Australian authorities are keeping their eyes on you
It’s no secret that surveillance in Australia is on the rise. This is very worrying, especially since privacy under Australian law is not a guaranteed right. There’s also no clearly recognized law against the invasion of your privacy.
Australia is part of the Five Eyes alliance, which is an international surveillance network that shares information gathered on citizens. The country has also signed an agreement with the European Union, to advance the sharing of passenger name records of international travelers.
This is a huge risk for you, since even if all the data collected on you is deleted in Australia, there’s no guarantee it hasn’t been stored somewhere overseas.
There’s a pool of data being collected from you every day. If we’re referring to digital communication alone there are the following laws regulating the area of surveillance:
- Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979
- Telecommunications Act 1997
- Surveillance Devices Act 2004
- Privacy Act 1988
- Intelligence Services Act 2001
- Intelligence Services Amendment Act 2004
No room for privacy in Australian law
All these legislations give permission to around 2,500 people to access your information at any time without a warrant. That means these agencies can track or listen in on you, and you would never know:
- ASIO (Australian Security Intelligence Organization)
- Australian Border Force
- Australian Federal Police
- All state and territory police forces
- The Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity
- Australian Crime Commission
- Australian Securities and Investments Commission
- Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
- NSW Crime Commission
- NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption
- NSW Police Integrity Commission
- Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission
- West Australian Corruption and Crime Commission
- South Australian Independent Commission Against Corruption
That’s a lot of eyes and ears.
And let’s not forget. Under Australian law, companies are also legally required to share your data with the authorities and allow them to spy on your network.
Big companies like Telstra, Optus, and Google have all collaborated with the police in the past. Google’s transparency report shows that there’s a 20% year by year increase in data requests by Australia authorities.
During criminal investigations in 2011 and 2012, internet logs were requested more than 300,000 times. Even if you are not engaging in criminal activities yourself, your data could still be collected as collateral damage during these investigations.
Australian service providers monitor everything
According to Senator Scott Ludlam, 243,631 warrants were issues to obtain telecommunication logs between July 2010 and June 2011.
And in 2013, light was shed on a key issue with internet companies. State, territory, and federal law enforcement authorities can legally access a variety of so called “non-content” data. This may not come as a surprise, but it’s certainly worrying since all ISPs have a mandatory data retention period of two years. Otherwise they can expect a fine of up to two million Australian dollars.
This fine incentivizes ISPs to log a lot of your data, such as:
- Your IP address
- Time and duration of your internet connections
- Your browsing history (this usually applies to carriers)
- Volume of your downloads and uploads
- Location and other geographical data
- Your emails
- Date and time when you’ve sent emails
- Data volume of your email attachments
- Metadata of your devices
In short, everything you do online is heavily monitored. And to make matters even worse, in 2018 a bill was proposed to help authorities with the “challenges posed by ubiquitous encryption”. In translation, Australian authorities are concerned about their citizens using any means of data protection but are mainly focusing on traffic encryptions.
A VPN – short for virtual private network – is used to encrypt your entire internet traffic, redirecting it through a secure tunnel, rendering your ISP blind when it comes to your online activity. It’s no wonder the government has been trying to crack down on VPNs, even if the bill did not pass. For those wondering if VPN software is legal in Australia, the answer is yes. For the moment, at least.
Australia is no stranger to censorship
Most Australians know that there have been numerous instances of websites being blocked for various reasons.
When the copyright law was passed, the majority of torrent sites were blocked. And after the Federal Parliament passed the Suicide Related Materials Offences Act, the same happened to most websites discussing suicide.
There might be more surprises to come, too.
Scott Morrison, who was elected Prime Minister in 2019, has been very vocal with his stance on social media. He’s made promises to crack down on internet trolls and tackle internet extremism. This might sound reasonable on the surface, but it remains unclear on how he will achieve his goals. After all, censorship is tough to impose while protecting free speech and ensuring that no users will be wrongfully targeted, due to jokes, satire or pastiche.
Why you need the best VPN for torrenting in Australia
Piracy is an issue that’s taken very seriously in Australia. ISPs are vigilant about torrenting copyrighted material and are keeping their eyes on all their customers for such infringements.
This is why the Australian federal court ordered ISPs to block many popular torrent sites, like The Pirate Bay. Torrentz, TorrentHound, isoHunt and all mirroring sites. The streaming service SolarMovie is also no longer accessible to Australians.
This decision was made after more than 50 copyright holders sought bans on piracy websites within Australian territories. Among them were big names, like Roadshow Films, Foxtel, Disney, Paramount, Columbia, and 20th Century Fox.
Even though the “three strikes and you’re out” rule is a financial burden to internet service providers; authorities are still trying to push it. And in case you’re wondering, there’s also a penalty for those that are caught pirating copyrighted material. Individuals can face a fine up to AU$117,000 and the amount goes up to five times more for corporations. Repeated offences can also make you eligible for a prison sentence, according to the Australian government website.
The bottom line is that the Australian government is working relentlessly to crack down on sites that are used to distribute copyrighted material. Even Google stepped in to call the decision too rushed and expressed concern at the 500 sites being blocked by ISPs on a weekly basis.
The anti-piracy campaign is well underway. And the bad news doesn’t end here.
