boss of Asio: accessing metadata is like consulting a telephone directory | Monitoring
The outgoing chief of the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (Asio), David Irvine, has compared the use of metadata by intelligence agencies to “searching a phone book” and says requiring a warrant for access to metadata would result in intelligence gathering and law enforcement shutdown ”.
The federal government is preparing laws to require carriers to retain metadata for two years, clarifying – after early confusion – that the data retained would include subscriber, identification and location information, but not customer identifiers. ‘Web address. The information can be viewed by a large number of government agencies without a warrant.
In an address to the National Press Club, the head of the normally secret organization pleaded for a debate on changes to the law to “avoid paranoia, including raising the specter of Big Brother, 1984, mass surveillance and massive privacy breaches “.
When asked why warrants shouldn’t be required to access metadata, Irvine said this was impractical because metadata was used so often, including to gather enough information to decide whether to request a mandate in order to then monitor the content of a subject’s communications.
“For law enforcement and security intelligence, the ability to know when one of your targets is communicating and with whom is of critical importance… he said.
“We’ve been using metadata, as it looks like it’s called these days, for many years and we use it in a targeted way, so we don’t have mass surveillance… but we use it very frequently. We use it as often as any of us once used to go looking in a phone book. But we don’t have phone books the same way for all of that stuff, and yet we need that kind of information. Now if you’re going to ask me for a warrant every time I have to go get a phone book … with three or four or five pages of justification … then not only will Asio stop but all law enforcement in Australia will stop, ”Irvine said.
Irvine, who will step down in September, was speaking three weeks after the government announced a dramatic expansion of its counterterrorism powers in response to the future threat of the return of jihadist fighters, which will be implemented in stages.
Laws to implement the first step are already before parliament, including new powers for Asio to carry out surveillance over multiple computers and entire networks and much tougher penalties for the disclosure of intelligence material that could potentially include journalists – to the dismay of many media companies.
New border security measures
New anti-terrorism customs and border protection units have already started operating at international airports and have intercepted “at least one person of interest,” Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Wednesday.
Speaking during question time, Abbott said the units were already in place in Sydney and Melbourne and would soon be established at all international airports across the country, alongside already announced measures such as biometric security.
“80 other border force officers stationed at international airports will monitor the movement of people on our national security watch list,” he said.
“I am informed that these new units have already intercepted at least one person.”
The man was arrested on his way to Lebanon from Melbourne airport.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop confirmed that 15 Australians had already been killed in action in Iraq and Syria, as well as two Australian suicide bombers.
The second step is the counterterrorism (foreign fighters) bill which has not yet been detailed, which will include a new offense prohibiting movement in areas designated by the government as places where terrorist organizations are located. beat, if the traveler cannot prove that they were there for a legitimate purpose.
Irvine has made it clear that the laws are far from final and suggested that even though the burden of proof may be reversed for law enforcement’s investigation of suspected returning jihadist fighters, authorities should still prove that a suspect had been a fighter if charges were laid.
He said there should be a legal process, and before I can answer a question about how the burden of proof works “we have to see what the government is actually proposing” because at the moment the proposal is not was available “only in principle”.
“The problem has always been the problem of collecting evidence overseas that will meet the standards of proof of Australian courts. The use of control orders may be an option. It has been used in Australia in the past, as you know. It may be necessary to use it again. But again, this will also have to be debated in the courts, ”he said.
Earlier today, Bishop had insisted that there would be no reverse onus.
“We are warning Australians not to go. We want to introduce an offense for people who go to designated areas. If they have a reason for being there, a legitimate reason, then they can go. If they don’t, the onus is on the authorities to prove that they don’t have a legitimate reason to be there. There is no reverse onus, ”she said.
As the changes were announced, Attorney General George Brandis said “one proposal we are considering is the ability for the Foreign Secretary to certify that a particular region or a particular conflict within a region is a region for the purposes of the Foreign Incursion Law, so if an Australian is shown to have returned from that region, there may be a presumption that he was there without a valid reason.
He also said: “… there are sometimes problems of proof. You have to be able to prove that these people have committed this offense, and that is one aspect of the law that we seek to reform: to make it easier to prove that these people who are suspected of having committed this offense. ‘having committed in war fighting abroad, in fact did.
Before a case is brought, Irvine suggested that suspected returning fighters could be subject to existing government “control orders”, which may require terrorist suspects to live in a certain location, wear a tracking device, regularly report to authorities or do not communicate with certain other people.
Other measures in the government’s proposed anti-terrorism legislation include:
Broaden the criteria for banning a terrorist organization to cover not only groups engaged in terrorist acts, but also those who support and encourage it, including through social media.
Lower the warrantless arrest threshold for terrorism offenses.
Facilitate the suspension of passports by the government.
Remove any end date for search and seizure powers, first introduced in 2005 as part of a deal between former Prime Minister John Howard and the States that was set to expire next year.
introduce a new offense for going to areas designated by the government as places of combat of terrorist organizations, without a legitimate aim.
Labor has indicated a general willingness to review the new laws, but wants to see the details rather than giving the government a “blank check”. From the time of the announcement, interbank senators including David Leyonhjelm and Bob Day indicated they had concerns based on libertarian motives.