If you live in Australia and care for your, or your children’s, privacy then you must carefully consider this….Go dark against data retention.
This scheme is rushed, costly, ineffective, and against the public interest. Also, absurdly, the flawed legislation leaves open numerous loopholes, which can be used to evade the scheme. This means the data retention dragnet will capture the data of innocent Australians and cost millions of dollars, while allowing those who don’t want to be caught to remain hidden.
On Wednesday 25 March, Australians are planning an online protest against data retention to show just how ineffective the invasive scheme will be.
Add your name to the list of people pledging to go dark against data retention.
There’s still time to contact Labor and call on them to vote against the data retention legislation, click here to contact your Labor senator.
How do I go dark?
- Sign the pledge to go dark.
- Change your profile picture on Facebook and Twitter to let your friends know you’re going dark. Click here to download the profile picture.
- Use the hashtag #DarkAgainstData to tweet your opposition to the bill.
Download and use any or all of these tools, which can all be used to circumvent the Government’s data retention scheme:
- Use public Wi-Fi hotspots, which aren’t covered by the data retention scheme. For example, use the Wi-Fi provided at a council hotspot, library, university, or even Parliament House.
- Use a foreign-operated messaging service (which most messaging services are), such as Google chat, Twitter direct messages, Facebook messenger or Whatsapp.
NB: Intelligence agencies will still be able to see if you are using these services, but Australia’s data retention scheme won’t be able to tell who you’re messaging. (Also be mindful that the good folk at the NSA will still be able to see this.)
- Use a foreign-operated email service, such as Gmail or Hotmail (which many Australians already do).
NB: Again, intelligence agencies will still be able to see if you are using these services, but Australia’s data retention scheme won’t be able to tell who you’re messaging. That being said, if you are emailing someone who uses an Australian-based email service, they will have access to their metadata – i.e. know you emailed them. (And again, be mindful that the good folk at the NSA will be able to see this.)
Yup, it’s that easy. That’s how ineffective the data retention scheme will be.
Now if you really want to get serious, here are some tools for the die-hard data retention evader*:
- Get a Virtual Private Network (VPN), see here for a list of recommended VPNs: http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2014/03/five-best-vpn-service-providers-3/
- Instead of sending a text message, use an encrypted messaging app such as Signal by Open Whisper Systems (available from the App Store for iOS) or TextSecure and RedPhone (available from Google Play for Android)
*These are all perfectly legal and anyone can use them.
Even the Communications Minister himself has been doing the rounds encouraging people to use VPNs and encrypted messaging apps to circumvent the data retention laws. See here.
The point is, if the data retention scheme is intended to catch criminals – why weren’t these tools given proper scrutiny and accounted for when the Government drafted the data retention legislation?
Recently, Germany’s data retention laws were declared unconstitutional, and a Parliamentary study found that they didn’t help solve crimes – resulting only in a negligible 0.006% increase in crimes solved. The study found that “the relationship between ends and means is disproportionate”.