Cybercrime is on the rise in Australia
In recent years, the country has become a testing ground for hackers and cybercriminals. Any device is at risk, since Australia is now in the top 10 most targeted nations.
How did this come to be? Well, authorities were initially oblivious to the ever-growing digital industry. Cybersecurity was simply a fancy term, not to be taken seriously. This has left most network infrastructures with weak security, and wide open to all kinds of malicious software and exploitable vulnerabilities.
Even national security has been at stake, when hackers attempted to break into the parliamentary network. Although rumors of Chinese digital fingerprints started to circulate, in the end no one was entirely sure what information had been accessed.
Australian lawmakers have also been victims of Iran’s cyberespionage campaign. Private institutions have been victims as well, like Toyota and Cabrini Hospital. In the latter case, 15,000 medical files were leaked.
But it’s not just institutions and companies that are at risk. You are too.
The country widely adopted public Wi-Fi hotspots, but these were left largely unsecured. These types of unencrypted and unprotected connections leave you vulnerable to Man-in-the-Middle attacks.
Your online activity and your private data are not safe when connected to unsecure Wi-Fi networks. This is where the best VPN for Australia comes in.
You can protect yourself and reclaim your privacy with CyberGhost VPN.
Break all international streaming restrictions
If you have a Netflix account, you probably already know that a significant part of this service’s streaming content in blocked in Australia. That’s not fair. Even more so when you consider that the Online Goods Tax needs to be paid on top of every single streaming service subscription you own.
Not to mention the streaming services that are completely off-limits to Australians, like BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Crunchyroll or HBO Now. This leaves you in a tough spot. You can either give up on your favorite entertainment shows or visit illegal sites. It's also bad for creators that are robbed of a well-earned fan base. And you risk facing legal consequences for streaming copyrighted content from shady websites.
This is all determined based on your IP address. Streaming services rely on this type of information to identify your location and decide which content will then be available to you.
However, this is no longer an issue with CyberGhost VPN. With the help of our virtual private network, we hide your IP address, and replace it with one from our system. This means that these services will no longer be able to tell your real location anymore and their full catalogs of streaming content will be made available to you.
A VPN for Australia to suit your needs
A whopping 88% of Aussies have at least one device connected to the internet, but cyber hygiene is woefully overlooked. Don’t leave your gadgets exposed to threats!
Whether it’s a computer, laptop or mobile device, CyberGhost VPN helps you stay protected.
And it doesn’t stop here. Just one CyberGhost VPN subscription is enough to protect up to seven devices simultaneously. Keep all your devices shielded from snoopers and hackers!
Total internet freedom with VPN Australia servers
It’s doesn’t matter what you do online. Whether you’re looking to download torrents, watch live streams, or simply encrypt your internet traffic, our CyberGhost VPN service for Australia covers all your needs.
With over 70 servers located within Australian borders, we make sure you can browse safely back home. Want to connect to a more remote server? No problem. There are over 4900 servers worldwide waiting for you.
Want more info about CyberGhost VPN? Be sure to check out our FAQ section. For further guidance, reach out to Customer Support team. They can handle your requests in English, French, German, and Romanian. They’re available 24/7 via live chat or email and ready to answer all your questions.
No, we do not.
Founded in 2011, CyberGhost VPN is a provider of German-engineered software, built to withstand threats to your privacy.
The reason we’re headquartered in Romania is the country’s privacy-friendly laws. We are not required to store logs and have no mandatory data retention obligations. For more details, check our Transparency Report.
This allows us to protect the anonymity of all our 30 million Ghosties worldwide.
CyberGhost VPN is the ideal VPN solution for Australians living in the country or traveling abroad. With us as your VPN provider, you get much more than just a chance to unblock streaming services, watch sporting events and access websites.
Our CyberGhost VPN apps use 256-bit AES encryption standards, making it impossible for the government, intelligence agencies, or Internet Service Providers to track your online activity.
You can count on our military-grade encryption and DNS-leak protection. These features ensure you can keep your digital life safe. What’s more, we have a strict No logs policy in place.
We also provide our Ghosties with P2P servers and unlimited bandwidth to ensure that nothing will interrupt their downloads. And since our apps have an active kill switch function in place, you’ll never to worry about your ISP catching you in the act.
Our servers also have no limitation or restrictions, allowing you to freely surf the internet and unblock websites no matter what network you are on.
For more information on the importance of digital privacy and anonymity, head to our Privacy Hub.
You can choose from the following plans:
● 1-month subscriptions billed monthly
● 1-year subscriptions billed annually
● 2-year subscriptions billed once every 2 years
● 3-year subscriptions billed once every 3 years
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Choose the plan that works for you
All you need from a truly complete VPN solution
- Automatic Kill Switch
- Highest possible speed
- Unlimited bandwidth and traffic
- Access to over 4900 servers worldwide
- DNS and IP Leak Protection
- Strict No Logs Policy
- 256-bit AES Encryption
- OpenVPN, L2TP-IPsec and PPTP protocols
- Simultaneous connections on up to 7 devices
- Apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Routers
- Friendly support: chat or email
- 45-day money back guarantee
Disclaimer: Per our Terms and Conditions, using CyberGhost VPN for illegal purposes is not permitted or encouraged.