for ASIO (the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation for those of you in Upover) and the police, powers to reduce the threat of a terrorist attack Downunder.
I have contemplated this long and hard and I still cannot understand the need for these powers. Although I believe we probably do need them Downunder should never have reached that point.
It is not nice to think you are being spied on but the reality is that we are all spied on in one way or another. It is almost impossible for the average individual to disappear completely.
It was once much easier to disappear. You left your place of residence and moved to another one giving yourself another name and, unless you were very unlucky and seen by someone who knew you in the previous location, that was it. Well, it was little more complex than that but it could be done.
Now it is a different story. You can be found in all sorts of ways and often at great speed. If there is a photograph of you it can be posted on line around the world in a matter of seconds.
If you keep your name it is even easier - or it should be. Certainly those who have access to the electoral roll can find you unless you are a "silent" voter (which only means your name does not appear on the roll available to all members of the public). If your financial records or motor vehicle registration (for your licence to drive) are available then still more can be discovered. If you have a "rewards" card at the supermarket or a "loyalty" card anywhere else then they will know precisely what you bought and when you bought it. They can target marketing that way - or they think they can. (I know a grandfather who bought a tin of infant milk formula for his daughter's infant son and suddenly found himself the recipient of advertising about baby items.)
So, yes spying will occur. Most of us lead fairly ordinary lives and it should not worry us - but there is something a little worrying about it all. No, I won't have a "rewards" card thanks very much.
And so it goes on.
Right now I feel as if I am spying on my friend. I have been going slowly through her address book for the people she knew in other parts of the world, often people we both knew. They need to know. When we were discussing the arrangements she wanted some months ago she asked me to do this but it still feels wrong. I have been checking those addresses on line through telephone directories. And that alone makes people who live in one place alarmingly easy to find.