone being compelled to leave office due to a scandal is itself a form of extrajudicial punishment, they were not found guilty under the law but a metaphorical lynching occurred anyway, do you have problem with this as well? I think it's important to remember that Judges really are not all that special, we hope they are fair, wise and knowledgeable but the reality is that you could pick 12 of your neighbors randomly, name yourself judge and run a trial if you wanted; the only difference between you and a "real trial" is the fancy courthouse, robes and the power to command the sword of the state (police) to uphold your/the juror's decision.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Like dying dinosaurs, dying empires make an astounding fuss and emit loud noises.

          Then, they die.

          • Perhaps, but empires usually take a while to die. However these measures could in years to come easily lead to the Chinese government using extraordinary rendition on non-Chinese citizens for offences against Chinese law committed outside of its juridisction.
            Ugly precedents are being set and as you point out, the US may not always be in this position of relative strength.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Holy jebus... if the wrong person saw that, you'd probably have bought yourself a one-way ticket to gitmo.
    • We wish that's what would happen. More realistically, most of the country will be too busy focusing on entertainment & their bills or job woes to notice what DHS is up to & too uneducated to fully understand it or the freedoms we've been losing; of the people that do notice, most will decide/realize they're powerless to do anything and feel fortunate if DHS hires them given the job market's a mess -- a very small percentage will actively try to change the situation, only to fail or come under DHS s

    • Re:Terrorism (Score:5, Informative)

      by tomhath (637240) on Sunday May 06, 2012 @05:52AM (#39906893)
      The Department of Homeland Security isn't involved in chasing copyright violators. TorrentFreaks makes a random association of DHS and Napolitano's visit to O'Dwyer's legal issues with the Department of Justice.
    • by hoggoth (414195)

      And we will be paying for every useless bit of it.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Any idea when the next elections are in Australia? What are the chances that Australians will vote for the same party that is doing this to them? They can't be that stupid, can't they? Harden the F up, Australia!!
    • by commlinx (1068272) on Saturday May 05, 2012 @11:44PM (#39905883) Journal

      Any idea when the next elections are in Australia? What are the chances that Australians will vote for the same party that is doing this to them?

      It must be held by the end of November 2013, but could potentially be before-hand.

      As for your second question this is the the first I've heard of it, no coverage at all in mainstream media. That implies the opposition party didn't raise too many public concerns so no reason to think they wouldn't have done the same thing.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 06, 2012 @12:20AM (#39906017)

        our opposition party in Australia (the so called "Liberal/National Party", Read Conservative) wouldn't do anything about it, they are the ones who introduced the 'Fair trade laws" which mean that Australians have to bend over backwards to any American copyright but Australian copyright means nothing to America.
        At least the Government waited until the Secretary was in Canberra to sign the papers, The Lib/NCP would have signed them and sent them in advance.

        • our opposition party in Australia (the so called "Liberal/National Party", Read Conservative) wouldn't do anything about it, they are the ones who introduced the 'Fair trade laws" which mean that Australians have to bend over backwards to any American copyright but Australian copyright means nothing to America. At least the Government waited until the Secretary was in Canberra to sign the papers, The Lib/NCP would have signed them and sent them in advance.

          You are spot on. Unfortunately, posting as AC means many will miss your post. Luckily, we are still free to express our political opinion in Australia.

    • by Aaron B Lingwood (1288412) on Sunday May 06, 2012 @12:53AM (#39906107)

      In Australia, we have a situation similar to that of the US. We have 2 major parties one of which is a coalition, but that is irrelevant. Both parties are right of centre and have a secular façade. Both parties have the same contributors, the same policies (albeit a difference in approach), just different 'friends'. The incumbent has few friends in the media and has been raked over the coals continuously for most the term, ever since they attempted to tax the rich. The opposition does not really advertise their policies and simply plays 'the no game' - and they play it well.

