Human rights online highlighted as a key policy area for the 2019 Federal Election

Digital rights experts are urging Australians to consider how political parties are protecting their rights online when they head to the ballot box.

A ranking of party positions on key issues by online privacy group Digital Rights Watch released today reveals that both the major parties have supported legislation that severely compromises human rights and online privacy.

“With the internet touching every facet of our lives now, from dating to shopping to healthcare, our rights online are more important today than ever before,” says Digital Rights Watch Chair Tim Singleton Norton.

“But in the last few years both major parties have supported a slew of legislation and policies that drastically undermine Australians’ human rights online.”

“This includes unwarranted access to metadata, rapid expansion of facial recognition software, the rollout of My Health Record without social licence and passing new legislation that gives law enforcement agencies far-reaching powers to intercept encrypted communications.”

“We need strong digital rights to protect Australian internet users and democracy in our country. Without these in place, we have already seen governments abuse powers and trample on human rights, most recently witnessed amidst the Centrelink robo-debt saga.”

“Political parties should be on alert that their policies on key issues such as access to encryption, online privacy, copyright reform and Government use of data are being watched and judged by voters.”

“Voters are quite rightly concerned about the very real impact of these policies. We urge citizens to cast their vote for a party that will protect their privacy and ability to access a free and open internet,” said Mr Singleton Norton.

The Digital Rights Watch Election 2019 Scorecard is available here.