Bloggers routinely get read by government workers, and bloggers routinely monitor where their readers are located. Some of these hits are part of routine media monitoring of their constituents. Some hits are from local and Australian Federal Police - monitoring which steps-up prior to ministerial visits to Cairns. However different than this normal level of monitoring, political blogs are now seeing a new level of politically-driven surveillance from the government.
And this SPYING is coming from the so-called non-partisan "DEPARTMENT OF PARLIAMENTARY SERVICES". The DPS is supposed to be the "principal support agency" for the Parliament. The Catalog of DPS Services lists a variety of services that can be ordered by a Member, or their staff. Press conference support, audio/visual equipment, photos of the Members, crockery and cutlery, and even the ubiquitous Aussie barbeque. All services provided by the DPS.
Bloggers around Australia are now shocked to see POLITICALLY-DIRECTED SPYING coming from the computers in the Department of Parliamentary Services!
Bloggers in Cairns have reported this spying here, along with other bloggers across Australia. Many blog systems report the nature of the "search terms" being used by the monitoring agency. In the case of the Hillbilly Watch blog, we are seeing searches on the names of opposition candidates! Clearly political spying!
This DPS monitoring has just started - coincident with Kevin Rudd becoming Prime Minister. We've seen in excess of 30 separate hits on our logs since Rudd took control.
An inquiry about this monitoring seeking an explanation was sent to DPS Chief Information Officer Beata Nissen earlier today. No response has been received. Among the questions that need to be answered - who's ordered the spying, and what is being done with the information being collected?
Legal experts advise that this kind of spying by the DPS is likely illegal. We've applied for whistleblower protection with the Commonwealth Government.
Ironically, just weeks ago legislation to remove the DPS from Freedom of Information scrutiny was rammed thru Parliament in 11 minutes, unopposed by either major party. And just weeks later, the DPS has started acting as a spy agency for the Parliament.
More Soon. . . .