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End of privacy? Civil and divorce law review

DIVORCE lawyers could soon have access to the web, phone and email sessions of every private user in a scheme which has been slammed as “the most intrusive of any developed country”.


Advocates predict ‘abolition of privacy’ with mooted law changes in civil and family disputes

Rod Chester, National technology writer, News Corp Australia Network
DIVORCE lawyers could soon have access to the web, phone and email sessions of every private user in a scheme which has been slammed as “the most intrusive of any developed country”.
 
Fiona McLeod, president of the Law Council of Australia, said Australia’s data retention laws were intrusive and confirmed the council would be presenting a submission to the government’s review protesting the changes.

Technology experts and privacy advocates have criticised moves to expand the data retention laws, warning that it will lead to a flood of litigation of people “fishing” for private details and could even put people at risk, making it easier for aggrieved former partners to become stalkers.

Emails, phone usage and data have always been protected by privacy laws, but that could be about to change. Picture: istockSince October 2015, all telephone and internet service providers have been required by law to retain for two years all their clients’ metadata including voice, text and email communications, time, date and device locations and internet sessions.

The requirement was said to be needed for national security.

Now the Attorney-General’s department is seeking submissions by January 27 in a review looking to extend access of retained metadata to lawyers acting for clients in civil litigation.

But Ms Mcleod said: “Sensitive personal data in the wrong hands is extremely dangerous and it can be used to hack, scam and mislead us in all sorts of ways.”

“In this space, we just have to proceed very carefully … and we are seeking that if the laws are to be changed then they needed to strike the right balance.”

Lawyers may get access to your retained metadata in the future under a new proposal. Picture: istockA spokesman for the Attorney-General’s department said the review, which was following the guidance of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security would examine whether the ban preventing the use of the collected data in civil proceedings should have exceptions such as in family law cases involving violence or child abduction cases.

President of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties Stephen Blanks said the move for feuding partners to be allowed to demand internet and phone data history “exposes the inherent problem with the collection of personal information”.

Mr Blanks said the government’s original justification for the laws was that the information could be used to fight serious crime and terrorism but, having got the laws passed, was seeking to open up the use of the data to way beyond those justifications.

Stephen Blanks, from the NSW Council Civil Liberties, said the government was looking to use data way beyond its original justification — which was to fight crime and terrorism. Picture: Alan Place“The idea that there is now a data set that can be accessible for any court at all represents the abolition of any privacy,” Mr Blanks said.

“You can’t have an internet or telephone simply for the purpose of browsing online, sending emails or for the purpose of telecommunications — the price of doing those very ordinary things is going to be a traceable data set about everything you’ve done and everywhere you’ve been.

“This kind of permission for using this data generally in litigation represents the complete abolition of the idea that information is gathered and used only for the purpose for which it was really intended.

“Instead it represents the idea that if it exists and can be used for any purpose at all, then it’s legitimate to do so. That is an idea that ought to be rejected.”

One of the fears is the security of people whose personal information gets into the wrong hands. Picture: istockElectronic Frontiers Australia executive officer Jon Lawrence said “there is almost no actual evidence that mandatory data retention schemes are effective in preventing crime, and some evidence to suggest that they are not”.

“Civil cases involve the process of legal discovery, which will potentially provide litigants with broad scope to go on fishing expeditions that could expose large amounts of very revealing data about individuals,” he said.

Internet Australia CEO Laurie Patton warned of the privacy implications of the proposed changes.

“Using communications technology and personal data in court cases involving private individuals and which have nothing necessarily to do with criminality takes us into uncharted waters,” he said.

Dr Angela Daly, a technology and law expert at Queensland University of Technology, said data retention raised significant privacy concerns that has never been adequately addressed “not in the initial legislation, and certainly not in these proposals to extend the use of retained data to civil disputes”.

“I don’t think warrantless mass data retention and access is a good idea and neither does the EU’s Court of Justice which has reaffirmed its opinion that schemes like this are in breach of human rights standards,” she said.

The department plans to deliver the findings by April 13.

