Brother is watching and reading your emails - 8th
Brother is watching. Source: Supplied
say that if you havent got anything to hide,
you dont have anything to worry about.
that sort of argument doesnt fly with the civil
libertarians among us ... and neither will the tax
mans latest power grab.
Australian Taxation Office (ATO) could soon have tough
new powers allowing it to access stored phone calls,
emails and text messages, under a proposal to plug
a potential budget black hole.
proposal aims to claw back a portion of the billions
of dollars hoarded by high-level tax cheats, The
is, of course, nothing to stop the ATO from using
those powers, in its annual crackdowns, on select
Joe Bloggs workers and small business owners, be they
tradies, teachers or taxi drivers.
parliamentary joint committee yesterday gave the proposal
the thumbs-up, arguing the extra powers were needed
to protect the public purse from serious criminal
activities and recommended they be approved
with appropriate safeguards, including adequate
privacy and oversight arrangements.
this happens, the ATO will have some of the same powers
as police, corruption commissions and the Australian
Crime Commission (ACC) under the Telecommunications
(Interception and Access) Act, the controversial legislation
that gave authorities the power to access our phone
and internet data without a warrant.
full implications of the data retention laws are yet
to be felt, as service providers have a two-year amnesty
to get their systems ready to store all the required
data in an encrypted format, which includes the date,
time, duration, source and destination of each communication.
ATO already works in partnership with the ACC to gather
evidence of tax fraud, as part of a three-year, $2
million surveillance contract targeting international
tax evasion, tax refund fraud, tax avoidance schemes,
fraudulent business structures and the cash economy.
surveillance officers are qualified to carry out surveillance
in vehicles and on foot, electronic monitoring and
recording, and capturing photographic evidence.
enforcement committee chairman Craig Kelly MP, a NSW
Liberal, said the ATO needed expanded power to enhance
its ability to deter crooks, The Australian reports.
Kelly noted the US gangster Al Capone was only jailed
when the Internal Revenue Office nabbed him on tax
Wickenby, the ATOs widely-publicised operation
targeting high net worth individuals, raised $2.85
billion in tax liabilities, but only managed to recoup