Saturday, July 23, 2005

Personal data 'being shared'

UNPRECEDENTED volumes of personal information on millions of ordinary Australians are being shared between federal government departments under dramatic extensions of a little-known "data matching" scheme, privacy advocates have warned.

Federal agencies are increasingly cross-matching the personal data held in vast government databases to spy on Australians.

The depth of personal information held by the Government has reached extraordinary levels, with the Tax Office keeping records of such details as religious affiliation and criminal convictions.

"Matching is inherently contrary to the privacy principle that (personal) information should only be used for the purpose it was collected," Australian Privacy Foundation spokesman Nigel Waters said.

The attorney-general's department says identity theft costs the Australian economy more than $1.1billion a year.

But privacy advocates, already concerned about the renewed Australia Card debate, believe the increased use of data matching could actually stymie the Government's efforts to combat identity theft.

They are also concerned that inappropriate information is being shared by government agencies.

Data-matching personal information between departments to improve the accuracy of identity details could create more "data quality" problems than it solved, Mr Waters said.

"Matching invariably brings major data quality (problems) as the data has been collected for different purposes."

While the largest federal government data-matching program is covered by laws restricting the use of personal information, most activity is covered by less stringent voluntary guidelines administered by federal Privacy Commissioner Karen Curtis. Ms Curtis was not available for comment yesterday.

By James Riley, Selina Mitchell and ID Alert 23 July 05

Ed: The Privacy Act

Yet if a client contacts you from an institution including a psychiatric hospital or prison and says that they have been mistreated can you help? The response from the Ombudsman, the psychiatric facility or the prison:

"Under the Privacy Act's provisions you do not have permission to act for or seek any information about your client."

So the client who contacted your organisation by phone "in a crisis situation" and who believes they have no other means of getting help, can't get assistance from the community.

Even after they themselves have contacted the authorities, have to find the materials means to write out an authorisation to that organization, which would include the purchase of a stamp.

Then get it posted and wait for the post to arrive at that organization. And until that organisation send the authority to the authority complained to, even though (their client asked by phone to assist them urgently) no further enquiries can be made.

Why is the "data matching" scheme more important than a human being in a crisis situation in relation to personal information and should it be the other way around?

Should it be left up to the authorities to deal with complaints when the community can assist just in case the authorities are overlooking the situation intentionally, under resourced, understaffed or there is no utility or funding and or if someone in the government can be bothered at all?


Gov't Failure Card: Community
The Federal Government has dismissed renewed calls to revisit the idea of an Australia card. (His ABC) 14 July 05.

Australia Card-Identity plan: Community
Federal fascist Attorney-General Philip Ruddock says the Government has taken into account privacy issues while developing a new system to identify fraudulent documentation.

No ID Cards
There is already an ID card the tax-file number cross referenced with medicare card drivers license and or passport. Why not just have us implanted with micro-chips as that will be the most convenient for the State by whoever runs those laissez faire tax-dodging Libs will split. Their bosses like BHP-Billiton owe $850 million in tax. Will they also do a Vizard ? Meanwhile in Britland....

Thank God they're looking out for me
That's the thing about Australians who look and talk funny, they don't respect our culture. Good Aussies ALWAYS carry ID in case the Gestapo, I mean, Culture Police pick them up.

More police powers for spyware
Federal and state police now have the power to use computer spyware to gather evidence in a broad range of investigations after legal changes last week.

Community seeks more power to interrogate ASIO suspects
Greens Senator Bob Brown does not think increased police powers are necessary. "We have enormous powers for surveillance, apprehension or punishment of people who are engaged in or intending to engage in or thinking about being engaged in terrorist acts in this country," he said.

Greens warn of 'politicised' terror trials
AUSTRALIA/CUBA?: The Australian Greens say they are concerned that new anti-terrorism laws being debated in the Senate allow for the "political black-banning" of defence
lawyers at terrorism trials.

A corrupt way to treat the community?
I seen the police bleeding on Nine's Sunday program arguing that promotion should depend on how many crimes police have solved and not how many brains they have and that was coming from police commissioner Ken Moroney and Police Minister John Watkins?

AFP: The unlikely CRIMINAL
It was born of a bombing and it made its name after a far more devastating act of terrorism. But for most of the 25 years in between, little was known about the Australian Federal Police force or the work it did.

Ruddock moves to give police access to emails
Police could get access to stored voicemails; emails and SMS messages under a Bill introduced to federal Parliament today. Attorney-General Philip Ruddock says police have had trouble getting access to stored messages because of the laws preventing them intercepting phone calls.

Dictatorship under the crimes Act?
Attorney General Phillip Ruddock said yesterday under the Crimes Act Izhar Ul Haque committed a crime.

Standing up for liberties
When a federal Labor Opposition indicates it is prepared to agree to future government legislation even before its detailed content is known, alarm bells should ring.

Fascist wants more power for ASIO
Federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock wants to strengthen Australia's terrorism laws, to make it easier for the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) to hold and question suspects without any evidence for three years and ban organisations.

Gulag bill: ASIO set to ignite blazing debate
The bill, due to be introduced into the Senate, gives ASIO officers new powers to detain for a week citizens aged 14 and over. People could be detained even where they are not suspected of any crime but of having information related to terrorism.

Criminal's DNA filed under relative's name
The New South Wales Opposition is calling for an investigation into claims that police have entered DNA data for serious offenders under incorrect names.

It is up to ordinary people to raise the level of debate about the undemocratic surveillance practices of the many faceless and unaccountable agents who make daily intrusions on individual privacy, and about the apologists and propagandists for the War nn Terror who applaud every new attack on human rights and freedoms as "prudent" or "necessary". If there is no discussion of reverse surveillance in the national media, create it on the streets on a citizen to citizen basis. If nobody is talking about the outrageous assaults on privacy and human rights embodied in the new antiterrorist acts forced through US, UK and Australian legislatures, start talking about it to your neighbours and friends.

Welcome to the MatrixB
US - In what civil liberties advocates call the most massive database surveillance program in US history, the Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange, or Matrix, continues to compile billions of records on law-abiding citizens and receive federal funding, despite public outcry and suspicion.

Govt tests airport security eye scanner
Technology that identifies people by scanning their eyes could be introduced into Australian airports as early as next year.

Ruddock foreshadows new terrorism laws
The new laws will allow police to access emails and mobile phone SMS messages, enable wider use of surveillance devices, and protect sensitive national security information during terrorism trials.

Putting Your Finger on the Line: Biometric Identification Technology The NSW Department of Corrective Services has progressively been implementing biometric identification technology (BIT) for use on all entrants into maximum security prisons since August 1996. It currently operates in seven prisons in NSW and is scheduled for introduction at Parklea prison later this year. BIT has raised the ire of many community agencies, the legal fraternity and government authorities. Framed examines what the controversy is all about and what the implications of this technology are.

Seriously Ten seriously blue and seriously flawed!
Channel Tens News broadcast at 5pm with Jessica Rowe reporting that, "Their news poll suggests that 96 per cent of people are in favour of 'new special police powers' to fight the terrorists."

NSW Police Force may get 'special powers'
Civil libertarians are questioning the need for further anti-terrorism laws, which will be announced in the New South Wales Parliament on Tuesday.

Xerox workers to strike over satellite tracking plan
Over 250 Xerox workers will go on strike this morning over plans to use global positioning system technology (GPS) to track them throughout their day.

Police Chronology 1994-2001
View events in the NSW Police Force since the Wood Royal Commission began in 1994. 1994 May Justice James Wood is appointed Commissioner of the Royal Commission into the NSW Police Service ('WRC').