Government back-doors in our phones threaten democracy

There is a chilling effect when people are spied upon. This effect extends to when people know there is even a small possibility that they could be spied upon.

The government wants to introduce new laws that could compel device makers to build back-doors that grant the government full access to devices they successfully get warrants for. This act effectively renders all electronic devices compromised from the perspective of keeping information secret from the currently ruling party, or any future ruling party.

The federal government has shown itself to be hostile towards whistleblowers. The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions has pursued a case against East Timor whistleblower Witness K and their lawyer, for conspiring to release information about immoral spying by ASIS to assist the government in oil field negotiations. In a punitive move against Andy Fox, who criticised the government, the government misused Fox’s private welfare information by releasing it to the media.

The current government wants the Australian people to trust them with their private data and security, but it lacks the credibility needed to make such requests. Any such trust would be misplaced and irresponsible, especially considering this bill’s  impact on freedom of speech

The increased difficulty and perceived legal danger associated with reporting illegal activity to media and other policing agencies due to poor whistleblower protections means that such activity will be reported less. This increases the confidence of bad actors in our political system (including convicted criminals and people taking illegal donations that were members of both major political parties) , and encourages an increase in illegal activities.

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