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Australia: New Security Laws

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    Australia New Security Laws Hunt Innocents http://www.islamonline.net/English/News/2006-04/01/article01.shtml Conversations between a person and their
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 6, 2006
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      Australia New Security Laws Hunt "Innocents"
      http://www.islamonline.net/English/News/2006-04/01/article01.shtml


      "Conversations between a person and their lawyer, their doctor, their
      religious leader or their member of parliament can now be
      intercepted," said Despoja.

      CANBERRA, April 1, 2006 (IslamOnline.net & News Agencies) –
      Australia's new security laws that allowed tapping phones and
      searching the e-mails and SMSs of anyone even if they were not
      suspected of a crime drew fire Friday, March 31, from civil liberties
      advocates and politicians, who said that the measures went too far.

      "These powers allow police for the first time to tap the phones of
      innocent third parties, people who are not even suspected of a
      criminal offence," Australian Council of Civil Liberties spokesman
      Cameron Murphy told Reuters.

      The new laws allow police, intelligence agencies and investigating
      authorities to secretly retrieve e-mails and text messages from phone
      companies and Internet service providers.

      Attorney-General Philip Ruddock said the new rules were the biggest
      changes to Australia's phone-tapping laws in 27 years, and updated
      legislation to take account of new technology.

      Fishing Expeditions

      "They ensure law enforcement and security have the investigative tools
      to continue the fight against serious crime and terrorist activity,"
      Ruddock argued.

      Murphy said the laws would allow authorities to go "on fishing
      expeditions" to find evidence of criminal behavior or hunt down
      sources of leaks.

      Australian Democrats Senator Natasha Stott Despoja agreed.

      "Conversations between a person and their lawyer, their doctor, their
      religious leader or their member of parliament can now be intercepted
      with no consideration for professional privilege," Despoja said in a
      statement.

      Ruddock defended the laws, saying they gave authorities the power to
      fight serious crime.

      "They ensure law enforcement and security have the investigative tools
      to continue the fight against serious crime and terrorist activity,"
      he said in a statement.

      Following the July 7 London attacks in London, Australia unveiled a
      series of new anti-terrorism laws under which suspects could be fitted
      with tracking devices.

      The measures also included holding people for up to 14 days without
      charge and jail terms for inciting violence.

      Australian Muslims have complained that they took the brunt of the new
      anti-terror measures which they say created a climate of fear and
      apprehension among the minority estimated at some 300,000 or 1.5
      percent of Australia's population of 20 million.

      Social experts have concluded that the Australian government policies
      of alienation and ignorance of ethnic minorities and Prime Minister
      John Howard's draconian anti-terror legislation are to blame for the
      country's rising racism.

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