Submission to PJCIS review of mandatory metadata retention regime

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security is conducting a review of controversial metadata retention laws that require telecommunication companies to retain records of every single person’s calls, texts, and internet browsing history for at least two years. Human Right Law Centre, Digital Rights Watch and Access Now have called on the Morrison Government to urgently reform metadata laws …

XConf Australia

XConf is a one-day showcase of the latest thinking from ThoughtWorks’ tech community and provides a platform for passionate technologists who are looking for inspiration and a chance to network with peers. We’re extremely grateful to Thoughtworks, who are donating all ticket proceeds to Digital Rights Watch. Find out more about XConf here

Submission to PJCIS on the Review of the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Act 2018

Digital Rights Watch worked with a number of civil society partners in providing a submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) Review of the Telecommunications and Other Legislation (Assistance and Access) Act 2018 (TOLA). Our key recommendations: Repeal of the TOLA Act in its entirety. The introduction of an enforceable federal human rights framework. Enshrine robust …

Bipartisan Approaches to National Security Bring a Decrease in Rights

The dust has settled on the federal election, and advocates from all sectors are either crowing over their wins or licking their wounds. On the battleground for the internet, there is a much darker spectre looming. Over the coming year, Australia will rapidly be relegated to the backwaters of the global digital world. We will no longer have a functioning …

A guide for defending encryption

In June 2019, Lizzie O’Shea was named as a Human Rights Hero by Access Now and received the award from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet. This is an edited version of her acceptance speech. Thanks so much to Access Now for this wonderful award. It’s such a great initiative to support activists in the field doing …

Australian cities for digital rights

The internet has become inseparable from our daily lives. Yet, every day, there are new cases of digital rights abuse, misuse and misinformation and concentration of power around the world. We are seeing a real-world effect of technology creep on the privacy rights of Australian cities through the rapid expansion of surveillance technology in public spaces – often those directly …

Digital security for journalists

A free press is a cornerstone of any democracy, with journalism playing an integral role in the transparency and debate that is so important to protecting and maintaining society. Increasingly, we are seeing journalists forced to comply with authoritarian government orders, and repressive regimes of secrecy and gagging designed to hamper the freedoms of the Third Estate. As technology becomes …

Spies should focus on foreign threats rather than journalists

Federal police going through Ms Smethurst’s home

We have witnessed two shocking raids by the Australian Federal Police on news outlets, both under the guise of protecting our national security. Let’s call the raids what they are: dangerous police overreach that could intimidate and curtail our free press. Media freedom is a cornerstone of any democracy — it shines a light on the darkest corners and helps …

Lizzie O’Shea declared “Hero” for mobilizing the Australian public against the government’s anti-encryption legislation

Today, Access Now announces its selection of Lizzie O’Shea, an Australian human rights lawyer, broadcaster, and writer, as a recipient of this year’s Human Rights Heroes Award. O’Shea is recognized for leading work to highlight, analyze, and protest expansive surveillance laws in Australia. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet will present the award to O’Shea, as well as …

Statement on AFP raid of journalist’s home

“It’s incredibly worrying to see AFP officers carry out a raid on the home of a political journalist working to reveal an important public interest issue – a potential massive expansion of domestic capacity in Australian spy agencies. We fear that the powers given to the AFP to seize and search Annika Smethurst’s digital footprint represent a considerable risk to …

Political parties are targeting you

This election, you may have noticed that you’ve been inundated with targeted adverts from political parties, interest groups and individual candidates, who are all using Facebook microtargeting in their strategies to influence voters. For the past week, we’ve been running our own advertising campaign, to draw attention to this practice, to educate people that it is happening, and quite frankly, …

Technology Is as Biased as Its Makers

From exploding Ford Pintos to racist algorithms, all harmful technologies are a product of unethical design. And yet, like car companies in the ’70s, today’s tech companies would rather blame the user. Read the rest of this article on Long Reads This article is an excerpt adapted from Future Histories: What Ada Lovelace, Tom Paine, and the Paris Commune Teach …

Election 2019 and your digital rights

Image: Brian Klug

We’re only a few days away from the Saturday reckoning of Election 2019, and it hasn’t been the best campaign for your human rights online. Here’s a quick overview of the major news stories, policies and announcements so far: Last week we released our election scorecard, ranking each of the political parties on their track record and policies on issues …

Save Australian Tech

The Australian technology sector is generating new jobs and creating the industries that will house the jobs of the future. But new laws passed by the Australian Government are risking this critical industry – and at the same time undermining Australian citizens’ rights to privacy and an open and secure internet. Our technology sector is under threat – join us …

Digital Skills investment undermined by major parties’ digital rights legislation

Pic: Christiaan Colen

Political announcements around funding for digital skills and innovation will be wasted unless encryption legislation passed last year is repealed, according to human rights experts. “Of course we welcome announcements to fund digital skills, artificial intelligence, technology and research and development, such as those proposed most recently by the Labor party, along with telecommunications investments by the Coalition,” said Digital …

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 …

Federal Election 2019

As Australians consider how to cast their votes in the 2019 Federal Election, we wanted to ensure that some key digital rights policies are highlighted and addressed. That’s why we’ve compiled a handy scorecard of the major political party’s stance on these policy areas: Protecting privacy, including policies on metadata retention, facial recognition and internet filters The right to use …

Statement on arrest of Julian Assange in London

“We do not support arbitrary deprivation of liberty without proper due legal process. Mr Assange continued to seek political asylum in the Ecaudorian embassy in London, as is his right to do so, and the decision to revoke these protections is a worrying development,” said Digital Rights Watch Chair Tim Singleton Norton. “If Mr Assange is extradited to the United …

Changes to Australia’s criminal code will create a new class of internet censorship

Image: CC Licensed Flickr user ijclark

The Australian Government have announced the introduction of a new Bill aimed at imposing criminal liability on executives of social media platforms if they fail to remove “abhorrent violent content.” The hastily drafted legislation could have serious unintended consequences for human rights in Australia. The rushed and secretive approach, the lack of proper open, democratic debate, and the placement of …