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Australia approves national database of everyone's mugshots

Hacker honeypot

I wonder how long it will take for it to be hacked and sold on the dark web like Medicare info is?

They've announced other changes to the law too: Given that Turnbull now intends to make it a terror offence to make terrorism “hoaxes”, perhaps Australians should question if our politicians will be subject to the same law.

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Re: Hacker honeypot

Oh sorry, you must have missed the memo. You can rest easy knowing that nothing was hacked. The information was simply retrieved by a legitimate authorised access point by persons unknown.

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Damn, it looks like Australia beat the US to the bottom on this.

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@Mark 85 - I have a hard time believing there is another group of politicos that make Congress Critters look about as intelligent collectively as a rock. But Aussies have done it.

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>But Aussies have done it

I have to admit our current crop of idiots, oops I meant, politicians really are a bunch of duds with only the occasional shining light, but with the current leader who really once wanted to lead the Labor Party moving steadily leftwards in policy and with the rest of the bunch all following him like sheep it is very depressing.

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Coat

@Mark 85

Does being Down Under give them a head start in any race to the bottom?

Though I thought this story was about faces, not bottoms.

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"Damn, it looks like Australia beat the US to the bottom on this."

If you believe the capabilities of the TV show NCIS and the like, most government employees, all military personnel, anyone with a criminal record, a driving licence or passport and anyone of "interest" are already in photo recog databases and can be identified in seconds.

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Paris Hilton

If you believe the capabilities of the TV show NCIS and the like, most government employees, all military personnel, anyone with a criminal record, a driving licence or passport and anyone of "interest" are already in photo recog databases and can be identified in seconds.

I'm still waiting for the special ordinary-looking-keyboard that lets 2 people type on it simultaneously, entering intelligible commands into separate windows, despite only using half the keyboard (youtube "2 idiots one keyboard" iirc). Hmm, maybe that's where Rudd and her Ozzie counterparts get their technical "advice" from, after all on those shows a 8,192 key takes a few hours (tops, on a bad day, for the junior caretaker during his lunch break) to crack.

--> Even she probably has a better grasp of hard stuff (like encryption) than these politicians...

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Trollface

Re: @Mark 85

Though I thought this story was about faces, not bottoms.

We're talking Ozzies here. One pretty much looks like the other...

<dnrfc>

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Anonymous Coward

Excellent use of spooks lunch time will be to shop for new girlfriends using selective database queries based on gender, age, hair color and suburb.

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Or possibly

Female spooks looking for hunks. Or make spooks looking for hunks.

Or female spooks looking for girlfriends.

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Mushroom

What could possibly go wrong?

I despair for this country; I really do.

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Public Theatre

Within a week, 98% of Australians began wearing their anonymity masks, although there were a little hesitant to wear the standard Guy Fawkes mask, instead they opted for the eponymous "Bruce the Sheep" mask..

3 weeks later the Australian Government, wondered why their facial recognition program was always returning 5 Million results regardless of the name that was searched.

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Re: Public Theatre

My irony meter is looking forward to the 'mandate the burqa' brigade.

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Clearly essential...

I mean when you have 25 million people crammed cheek by jowl into a country only twice the size of Western Europe (pop. ~= half a billion) then it is vital to keep a close eye on everyone because ... errr ... immigrants, terrorists, Ned Kelly ... errr ... sheep ... country is clearly full up ... where did I put my thorazine?

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Re: Clearly essential...

it is vital to keep a close eye on everyone because....

And there was me thinking that the idea that all Aussies were criminal transportees was merely a light hearted joke to wind 'em up. But apparently, Australia's leaders actually believe it.

Out of curiosity (being in the UK), a few questions to accompany my sympathy: Are there any sane politicians out there, speaking out against this? And in particular, any parties? How's this going down with the voting public?

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Unhappy

Re: Clearly essential...

How's this going down with the voting public?

I suspect there will be quite an uproaOH LOOK KIM KARDASHIAN POSTED A NEW PIC ON FACEBOOK!!!!!!!!!!!

:(

As Magani said above, I despair for this place :(

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Unhappy

Re: Clearly essential...

@Ledswinger

Are there any sane politicians out there,...

Quick answer: NO

Long Answer: Bl**dy hell, no

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Re: Clearly essential...

> Are there any sane politicians out there, speaking out against this?

Sadly they turned out to be kiwis.

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Re: Clearly essential...

> Are there any sane politicians out there, speaking out against this?

Sadly they turned out to be kiwis.

YOU TAKE THAT BACK THIS INSTANT! ur politicians are just as unbelievably insane as the rest of them.

Just being such a tiny little nation, you seldom hear of them on the world news.

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Re: Clearly essential...

No this wasn't a dig at across the ditch.

