This content is from the 2013 national Federal election and is visible for historical purposes only. Please see our Initiatives page for the most recent content.

Surveillance Overreach & Rights Online

The Greens' plan to reign in surveillance overreach and protect our privacy.


Our WA Senator Scott Ludlam launched our plan to roll back surveillance overreach online with NZ Greens MP Gareth Hughes.

Watch the Google Hangout with Scott Ludlam and Gareth Hughes:


Our online privacy and rights are compromised by widespread warrantless surveillance. The Greens believe that the benefits of the internet can be available with personal privacy and civil rights intact but only if we balance freedom and security online, otherwise we risk losing both.

The Greens care about your privacy and rights online, campaigning with a broad coalition of organisations and the business community to successfully defeat the government’s technically unfeasible and politically questionable mandatory internet filter.

As much as it is the Government’s role to promote collective protection against identity theft, online crime and acts of political violence, Australian citizens have a legitimate expectation that the government will defend their democratic right to privacy, freedom of expression and freedom from arbitrary acts of state coercion.

This is especially the case when the blurring of terrorism with journalism, civil disobedience and healthy dissent has seen our security agencies and police forces deployed against climate change demonstrators, journalists, the occupy movement, anti-whaling campaigners and whistleblowers.


Law enforcement and intelligence agencies need a warrant to enter our homes. They should also need one to access our telecommunications data. Because Australian law enforcement agencies were granted access to personal information about Australians 293,501 times throughout the 2011-12 year, without obtaining a warrant or having any judicial oversight, the Greens introduced the “Get a Warrant” bill into the parliament.


The government proposed to retain data on all Australians for up to two years. Retaining all ‘metadata’ for all Australians, for years means that detailed locational data collected by phones, as well as information about every single social or business interaction online would be captured. This proposal was recently rejected by a parliamentary committee that received over 5,500 submissions, 98.9 per cent of which were opposed to the data retention proposal.


While the old parties pretend nothing is happening, the world is in uproar about the US National Security Agency using the PRISM backdoor program to conduct warrantless surveillance through the servers of companies including Apple, Microsoft, Google and Facebook.

The Greens have demanded transparency about our government’s complicity in the collection of private emails, audio and video chats, photographs, documents, connection logs and location data. The old parties wouldn’t even support the Attorney General making a statement on the vulnerability of government information and Australians’ legislated privacy protections.

In light of the PRISM scandal and the ongoing surveillance overreach, we need an overhaul of the information governments collect and share about us.


  • Include security agencies under the Telecommunications Interception and Access Act reporting requirements
  • Require Mandatory Data Breach notifications by industry and government
  • Require IT providers to inform customers of agreements to provide information to governments
  • A Five Eyes agreement protecting privacy of citizens
  • Bring security agencies within the ambit of the FOI Act

Administrative costs for government to implement these policies will be absorbed by the relevant agencies, with a one off allocation of $0.2 million for educational advertising.