They protested a ‘no-online-surveillance policy’ in Australia

By Carter Loy

Protesters rallied in Sydney, Australia, to voice concern for the impact that the nation’s digital strategy will have on privacy.

The Australian government’s digital policy will allow companies to retain user data and share it with international third parties, and will allow the collection of data on location, browsing habits and associations. In other words, it will allow tracking.

Privacy policy clauses in contracts that allow social media companies to track location history, obtain access to members’ contact lists and to sell private information to third parties were the center of last week’s protest.

Protests followed a U.S. government proposal that would allow internet service providers to gather and share data with local law enforcement. Privacy activists point out that the proposal states that the government cannot retain or ask for data without a “reasonable suspicion” of criminal activity.

Information collected through digital-privacy policies will affect users from across the globe, as last week’s protests suggest.

In Sydney, privacy advocates said that a national digital strategy would facilitate surveillance in all states and territories.

“There are no limits to what Australia’s domestic telecommunications data retention law would allow private entities to do, and [if] a private company or service enters a market, there are no privacy constraints,” said Jane Fitzgibbon, a privacy advocate, last week.

Sydney Morning Herald

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