Europe and Australia’s backward step towards a police state

Europe and Australia’s backward step towards a police state

Australia’s Parliament has just passed new draconian legislation which carries threats of the former communist police states, writes Prince Michael of Liechtenstein.

The legislation, passed by a huge majority on October 1, 2014, provides that anybody, including journalists or whistleblowers, who discloses information relating to a ‘Special Intelligence Operation’ faces up to 10 years in jail. Any security operation, internally or abroad, can be declared as ‘special’ by the attorney general without any independent judge.

Agents of the Australian Secret Intelligence Services are immune from criminal prosecution for actions in the scope of their work except for a few crimes such as direct and unjustified murder.

It also allows the entire Australian internet to be monitored by the issue of a simple computer warrant.

The population of a democratic country is under general suspicion with unlimited police powers to investigate terrorism, money laundering and other crimes, irrespective of protection from human rights on privacy or the assumption of innocence. The Australian law also limits the freedom of press.

The worldwide activities of America’s National Security Agency (NSA) became general knowledge after it was leaked how they snooped on the private phone calls of heads of friendly governments and many others.

The European Parliament also passed a law some years ago with a large majority which ordered telecommunications operators to store all data on telephones, faxes and emails for a certain length of time and provide police and prosecutors with access to it.

This was backed by the major parties and the system was introduced in European Union countries, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

The European Court ruled that the new law breached human rights and repealed the legislation. But the system was not stopped. Instead, EU member states are working to make this breach of human rights and disrespect for constitutions legal by changing the legislation.

This is a horrible step for our Western democratic societies.

The distrust and disrespect for ordinary citizens by our elected political elites has become so strong that they are now applying policing methods from the darkest times of communism to control their own citizens. Respect for human rights and the constitution - the pillar of a state based on law - are being ignored under the pretext of an illusion of security.

Prosecution could become easier in some cases, but we know how weak data protection is. Computer information can be hacked very easily.

The biggest danger to society is, however, the misuse of the law by government itself. Power corrupts and such data paves the way to total power for some groups and institutions. And we know that total power corrupts totally.

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