Opposition: we passed Australia's 'spook's charter' on PURPOSE

'Picking battles' is strategy, not stupidity, anonymous source claims

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Australia's opposition has defended its stance on Australia's new national security laws, which provide maximum ten-year jail sentence for nat-sec leakers, by leaking its leader's attitude to a national media outlet.

The draconian laws also allow ASIO to apply for a warrant to invade a computer network – without any limit on the size of the network – and to add or change data on target computers, as well as jailing anyone (including journalists) found guilty of “recklessly” revealing details of “special intelligence operations”.

Third-party computers are included in the laws, meaning that even individuals not suspected of any crime or terrorist-like activity could find themselves under attack by spook-ware, merely because they seemed to share a network connection with a target.

The laws were waved through by the Labor opposition in the Senate last week, and are expected to get the same treatment in the House of Representatives this week.

Making excuses for “running dead” on the issue, unnamed sources in the ALP have told Fairfax the party decided to “pick its battles”, meaning it reckoned on a media thrashing if it tried to defang the more onerous provisions of the laws.

According to the leaker off-the-record briefer, the opposition “does not want to be seen as obstructionist on the the politically-sensitive issue” of national security, Fairfax states.

The news of the opposition's acquiescence comes just days after the government gave The Australian a peek – yet another leak – at its current wish-list for metadata retention, which includes sweeping outfits like Skype, Twitter, Facebook and other social networks in the net. ®

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