A response to the Digital Rights Watch 2019 federal election survey
In the 2016 federal election we were featured on the EFA's score card regarding digital rights. Unfortunately we weren't afforded this opportunity with the 2019 score card published by Digital Rights Watch. While we understand it can be difficult for a small organisation to collect, collate and distribute this information, we also feel it is important to inform people of our position.
Please see below for our responses to the survey sent out to other parties on the scorecard.
1. Does your party support the right of Australian citizens to access and use encrypted communication platforms/services without interference or interception by government agencies?
Yes. We oppose both metadata retention and the Assistance and Access bill. Individual freedoms is one of our founding principles.
2. In 2018, the Federal Parliament passed the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Act 2018, providing additional powers to law enforcement agencies to intercept encrypted communications. Does your party support the repeal and/or amendment of this Act? If amend, what are your proposed amendments?
Yes. We support the repeal of this act. It was a rushed piece of legislation that needs to be rethought from the ground up. You can read our Comments on the Assistance and Access Bill 2018.
1. Does your party support Australian government operated metadata retention and surveillance programs that engage in the collection and analysis of Australian citizens use of digital systems?
No. We have long been proponents of repealing these measures.
2. Does your party support the use of facial recognition software in policing, social services and other government agencies?
No. While we don't have a policy that specifically addresses this issue we are mindful of how these technologies can be abused. Facial recognition must be better regulated to protect against its misuse, including strong penalties for misuse.
3. What is your party’s policy on the continued exemption to the Privacy Act 1988 for elected Members of Parliament, registered political parties, their staff, contractors and volunteers, as defined in section 41.7 of the Act?
There should be more restrictions on political parties seeking to use private information. A review should be carried out to determine what measures are appropriate.
4. Does your party support Government-ordered filtering or blocking of internet content through internet service providers?
No. In fact we have a policy that directly relates to this issue: the internet is to remain without government filters.
5. Does your party support the implementation of the 2014 Australian Law Reform Commission recommendations for the introduction of a Commonwealth statutory civil cause of action for serious invasions of privacy, including digital privacy?
In principle, yes. We haven't had time to review all of the recommendations but we do believe in strong privacy protections, digital or otherwise.
1. Does your party support the extension of a safe harbour provisions to all Australian online service providers?
Yes. We do not have a policy that directly addresses this matter but we support an extension of the safe harbour provisions.
2. Does your party support the inclusion of a broad, general purpose,'fair use style' exception to infringement in the Copyright Act 1968?
Yes. We made a submission to the Copyright Modernisation Consultation 2018 on this topic.
Government use of data
1. The national 'My Health Record' system was provided to Australian citizens in 2018. Does your party support the opt-out nature of this rollout? What is your party's policy on the use of a national database of individual citizen health data?
No. While we advocate for an electronic health record (EHR) system, it should be opt-in only. There should be no doubts that the system is safe and secure. Public trust cannot be demanded; it must be earned by operating in an open and accountable way.
2. Does your party support/oppose the following:
a. Manila Principles on Intermediary Liability
b. Necessary and Proportionate International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance
c. Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace
While we haven't had time to review these points in detail, in principle we support them.
3. In 2018, Centrelink started utilising an automated algorithm, with no human oversight, to identify overpayments to anyone receiving benefits. What is your party's policy on the use of automated algorithms within the delivery of government services?
It's bad and the government should feel bad for abusing algorithms like this. Technology should be there to improve wellbeing and there is ample evidence to suggest that this is destroying peoples lives. We have a policy that humans review all debt recovery and payment suspensions until error rates are greatly improved.
4. Does your party support the returning of Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) and other intelligence agencies to the ambit of the Freedom Of Information (FOI) Act?
Yes. We understand the importance of secrecy within these organisations to maintain our national security, but the government has a commitment to be open and honest when an issue is not in fact one of national security. FOI requests help to maintain a healthy balance, and any truly sensitive information can be redacted.
5. Does your party support the concept of Australia championing a General Comment on Children and Digital Media to guide states, NGOs and corporations in their interpretation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child?
Yes. We don't have a formal policy that addresses this but we support this convention and its promotion.
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