      The mainstream media in Australia supports the two-party system of voting and government, thus Australians are led to believe that an independent vote or minor party vote is a wasted vote. The media create such a brouhaha involving these major parties that people vote AGAINST the major party they don't want elected instead of considering all parties policies or their leaders reputations. This is the system that keeps these parties in power.

      My vote will be wasted in the sense that the party I vote for will not be elected. My vote will not be wasted in the sense that I will be on record as preferring another parties policies. Come next election, there is a chance that the major party that is down in the polls MAY adopt some of the policies from these minor parties in order to secure votes. The outcome being that the people I wanted in are not, their policies are.

      Voting is mandatory in Australia and as such is viewed as a chore or a burden. A lot of people don't take it seriously. It doesn't help that it is very difficult to get information on each of the candidates policies. The only real campaigning is tacky flyers with 'Vote #1' in beg red type and a spiel about why the other guy is so horrid.

      To highlight my point compare the opposition [liberal.org.au] to a minor party [ldp.org.au] that most people are unaware of. The oppositions website uses the entire banner and the right half of every page attacking the incumbent. Policies are split across dozens of PDFs across several pages. The minor party makes their policies very clear with a headline, summary and major point of each area of issue on a single page.

      Now in answer to you questions,

      Any idea when the next elections are in Australia?

      By Nov 30, 2013. Possibility of an early election but the incumbent won't call it because they are around 30% in the polls and the opposition won't challenge because they have a chickenshit leader.

      What are the chances that Australians will vote for the same party that is doing this to them?

      Very small - but not because of this issue. The other party would and will do exactly the same thing

      They can't be that stupid, can't they?

      Unfortunately, yes

      Harden the F up, Australia!!

      We are following in the footsteps of the US, except out citizens don't have the right to bear arms. Everyone wants change but votes the fucking same.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        This post ignores the fact that the current government is only in place because of the support of one of the minor parties (The greens). Neither of the two big parties currently have the numbers to form government in their own right, they have to form a coalition with one of the minor parties are the independents.

        • This post ignores the fact that the current government is only in place because of the support of one of the minor parties (The greens). Neither of the two big parties currently have the numbers to form government in their own right, they have to form a coalition with one of the minor parties are the independents.

          Good point. This actually made me hopeful that people would start considering their options. The media, and possibly the majors themselves, have been throwing around terms like 'corruption', '$43 Billion', 'sexual harassment' and 'vote of no confidence' in order to get Joe Public furious enough to vote AGAINST a major by voting FOR the other major. Without this kerfuffle, I would think that minor/independent parties would have the majors by the balls come next election. The way it is looking now, it will be

          • by ghostdoc (1235612)

            I'm definitely going to be voting minority parties this year, though the amazing complexity of the voting system means that no doubt some Lib/Lab cockjockey will end up benefitting from my vote.

            I can't believe the political dialogue in this country sometimes. It's like people were born supporting Liberals or Labour, and so they defend that party against all comers, regardless of how godawful the politicians actually are. You can't see the policies for the haze of partisan conflict. But then, both parties' p

            • some Lib/Lab cockjockey will end up benefitting from my vote.

              This is a good thing. Preferential voting basically says "if my first choice of candidate X is not going to win, then I'd like my vote to go towards candidate Y instead of being discarded".

              Non-preferential voting is partly why the U.S. is locked into a two-party system although compulsory voting probably encourages two-party systems also.

      • by tomhath (637240)

        We have 2 major parties one of which is a coalition, but that is irrelevant.

        That's hardly irrelevant. Without the support of a small minority party that has something around 13% of the vote, Labor would not be in the majority. Think about what that means.

      • In Australia, we have a situation similar to that of the US. We have 2 major parties one of which is a coalition, but that is irrelevant. Both parties are right of centre and have a secular façade. Both parties have the same contributors, the same policies (albeit a difference in approach), just different 'friends'.

        So, in effect, its a one-party state with that one party having two factions. Much like the USA.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 06, 2012 @07:18AM (#39907097)

        Australians are led to believe that an independent vote or minor party vote is a wasted vote.

