Australia is becoming a surveillance state. Thanks to the highly controversial new surveillance law – Telecommunications Access and Assistance Act, Australian police now have the power to routinely access public Wi-Fi networks to obtain information on connected users.
The new legislation gives high power to the police force in Australia and broadens their control. Now, companies with user information will be compelled to share their data with the police. Any company or organization that’s classed as a ‘communications provider’ is required to disclose user information to the police upon request.
While you would think that this law only applies to telecoms companies, the law also covers social media networks, manufacturers of connected devices, free Wi-Fi providers, and a vast range of general retailers.
What’s astonishing about this regulation is that is hasn’t even been publicly discussed in Australia before the act goes into power. This means that a majority of the population is unaware of this new regulation and have no clue what’s happening whatsoever. However, precise details of the surveillance were obtained upon repeated requests.
The report that the Australian government intentionally attempted to shadow their power could potentially escalate and grow into a sizeable political scandal. The primary reason for that is how the Australian government isn’t willing to reveal to its own citizens, even when potentially invasive surveillance is involved. This goes against the rights of citizens as they deserve the right to freedom of information and be aware of whatever’s cooking in the government.
This now means that, in theory, any public Wi-Fi provider in Australia could be forced to hand over the details of any individual(s) using their Wi-Fi network to the police. Australian public Wi-Fi users are now not only at risk of being hacked or snooped on by their ISPs or various other third parties, but they now also have to worry about their law enforcement agencies.
Is Australia Becoming a Surveillance State?
Earlier, people were hoping that this new regulation wouldn’t hold for long, however, following the re-election of Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the current Liberal government, it is believed that this new surveillance law will remain in place for a certain period of time. Earlier on, the Australian Labor party had pledged to revise the law, making it more privacy-friendly. As expected, they failed to follow through on their promise.
Since the Telecommunications Access and Assistance Act came into force in Australia last year, there has been a notable spike in VPN use in the country, as this is the only way for people to ensure they can stay safe while connected to public Wi-Fi networks.
Stay Secure with a Public Wi-Fi Network
Public Wi-Fi networks, also referred to as unsecured Wi-Fi networks are a breeding ground for hackers and alike. The idea that masses can be targeted works best for hackers at public places where dozens of users connect to the Public Wi-Fi network for internet accessibility.
When connecting to a public Wi-Fi network, make sure that you’ve got online security. PureVPN’s Public Wi-Fi VPN offers state-of-the-art AES-256 bit encryption, which is the highest standard in the security industry.
When connected with a Wi-Fi VPN, you can rest assured about your online privacy and security on public and private networks as your data is encoded and can only be decoded upon a secure connection with the VPN server. If anyone does try to intrude, all they’ll see is gibberish information passing in and out.