Originally published as Privacy outrage over family court change


Source: The Daily Telegraph Online
http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/national/advocates-predict-abolition-of-privacy-with-mooted-law-changes-in-civil-and-family-disputes/news-story/1ef4f34336c071089a733350af06c91c

Any opinions expressed herein are strictly for informational purposes and are never to be taken as legal advice.
In the interest of public safety at a national and international level I have no problem with innovative security systems and the normal inconveniences we endure as travellers etc.  Big brother has been with us for a long time and no doubt will grow bigger with time.  Court is at the best of times  a traumatic experience for most us whether it is family law, civil and or criminal.  In matters which require pleas of "Guilty or Not Guilty" maybe the additional information from external agencies might be a justified  approach in my opinion, however in sensitive personal family matters such as divorce etc where one would not normally expect there exists a threat to national security the thought of lawyers having access to private users communication may very well be intrusive.  There is exceptions when personal safety becomes involved, and this can be the case in family law matters where prior knowledge can be the difference here, so I guess where do we draw the line?  Not everybody gets it or is aware that social media while entertaining, interesting, and beneficial ( sometimes) can change your life forever.    
"  Lawyers may get access to your retained metadata in the future under a new proposal.A spokesman for the Attorney-General’s department said the review, which was following the guidance of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security would examine whether the ban preventing the use of the collected data in civil proceedings should have exceptions such as in family law cases involving violence or child abduction cases."

My god ! So not even 2 weeks into 2017 & this insane piece has trashed my hope that things will have to start making a change for the better sooner or later, positive thoughts will bring positive results along with a few other personal thoughts I tried convincing myself with whilst sliding into the
deep dark hole that some
others here may know of which I refer.

Are those whom hold power involved in some sick perverted competition to see which one can create civic environments chaotic enough to instigate home ground terrorism as a way to cull the population numbers or something similar, for crying out loud ?!?

Whichever side of the fence ones opinions lay, be it feminazi's pushing their cart that all men are DV perpetrators.
Be it the armchair Ellen's that form the clucky packs encouraging each other to screw the dad of their kids over & out of any role of parenting.
Be it the blokes who deserve criminal penalty if offended criminally during the exposing of reality that they are not cut out for the "nuclear family" lifestyle, regardless of why or whom made the final call on it.
Or be it the bloke wishing to simply be dad in the face of getting smashed relentlessly by a corrupt & broken, bias family law/CSA  system run by unethical leeches concerned only with financial & reputation gain & theatrically performed to fellow 'frat' members with equal intent for continuing calamity & fatter nest eggs.

Whether your views align with the 1 in 3  white(lies) ribbon crowd or the opposing mob with figures of 21 fathers a week take their own lives each week as a direct result from the legislation the servants of the people draw up then bury heads in sand, job done & hopeful personal gain can be found in other issues within their portfolios.

The common denominator is fellow human beings suffer one way or another & the numbers, whatever the true, verifiable figure is, shouldn't be . Pure & simple !
Now these sadists are thinking of not only totally ignoring data/numbers/facts that the systems in place are hurting & killing men, women & more despicably innocent children.
Seemingly blind to the reality kids are the ultimate losers as systems failures go on unabated & off to extinction races one of man-kinds oldest, if not THE oldest traits, kids are born to & raised by & have a right to both a mother & father to continue the " building project", that is creating an independent  human being that results from the combining of parents DNA .

How about these idiots fix the broken, corrupt & morally wrong disgrace that's already in place that is costing lives & hurting kids.
Doh ! Reread it & of course what a brilliant idea from the sector of society that benefits hugely from people's misery & misfortune. Create more chaos & create more clients & more of their reasons for living……tear stained money.
I'm already crying for the lost kids resulting from this sick, elitist evil proposal !!

Child abduction…..maybe. But we the people should rise up & dislodge this filth if this gets through to further incite hatred & violence & possible losses to kids of one or both parents to innocent kids .
What's the next brilliant idea from these idiots? Hand each parent a six shooter & encourage them to an old western style quick draw because the courts are too congested ?
I feel sick !!!!O_o:'(
I hear you Fotsy, but where too from here.  I relate to your frustration and believe me I see it every working day with clients who are desperately looking for a better alternative to their situation under the current system. I have to add to what I have just said, I think the FLA is as it stands is in fact doing the best it can for the sake of the children and parents, (albeit a dinosaur) what is so bloody obvious to me is the system not supporting what is written in legislation, and that is why these "Idiots" who blindly allow the current system to flourish, are responsible for the creation of the "Abyss "many children and parents have fallen into.  The parents and children lose their confidence and trust in society, and who can blame them, and the result is bitter and angry mums and dads, so what hope do our kids have.   

This recent proposal giving the lawyers more intrusive powers may have a few relevant points in some extreme circumstances, but I feel that can only work if the left hand is in unison with the right hand, in other words the FLA and its legislation works hand in hand with the system to support families.  One sure way is to remove the adversarial approach that has destroyed so many families over the years, and by removing adversarial systems this ridiculous proposal might not have anything to feed on and hopefully disappear forever. That brings me to another dilemma I have, sadly there are some professionals who use the grief of other people to their financial advantage, so it really scares me to think that if the powers to be get their chance to introduce the potential additional powers it will be like throwing water on an oil fire. In all honesty, that  thought really scares me.


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