Trump hog­ging the head­lines


‘‘Agen­cies shall, to the ex­tent con­sis­tent with ap­pli­ca­ble law, en­sure that their pri­vacy poli­cies ex­clude per­sons who are not United States cit­i­zens or law­ful per­ma­nent res­i­dents from the pro­tec­tions of the Pri­vacy Act re­gard­ing per­son­ally iden­ti­fi­able in­for­ma­tion.’’

So, in fu­ture, US pri­vacy law pro­tec­tions will just ex­plic­itly not ap­ply to non-US cit­i­zens and to their ‘‘per­son­ally iden­ti­fi­able in­for­ma­tion’’.

The phone calls and emails of you, me, Aus­tralians, Brits, Chi­nese - or any other friend or en­emy du jour of the United States – will be fair game to US in­tel­li­gence agen­cies.

This same sec­tion 14 pro­vi­sion also scraps the gentle­men’s agree­ment that mem­bers of the Five Eyes in­tel­li­gence network should not spy on one an­other.

To be fair, the sur­veil­lance in­fra­struc­ture that Trump has in­her­ited was cre­ated by Ge­orge WBush, and strength­ened by Barack Obama.

How­ever, some progress had re­cently been made in ex­tend­ing US pri­vacy law pro­tec­tions to nonci­t­i­zens from a list of 26 listed coun­tries, which, un­for­tu­nately, doesn’t in­clude New Zealand.

As far as these things can ever be mon­i­tored, the US has pre­vi­ously tended to ob­serve the con­ven­tion of not spy­ing on its Five Eyes al­lies.

Seem­ingly, the Trump ex­ec­u­tive order scraps such pro­tec­tions.

Else­where, Cana­dian e-com­merce and copy­right ex­pert Michael Geist has in­di­cated that Cana­di­ans or EU cit­i­zens could well be­gin to mount le­gal chal­lenges.

These could be to en­sure their per­sonal data is not vol­un­tar­ily traf­ficked back and forth by gov­ern­ments act­ing as if nothing has changed within this new, far more hos­tile en­vi­ron­ment.

Thus far though, there hasn’t even been a peep from our govern­ment about the po­ten­tial im­pli­ca­tions of the Trump de­cree for our polic­ing and in­tel­li­gence in­for­ma­tion shar­ing agree­ments with the US.

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