Cabinet of Secret Documents from Australia

This story of leaked Australian government secrets is unlike any other I’ve heard: It begins at a second-hand shop in Canberra, where ex-government furniture is sold off cheaply. The deals can be even cheaper when the items in question are two heavy filing cabinets to which no-one can find the keys. They were purchased for small change and sat unopened…

This story of leaked Australian government secrets is unlike any other I've heard:

It begins at a second-hand shop in Canberra, where ex-government furniture is sold off cheaply.

The deals can be even cheaper when the items in question are two heavy filing cabinets to which no-one can find the keys.

They were purchased for small change and sat unopened for some months until the locks were attacked with a drill.

Inside was the trove of documents now known as The Cabinet Files.

The thousands of pages reveal the inner workings of five separate governments and span nearly a decade.

Nearly all the files are classified, some as "top secret" or "AUSTEO", which means they are to be seen by Australian eyes only.

Yes, that really happened. The person who bought and opened the file cabinets contacted the Australian Broadcasting Corp, who is now publishing a bunch of it.

There's lots of interesting (and embarassing) stuff in the documents, although most of it is local politics. I am more interested in the government's reaction to the incident: they're pushing for a law making it illegal for the press to publish government secrets it received through unofficial channels.

"The one thing I would point out about the legislation that does concern me particularly is that classified information is an element of the offence," he said.

"That is to say, if you've got a filing cabinet that is full of classified information ... that means all the Crown has to prove if they're prosecuting you is that it is classified ­ nothing else.

"They don't have to prove that you knew it was classified, so knowledge is beside the point."

[...]

Many groups have raised concerns, including media organisations who say they unfairly target journalists trying to do their job.

But really anyone could be prosecuted just for possessing classified information, regardless of whether they know about it.

That might include, for instance, if you stumbled across a folder of secret files in a regular skip bin while walking home and handed it over to a journalist.

This illustrates a fundamental misunderstanding of the threat. The Australian Broadcasting Corp gets their funding from the government, and was very restrained in what they published. They waited months before publishing as they coordinated with the Australian government. They allowed the government to secure the files, and then returned them. From the government's perspective, they were the best possible media outlet to receive this information. If the government makes it illegal for the Australian press to publish this sort of material, the next time it will be sent to the BBC, the Guardian, the New York Times, or Wikileaks. And since people no longer read their news from newspapers sold in stores but on the Internet, the result will be just as many people reading the stories with far fewer redactions.

The proposed law is older than this leak, but the leak is giving it new life. The Australian opposition party is being cagey on whether they will support the law. They don't want to appear weak on national security, so I'm not optimistic.

EDITED TO ADD (2/8): The Australian government backed down on that new security law.

EDITED TO ADD (2/13): Excellent political cartoon.

from https://www.schneier.com/blog/

James Patrick Taylor: Missing since 1974 from Western Australia

In August 1974, James Patrick Taylor vanished after leaving a local grocery store in Derby, Western Australia. He has not been seen since. About the Case Aboriginal Australian, James “Jimmy” Patrick Taylor, age 12, resided at 126 Knowsley Street in Derby in 1974. On August 29th of that year, Jimmy left his residence to purchase […]

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In August 1974, James Patrick Taylor vanished after leaving a local grocery store in Derby, Western Australia. He has not been seen since. About the Case Aboriginal Australian, James “Jimmy” Patrick Taylor, age 12, resided at 126 Knowsley Street in Derby in 1974. On August 29th of that year, Jimmy left his residence to purchase […]

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from https://truecrimediva.com

Facebook Fingerprinting Photos to Prevent Revenge Porn

This is a pilot project in Australia: Individuals who have shared intimate, nude or sexual images with partners and are worried that the partner (or ex-partner) might distribute them without their consent can use Messenger to send the images to be "hashed." This means that the company converts the image into a unique digital fingerprint that can be used to…

This is a pilot project in Australia:

Individuals who have shared intimate, nude or sexual images with partners and are worried that the partner (or ex-partner) might distribute them without their consent can use Messenger to send the images to be "hashed." This means that the company converts the image into a unique digital fingerprint that can be used to identify and block any attempts to re-upload that same image.