        You missed one major point which non-Australians in general may be unfamiliar with: Australia uses instant-runoff voting [wikipedia.org], in which you rank the candidates in the order of your preference, rather than voting for a single one. So you can put your favourite minority party down as your top preference, and if they don't get in, your vote gets transferred to your second preference, and so on, usually eventually going to the major party that you ranked above the other major party. So there's no such thing as a wasted vote.

        • by CyberPack (577178)

          And indeed, in the last Australian Federal election, a minor party managed to win the seat of Melbourne demonstrating that a vote for them was definitely not wasted :).

          (Sufficient people put them first on their voting papers that one of major parties was eliminated in the "instant-runoff" before them. Now the Greens are probably the biggest minor party and there were some details which favoured them, but nevertheless, Melbourne strikes me as the leftmost city in Australia, so the result doesn't appear too u

      • by smash (1351)
        The problem with voting for the smaller parties is that they give their vote to either of the other 2 via preferences anyhow.
      • by CyberPack (577178)

        Of course, making their policies so easily accessible makes it easy to decide that it would be crazy for me to vote for the LDP above *any* of the major parties :).

        Their perhaps laduable views on some social policy does not make up for their fetishization of property rights and the free market, along with their other economic views that they propound.

    • by smash (1351)
      Both parties with any hope of winning parliament would have done exactly the same thing.
  • How do we (Australians) sack our government? They are obviously fucked in the head.

    • by Dan541 (1032000)

      How do we (Australians) sack our government? They are obviously fucked in the head.

      We can't vote in US elections :)

    • apparently we can ask the governor general nicely

    • by Anonymous Coward

      How do we (Australians) sack our government? They are obviously fucked in the head.

      All you need to do to sack every one of them is 1) take a black marker to the next polling booth, 2) strike out EVERY candidate on the ballot, 3) place your secret ballot in the ballot box. This will not count as an informal vote as you will have expressed your will to REMOVE the preselected candidates. You're not told this as a majority vote like this would cause chaos for federal parliament (they would realise that the people are back in control and the gravy train ride was over). It is your duty as an Au

  • by metrix007 (200091) on Saturday May 05, 2012 @11:54PM (#39905921)

    Far worse than the stereotype of Americans here on /.

    Australians tend to be gullible, and heavily rely on group think. If you think something other than the obvious what the media says, prepare to be insulted while patiently trying to articulate your point.

    Most Australians would be OK with this because they will believe it is for the greater good and serves some purpose. If this is even on their radar. Historically they are more concerned with essentially inconsequential things like tuition increases or workchoices.

    Written as an Aussie expat.

    • by AbRASiON (589899) * on Sunday May 06, 2012 @01:51AM (#39906255) Journal

      As an Aussie - this guy is fairly right.
      You can get us to whine a fair bit but as for actually doing anything? Simply unheard of. We're so screwed.

    • Far worse than the stereotype of Americans here on /.

      Australians tend to be gullible, and heavily rely on group think. If you think something other than the obvious what the media says, prepare to be insulted while patiently trying to articulate your point.

      Most Australians would be OK with this because they will believe it is for the greater good and serves some purpose. If this is even on their radar. Historically they are more concerned with essentially inconsequential things like tuition increases or workchoices.

      Written as an Aussie expat.

      Bullshit. Maybe the people you hang out with rely on group think, but that's not typical in my experience. Possibly the lower class rely on "group think" but I imagine that would be the same in any country you care to visit.

      • Bullshit. Maybe the people you hang out with rely on group think, but that's not typical in my experience. Possibly the lower class rely on "group think" but I imagine that would be the same in any country you care to visit.

        I agree that the lower class generally rely on 'group think'. I know many in the class that are quite proud of the fact that they watch the news and feel very well informed by doing so. However, I believe there are other groups that engage in this 'group think'. New Australians, especially those who segregate and live in their own enclaves, I posit would follow community fore-bearers. And I almost forgot the Hipsters with their anti-group-think group-think.

