Dear ASIO

Since the Senate passed legislation expanding your surveillance powers on Thursday night, you’ve copped an awful lot of flack on Twitter. Part of the problem, I think – aside from the legislation being far too broad – is that we don’t actually know who you are, or what exactly it is you get up to. You could be part of a spy novel, a movie or a decades-long series of cock ups. You could be script kiddies with a budget. Or you could be something else entirely.

At times like this I try to remind myself to assume good faith; to remember that most people are basically decent and are trying to live a good life. Some people are even trying to make the world a better place, whatever that might mean.

For those of you then who are decent people, and who are trying to keep Australia safe from whatever mysterious threats are out there that we don’t know about – all without wishing to impinge on or risk destroying the freedoms that we enjoy here – you have my thanks.

For those of you involved in the formulation of The National Security Legislation Amendment Bill 2014 (No 1) – you who might be reading this post as I type it, rather than after I publish it – I have tried very, very hard to imagine that you honestly believe you are making the world a better place. And maybe you do actually think that, but for my part I cannot see the powers granted as anything other than a direct assault on our democracy. As Glenn Greenwald pointed out, I should be more worried about bathroom accidents, restaurant meals and lightning strikes than terrorism. As a careful bath user with a strong stomach and a sturdy house to hide in, I think I’m fairly safe on that front. Frankly I’m more worried about climate change. Do you have anyone on staff who can investigate that threat to our national security?

Anyway, thanks for reading, and I’ll take it as a kindness if you don’t edit this post without asking first.

Regards,

Tim Serong

2 thoughts on “Dear ASIO

  1. For a moment when they said that they were increasing ASIO’s powers, I thought the government had finally committed to improving universal access to low latency audio drivers. I do wonder how many sound engineers end up on watch lists for searching ‘remove ASIO’ or ‘problems with ASIO’ or ‘help me resolve an issue with ASIO’.

  2. “If you’ve done nothing wrong you’ve got nothing to fear” comes the ubiquitous mantra from our elected officials. How long before dissent of what those officials do becomes something you’ve done wrong? A pity that the “Opposition” forgets a simple rule to use when voting for/formulating a new law: Never look at how the law is intended to be used but look rather at how that law could be ABUSED.

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