"On 14 July 2017, Ludlam resigned from the Senate after it was brought to his attention by barrister John Cameron that he held dual Australian and New Zealand citizenship, rendering him ineligible to hold elected office in the Federal Parliament under section 44 of the Australian Constitution"

-everyone's favourite reference website

This was his contribution to the stupid waste of taxpayer money* meta data retention bill. I hold different political opinions to him on many issues, but on this issue he was bang on and unlike many others on both sides of the isle, he actually had a grasp of the issue at stake.

*According to my metadata log at some large ISP, I am visiting the IP address of my VPN provider and nowhere else.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Clearly essential...

As an Australian voter I can assure you a lot of us do not appreciate our polliticians nor do we really get a say. In the last election and I am sure it was because this guy was sure to lose the ballot papers "accidentally" got mixed up between states and even though you vote for the same parties in each state it meant thousands could not vote as well as the shortage of ballot papers even though by law over 18 you have to vote, it seems their maths failed them too and they forgot how many voters they had. Again a lot of us can see whats really going on but sadly its just to corrupt to win

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Clearly essential...

Please note I assure you most of the voting public is not happy at the moment our great leaders are introducing laws at rapid speed that take all our rights away. Our country has such great leadership that when the last election went forward and he looked like losing there was an apparent mix up with the ballot papers where they were delivered to the wrong state and their maths failed them when they forgot how many voters lived in the country even though its required by law to vote after 18 and they have a roll with your details on it they were short 10s of 1000 of papers. They also passed legislation to take the rights away of people on low income 35 and under. So clearly even if voters want him out his corrupt ways keep him in. And yes he is as dense as he appears we are fuming

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Gimp

Looks like the Aus data fetishists have been taking lessons from the cabal in the Home Office

Actual problem.

Local police forces too slow in providing mug shots.

Options.

1)Improve data flow with better hardware links (National Broadband?) Scripts to extract pix, prep for secure transfer of known felons.

2) Photograph everyone "because we can." Storage is cheap enough to do so.

Do phrases like "Grossly disproportionate" come to mind? This sounds like the UK's ANPR network, with unlimited data retention.

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"...while maintaining robust privacy safeguards."

...usually means "politicians', and only politicians', personal data will, of course, be excluded."

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Trollface

Re: "...while maintaining robust privacy safeguards."

...usually means "politicians', and only politicians', personal data will, of course, be excluded."

Quite right, Bruce, Store pics of their d*c*s instead. On a public server. With edited measurements.

If you've got nothing to hide you've got nothing to fear ... or something.

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Anonymous Coward

Now hear this

"'they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding"

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Anonymous Coward

and so the things the secret services have already been doing slowly but surely find their way onto the statute books of the five eyes countries.

I remember seeing this sort of tech in the film Enemy of the State, how life imitates art.

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On the bright side

If Ozzie driving licence photos are anything like UK ones, the photo could be just about anyone.

Cue people tweaking their appearance before photo time - padding in the cheeks, adjust eyebrows with make-up, padding up nostrils, taping ears, realistic looking false beard etc.

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Mushroom

Drongos

My experience of Aussies is that when they're in London they will stay in my house for six months but donate very little towards it's upkeep. When I'm in Oz they don't want to know me. So tough shit Aussies, you've got the government that you deserve.

Disclaimer: I've not yet had a coffee :(

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Drongos

> .. when they're in London they will stay in my house for six months but donate very little towards it's upkeep.

Pretty sure that's "Politicians" (known in Oz as "Bludgers"), not Aussies in general.

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Why did we bother?

I am sure that would be the words of my grandfathers, both of whom fought in WWII.

Why did so many suffer and die fighting the nazis, when so many governments these days are bringing in policies that would give hitler multiple orgasms.

Can we have a do-over? Maybe send some different troops into different places so the ancestors of this current crop would've been the ones who died fighting this (before they could have offspring), so the nazis wouldn't have won by default?

Oh, Ozzies.. My father's father was Australian. He fought and was wounded trying to stop this stuff. He never spoke of the things he saw, but the pain of what he witnessed trying to stop the people you're so desperate to emulate was clear in his eyes for the rest of his days.

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Facepalm

From a man who thinks Australian law tumps the laws of mathematics...

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2140747-laws-of-mathematics-dont-apply-here-says-australian-pm/

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Laws of Mathematics

Wow...we've all rolled our eyes and complained at Rudd and May's lack of understanding etc. but that is so explicit.

What was he thinking?

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Re: Laws of Mathematics

What was he thinking?

Nothing. Between his ears (and Amber Rudd's) is nothing. A vacuum of space, time and emotion. Physicists could probably observe a form of "ignorance lensing" as sub atomic particle and rays bend round his head to avoid being quenched in that void, and disturbing the balance of the universe. Maybe the contents of his head are the mysterious dark energy?

