Tuesday, April 4, 2006


More than ever, watch what you say

`Last week, Federal Parliament passed a law that allows the Government to read private emails, text messages and other stored communications without our knowledge. The power extends to innocent people, called B-parties, if they have been unlucky enough to communicate with someone suspected of a crime or of being a threat to national security.

The Government should sometimes be able to monitor the communications of innocent people. This may be necessary to protect the wider community where a suspect can only be tracked through another person. However, the law goes beyond what can be justified and undermines our privacy more than is needed.

Under the Telecommunications (Interception) Amendment Act, the Government will be able to access communications not only between the B-party and the suspect, but also between the B-party and anyone else. If you have unwittingly communicated with a suspect (and thereby become a B-party), the Government may be able to monitor all your conversations with family members, friends, work colleagues, your lawyer and your doctor.’

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