The Australian government has long exerted strict surveillance measures via
- It’s Five Eyes participation via the Australian Signals Directorate United States National Security Agency
- Telephone, internet, communications right down to it no longer being possible to access the comms network without providing adequate identification.
- Finance, banking, superannuation and insurance systems
- Vehicle and transport systems including automatic number-plate recognition, taxi, Uber and other rideshare records
- International air and sea and now domestic air travel
- Cashless OPAL card and the like networks for train, buses and ferries and now all commuter carparks
- Aircraft and seacraft via the Jindalee Operational Radar Network, Pine Gap, Shoal Bay, HMAS Harman, and the Australian Defence Satellite Communications Station
- Utilities monitoring (gas, electricity, water)
- Government services (Centrelink and any financial support) and local government rates and services
Government bodies including ASIC, ACCC, APRA, ATO, ACMA, ASIO, Australia Post, Fisheries Management and many more Qangos.
- Hospital and medical records
- And many more like a network of concerned citizens to dob in offenders or suspects
The Assistance and Access Bill 2018 now mandates that any software provider, carriage service etc. must have an encrypted backdoor (but cannot compel it if it results in systemic weakness or vulnerability). Whatsapp, Instagram, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon et al. co-operate with legitimate requests.
Its surveilance justification is via two broad statements.
First, ordinary law-abiding citizens have nothing to worry about (and that is mainly true as there seems to be adequate data safeguards).
Second, it is necessary to protect necessary us from criminal or terrorist activities (and the majority of Australian’s support this).
Do people trust the government?
People do not trust politicians of any ilk. But, we refer back to the first justification – if you have nothing to hide you must support surveillance.
Where is all this surveillance information stored?
At present, there is no single supercomputer that stores everything. I
At present Joe Average has a level of protection because data resides across thousands of disparate computers. But given the advances in machine learning, artificial intelligence and distributed (cloud) networks that may not be too far away. Then Skynet runs our lives.