      • by metrix007 (200091)

        It's not bullshit. It isn't a class thing, it's a cultural thing.

        The same relaxed, take it easy, don't fix it if it aint broke thing extends to most peoples though process. If you try to suggest something that isn't obvious or the opinion shared by the majority, be prepared for a long battle to even have your point of view heard. Much more so in other countries in my experience, and i've been to 40 or so.

  • by Scoldog (875927) on Sunday May 06, 2012 @12:03AM (#39905957)
    To my eyes, this is just another sign about how desperate America is in preventing it's inevitable slide as a world power. I honestly can't remember any other US pact that was so blatant in its goals. Anyone can look at this pact and tell it's not about terrorism and national threats (both Aus and US), it's mostly about file sharing and America trying to spread it's onerous copyright laws to protect its exports. The bit about the US monitoring Aussie citizens is very worrying at the very least when we consider the MPAA/RIAA lawsuits I've seen in America.

    I don't really know what America exports these days apart from war, patents and entertainment. It would look too bad if American invaded Australia at this point in time (although some people have taken the sign of US Marines being based in Darwin as the sign this has started) so I suppose the only other thing for America to spread it's tentacles is by dodgy pacts like this. Anything to try and stay on top (apart from fixing the underlying issues with the government and legal system in the USA and stop bullying the world, turning everyone on the face of the planet against you).

    Americans, please stand up and do something about this. I'll do what I can from this side, but I'll stop there. Really, I should have no power as to how Americans rule and legislate in your own country, and that is the way it should be.

    Quite frankly, after everything I have seen, I'm starting to think that there will be an armed uprising in America within the next 10 years against the US government. Guaranteed. Maybe the US government foresaw the same thing. It would explain why so much leeway the US government has given to internal security forces like the FBI and possibly the creation of the Dept of Homeland Security, and how the shift in America has gone from looking for external threats to internal threats.
    • by Gimbal (2474818)

      It's hard to overturn the massive bulk of legal precedents supporting the recording industry's claims to intellectual property - and not much easier, out here, to gain popular attention about anything not accompanied by a sensational presentation - regardless of the actual content of an argument, quite frankly.

      To respond to the second matter: Myself, I don't suppose we'll see any coups at any time soon. Plenty of gun sales, I know, but no coups I think - quite.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Scoldog (875927)
        Sorry about that last bit, I didn't really explain it well.

        I didn't mean that there will be an all out assault on the White House. To me it seems the American people (excluding politicians, lawyers and people in the security industries who seem to be pushing most of the laws) are starting to get fed up with the way things are. I don't know how true this, as I am not in the US and can't comment on what it is like to be a US citizen. I'm going of everything I have read and seen. Losing jobs in greater nu
        • >I didn't mean that there will be an all out assault on the White House.

          Don't worry I'll say it for you. Revolt America, storm the White House and take over your government and dispose of the corrupt politicians and lobbyists.

    • by rtb61 (674572) on Sunday May 06, 2012 @01:10AM (#39906141) Homepage

      Your a little behind on the US invasion of Australia. Already it is spreading beyond the US Marines in Darwin now Garden Island just off Perth has been added for the US Navy, Australia generally for the US Airforce (hard to figure out exactly what that is meant to mean), and the Cocos Island for a top secret airbase.

      Something decidedly unsavoury is going on here. Americans had better be careful. It smells of the US powers that be have realised they have crapped all over their own country and an looking to ensure a safe place to retire too and run the US via remote, leaving the rest to wallow in the pollution and destroyed environment with no chance of joining in the great escape.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        And at the end of 2012 all international airports got body scanners; because the USA says-so. Not the same scanners as the USA so that's a small mercy.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I don't really know what America exports these days apart from war, patents and entertainment.

      Laws.

      the shift in America has gone from looking for external threats to internal threats.

      That's nothing new. Remember COINTELPRO, when the FBI tried to destroy domestic political organizations using any means necessary?