Either that, or he was thinking anti-thoughts. Just as anti-matter is the opposite of matter, anti-thoughts are negative knowledge. Not stupidity, which is the absence or misunderstanding of knowledge, but its actual opposite. These people reduce the sum of human knowledge by simply breathing.

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Only yourselves to blame

For the past 30 years you've voted in the politicians that have made Australia the second most nanny-state in the western world. And nanny needs to keep a close eye on all her children in case you have a poopy diaper.

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Re: Only yourselves to blame

And nanny needs to keep a close eye on all her children in case you have a poopy diaper.

I don't have a poopy nappy, because I've just been to the crapper and squeezed out a fair dinkum Turnbull.

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Australia is a testing ground for US anti-terror laws

Australia has 'beaten the US to the bottom' in a few recent terror-knee-jerk-legislation-reactions.

Firstly, there was the mandatory metadata* retention by ISP's. There was a lot of argument about how the data would be managed and fears of rubber stamping access to said data, which was allayed by our honourable leaders as unfounded as warrants are required in order to access the data. There is some belief that this legislation, down the slippery slope, may be used for policing copyright infringement.

Here are some articles proving how unfounded these fears were:

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/apr/28/federal-police-admit-accessing-journalists-metadata-without-a-warrant

https://www.itnews.com.au/news/australias-data-retention-scheme-is-still-a-mess-456421

(excerpt:

The RSPCA, state coroners, and the Environment Protection Authority are also using powers in their own statutes to circumvent their exclusion from the data retention scheme.

Such organisations were among those lobbying the AGD to be designated a criminal enforcement agency under the TIA Act, a classification that is required to access the data.)

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20170819/15471638040/australian-govt-accessed-domestic-metadata-thousands-times-shared-some-it-with-china.shtml

Secondly, we have legislation to require ISP's to have their network infrastructure changes authorised by the office of the Attorney General's Department to ensure the ISP's aren't implementing changes that may decrease Australia's national security vulnerability. This sounds a little like the pre-cursor to the Kaspersky kerfuffle in the US.

Article:

https://www.itnews.com.au/news/brandis-hits-telcos-with-new-security-reforms-405808

Thirdly, we have our fearless leader Malcolm Turnbull implying Australian law trumps the natural laws of mathematics:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-14/facebook-google-to-be-forced-to-decrypt-messages-fight-terrorism/8707748

Specifically this quote:

"The laws of mathematics are very commendable but the only laws that apply in Australia is the law of Australia."

... and now we have this facial recognition database.

If it can be passed in Australia, it can probably be passed in the US and UK. Australians have a history of not putting up with this sort of shit, so it makes sense that it gets tested here first and if it passes then it can go up the chain to the more paranoid countries. The fact these things have passed in Australia already means that Australia has become one of the paranoid countries. Sad times.

Don't sweat the small stuff, she'll be right mate. There's less of that; more people that like to get in everyone else's business. But we generally got up did something for the stuff that mattered. Now we just reach for another beer, or change channels to the Bachelorette. Or both.

Australia is another US in the making, ably led by Turnbull's Liberal Party (which is still really Abbott's Liberal Party). Not that the alternative offers much of a change of direction.

* For the definitive explanation of metadata, please search YouTube for "George Brandis Metadata"

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outrageous

Just because something can be done technically, does not mean that it should. And just because there are some benefits in an action does not mean that the action is beneficial. Governments do have a responsibility to take measures to keep the public safe. But they need to balance this with their responsibility to restrain the excesses of future governments.

Some people will take a mile when you give an inch. What do you think they will do if you give a mile? Will try say 'great we're happy' or will they push for 2, or 10 miles.

It'll start with crowds and terrorism suspects on a TLA watchlist. Who can argue right? Then we'll add pedophiles hanging around playgrounds. No arguments right? Then bikies, known drug dealers and of course, with this mob, Centrelink recipients. At some point you are going to be sitting on the bench in the park minding your own business when some G4S / Wilson guard crash tackles you, serving an infringement notice because your dog shat on the grass and you have an overdue copy of 1984 from the local library.

Hey if you have such fancy AI, why not use them to highlight unusual packages being carried into the stadium/train/area of risk. This proposal has real consequences for freedom of association. It also has consequences for journalists when their source can be identified. Turnbull of all people should get what that means *cough* spycatcher *cough*.

So yes, there are some positive outcomes to safety but overall this would seem to me a dangerous idea. Let's not throw the baby with the bathwater. If you want to save some lives, maybe try taxing sugar drinks or banning fast food advertising during children's programs or phasing out diesel vehicles in cities or doing a buyback for the old diesel trucks that emit tens or hundreds of times more dangerous NOx particles than their modern equivalents, or coal, or say that all cars sold from 2019 must have active collision avoidance and at least 6 airbags fitted. Any of those will save an order of magnitude more lives.

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