I'm not sure I like this. It doesn't prevent revenge porn in general; it only prevents the same photos being uploaded to Facebook in particular. And it requires the person to send Facebook copies of all their intimate photos.

Facebook will store these images for a short period of time before deleting them to ensure it is enforcing the policy correctly, the company said.

At least there's that.

More articles.

from https://www.schneier.com/blog/

Australia Considering New Law Weakening Encryption

News from Australia: Under the law, internet companies would have the same obligations telephone companies do to help law enforcement agencies, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said. Law enforcement agencies would need warrants to access the communications. "We’ve got a real problem in that the law enforcement agencies are increasingly unable to find out what terrorists and drug traffickers and pedophile…

News from Australia:

Under the law, internet companies would have the same obligations telephone companies do to help law enforcement agencies, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said. Law enforcement agencies would need warrants to access the communications.

"We've got a real problem in that the law enforcement agencies are increasingly unable to find out what terrorists and drug traffickers and pedophile rings are up to because of the very high levels of encryption," Turnbull told reporters.

"Where we can compel it, we will, but we will need the cooperation from the tech companies," he added.

Never mind that the law 1) would not achieve the desired results because all the smart "terrorists and drug traffickers and pedophile rings" will simply use a third-party encryption app, and 2) would make everyone else in Australia less secure. But that's all ground I've covered before.

I found this bit amusing:

Asked whether the laws of mathematics behind encryption would trump any new legislation, Mr Turnbull said: "The laws of Australia prevail in Australia, I can assure you of that.

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

Next Turnbull is going to try to legislate that pi = 3.2.

Another article. BoingBoing post.

EDITED TO ADD: More commentary.

from https://www.schneier.com/blog/

Peter Falconio: Disappeared in 2001 in Australia

The other night I watched the horror flick, Wolf Creek 2 . I’m a big horror movie fan (go figure), and this one was pretty good and gross. My kind of movie. I read that this one and the first Wolf Creek were based on actual events, so of course, I had to Google it. While … Continue reading “Peter Falconio: Disappeared in 2001 in Australia”

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The other night I watched the horror flick, Wolf Creek 2 . I’m a big horror movie fan (go figure), and this one was pretty good and gross. My kind of movie. I read that this one and the first Wolf Creek were based on actual events, so of course, I had to Google it. While … Continue reading "Peter Falconio: Disappeared in 2001 in Australia"

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from http://truecrimediva.com

William Tyrrell: Australian Toddler Missing Since 2014

William TyrrellJune 26, 2016, William Tyrrell turned five years old. His family endured another birthday without this sweet boy. I’m writing this to help bring more awareness to this case. Being in the U.S., there’s not much I can do to help, but I can do this. About the Case Around 10:30 a.m. September 12, 2014, three-year-old … Continue reading “William Tyrrell: Australian Toddler Missing Since 2014”

The post William Tyrrell: Australian Toddler Missing Since 2014 appeared first on True Crime Diva.

William TyrrellJune 26, 2016, William Tyrrell turned five years old. His family endured another birthday without this sweet boy. I’m writing this to help bring more awareness to this case. Being in the U.S., there’s not much I can do to help, but I can do this. About the Case Around 10:30 a.m. September 12, 2014, three-year-old … Continue reading "William Tyrrell: Australian Toddler Missing Since 2014"

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from http://truecrimediva.com

Rahma El-Dennaoui: Taken in the Night

Rahma El-Dennaoui19-month-old Rahma El-Dennaoui vanished from her home in Lurnea, New South Wales sometime between 2:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. on November 10, 2005. Her father, Hosayn, put her to bed around 2:00 a.m. after the child was having trouble sleeping due to the heat. Rahma was sleeping in a bedroom she shared with her four sisters. When the family … Continue reading “Rahma El-Dennaoui: Taken in the Night”

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Rahma El-Dennaoui19-month-old Rahma El-Dennaoui vanished from her home in Lurnea, New South Wales sometime between 2:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. on November 10, 2005. Her father, Hosayn, put her to bed around 2:00 a.m. after the child was having trouble sleeping due to the heat. Rahma was sleeping in a bedroom she shared with her four sisters. When the family … Continue reading "Rahma El-Dennaoui: Taken in the Night"

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from http://truecrimediva.com