    • by khipu (2511498)

      Anyone can look at this pact and tell it's not about terrorism and national threats (both Aus and US), it's mostly about file sharing and America trying to spread it's onerous copyright laws to protect its exports.

      "America's onerous copyright laws" are the laws set by the Berne convention, largely at the behest of European publishers and artists, who wanted long copyright terms after an author's death and wanted to abolish registration requirements. Even today, Europe has effectively no public domain and n

  • by DiSKiLLeR (17651) on Sunday May 06, 2012 @12:04AM (#39905961) Homepage Journal

    I'm glad I left Australia.

    Now I just have to pick up Citizenship somewhere else so I can revoke my Australian Citizenship.

    What a joke Australia has become.

  • by ChrisGoodwin (24375) on Sunday May 06, 2012 @12:40AM (#39906085) Journal

    Please stop doing what my country's government tells you. It only encourages them.

    Xoxo,

    some American guy

  • by barv (1382797)

    Why is DHS involved in Kim Dotcom? Well it's because they have the executive powers to get things done and "somebody" forgot to require that there be a clear threat to US lives before DHS became involved in a matter. Why is the US signing copyright agreements with Australia?

    It's all about regulatory capture. (see wikipedia). Those poor starving MAAFIA and RIAA and Microsoft and Google and the rest of the copyright/patent trolls are handing out or withholding their superpac contributions against results

  • Considering the news of the past few years, there must be a contest for the most hated country and the USA are fighting really hard to win. I seems this new move brings them closer to the top, now head to head with North Korea! Well done, Mr "Homeland Security" (I remember my birth country having had a similar security organization many decades ago, was called SS I think). I guess the USA can win this race to the bottom, they were never keen to come second (though Aussies are beating them now as the world's number one per-capita energy hog, na-nah-na-naa-nah!!)

  • by cheekyboy (598084) on Sunday May 06, 2012 @05:00AM (#39906739) Homepage Journal

    Please, tell me.

    The entire media industry is worth less than say the cpu industry. So why the closeness to congress and LEO friends?

    How many other industries get such high up help in legal help.

    Is it that corrupt and evil?

    (I mean the govt, not the honest media industry)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's not only about money, it's also about power. When you control (or have some influence over) the media, you get to effectively mind-control a lot of the country population and point them in the direction of your interests and spend money where you want them to.

    • Their business depends entirely on the government so they give lots of bribes. Other businesses lobby, but once the government has paid you to build your factory and let you operate it tax free, what else is there to ask for? Copyright on the other hand requires constant vigilance.
  • by YankDownUnder (872956) on Sunday May 06, 2012 @06:05AM (#39906927) Homepage
    Lovely that. So now the Department of Homeland Security - with this new bit of "permission" - can literally extradite anyone and everyone they wish - based on accusation - to be held for unknown amounts of time on US soil - with no hope of defense or fair trial? I came to Australia because I had hopes it would remain relatively free of "US imposed rule". I feel sorry for the Australians that don't have a clue as to what this means exactly. I feel sorry for those ruled over by the US government that don't have a clue as to what this means exactly. I feel remorse that I am still a US citizen, and that people will judge me by my government's actions; and I feel fear merely for the fact that I may no longer speak freely with the threat of the DHS looking for insurgents like myself. It's a pity that the US government has been allowed to descend to the horrible depths it's gone to - by the American People.
    • US imposed rule? How does the US "impose" its rule on Australia or the UK? These governments agree to these treaties voluntarily, and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why: it makes their own copyright industries happy, it's easier than passing domestic laws, it's far more intimidating to be extradited to the US than getting a slap on the wrist from a domestic court, and as icing on the cake, the politicians can pose as victims of supposed American imperialism.

      Don't feel sorry for Australi

  • The problem is that Australians (and Europeans for that matter) have to give that data to their governments in the first place, and then elect governments that share this data with the US. Don't blame the US just because you can't be bothered to elect a government that actually cares about you.

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