APF response to statement from QLD Police Minister

In response to QLD Police Minister’s media release made to the ABC on 15/03/18 and yet to be made available on line, the APF would like to respond:

The APF are disappointed that the QLD Police Minister chose not to respond to Dr Mann’s comments in person and take up the substance of the issues raised, but instead to just in effect rehash the vague media release. The dangerous and intrusive capability is there, and the only safeguard really is “trust us”.

The Minister’s suggestion that the Parliamentary Committee “thoroughly considered” submissions is very dubious, given the way in which the ‘consultation’ was conducted and that it ignored everything they contained.

The further suggestion that the Australian Privacy Commissioner represents some kind of control over abuses is quite laughable. For the last decade, the Commissioner’s behaviour has not represented any hindrance at all to the operations of national security and law enforcement agencies, or even less powerful government agencies, for that matter. Similarly, the Queensland Privacy Commissioner, by design, lacks the powers and lacks the resources, to get a grip on abuses in that State.

This system is being implemented with no real protection (enforceable legal rights, or independent and strong regulators). Any initial practical constraints on its routine mass surveillance use will likely be overcome by Big Data tools, so it will soon be cheap enough to use for anything and everything. Given how poorly this technology fares as a solution against the vanishingly rare actual terrorist in Australia, it will face constant scope creep pressures, as a potential to be extended to use for every other trivial purpose a bidder can propose to get Return on Investment – the metadata retention scheme is the model for that.

The Minister is complicit in a substantial expansion of the surveillance state, creating capabilities that are at dire risk of being abused by future governments and government agencies.


Dr Monique Mann, Co-Chair APF Surveillance Committee(07) 3138 7104Monique.Mann@privacy.org.au