the [Australian Security Intelligence Organization] ASIO said that Snowden’s leaks will make it more difficult for the organization to collect meaningful data about a person, so the organization should be given more leeway to perform its surveillance duties. In its proposal, the ASIO asserted that certain technological advances are detrimental to its spying on bad actors (a refrain that is not often heard, as it’s generally accepted that technology is making it easier to spy on citizens).
Smaller state police organizations joined the ASIO in asking that telecom companies be obligated to retain customers’ metadata for a substantial period of time. (The ASIO cited as a preferred model President Obama’s proposal earlier this year to compel telecom companies to keep customer data rather than having the NSA siphon that data into its own repositories.) But police organizations like the Northern Territory Police and the Victoria Police also went further in requesting that the Australian government require companies to keep IP addresses and Web browsing history as part of its metadata collection.
The Northern Territory Police, for example, argued for a two-year retention of Web browsing history. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the police thought “a shift away from traditional telephony services to Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and others meant that data may be included in browser histories and was ‘as important to capture as telephone records.’”
So, given that Australians are decreasing their trust in their government based on what they’re learning their intelligence services are presently doing, the same services argue that they should have even more access to Australians’ private communications? Because more data retention combined with shadowy access to telecommunications data will improve trust in government and, as a result, strengthen the democratic spirit of the Australian people, right?