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Government to snoop on your emails to fight terrorism

21 April, 2008
By Allison Orr

The Australian Federal government is developing laws that would allow companies providing services critical to the economy to read workers’ emails.  Deputy PM Julia Gillard says the proposed changes to the Telecommunications Act is to protect vital IT infrastructure and is not "an unseemly interest in people’s private emails".

Ms Gillard says the new laws would ensure the government has the right powers to ensure it knows if anything unusual is going on in the system, and to protect critical IT infrastructure from terrorist attack.

However, others have raised concerns about the proposed changes.  Dale Clapperton, chairman of Electronic Frontiers Australia, says the laws could be open to abuse by employers and be used for eavesdropping and corporate witchhunts rather than national security concerns.

The proposed laws have also been criticised by Green Senator Kerry Nettle, who told ZDNet.com.au that it "is a major threat to the privacy of all Australian workers".

Ms Gillard says the laws are currently only in the proposal stage and the government will consult with privacy experts and industry before they go ahead.

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