Mon. Jun 17th, 2024

Immigration minister admits he was wrong to claim drones are monitoring detainees

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun1,2024
Immigration Minister Andrew Giles has admitted he was wrong to claim that immigration detainees released from indefinite detention were .
Under pressure to by his departmental delegate to exempt convicted murderers from ankle bracelet monitoring, Giles made a surprise assertion last week that drones were being used in some cases.
On Friday, SBS World News first reported on information from a federal source, not authorised to comment publicly, that Border Force was not using drones for the surveillance of the group.
For days, Giles’ spokesperson maintained that “the Minister’s comments were correct”.

But Giles has now released a statement revealing he was wrong.

“Last week, in an interview on Sky News, I stated that Operation AEGIS was using drones. I relied on information provided by my Department at the time, which has since been clarified,” the statement said.
“As part of the work monitoring and supporting community safety, Operation AEGIS draws on information from a range of sources using different technologies including aerial open-source and other imagery through their work with state and territory law enforcement bodies.”
During the Sky interview, Giles said that law enforcement agencies had been funded as part of Operation AEGIS to keep track of the group released after
“That’s enabled things like using drones to keep track of these people we know where they are,” the minister told Sky News.
He was pressed to explain why more monitoring was not in place.

“There is so much being done for this cohort, spot checks, random house checks, as well as the use of drones as I just touched on.”

Federal Police also told Senate estimates on Friday they were not operating drones, and despite being one of the key agencies involved in Operation AEGIS, had not been present for any discussions about the use of drones.
Opposition foreign affairs spokesperson James Paterson has consistently questioned the claim that drones were being used.
Former AFP officer and intelligence expert John Coyne told SBS the use of drones would be “impractical and resource intensive” and would not be appropriate for continuous pervasive surveillance.

“Moreover, it raises a number of privacy concerns for Australians and Australian communities,” Coyne said.

“Law enforcement’s use of surveillance and surveillance technologies is highly regulated for obvious reasons.”
He further questioned whether stretched law enforcement would have the capacity to deal with the drone surveillance operation and in particular the constant monitoring involved, asserting the significant resources required for such operations “exposes the community to other risks”.
In Monday’s statement, Giles confirmed he has cancelled 30 visas of non-citizens with serious criminal histories, in the national interest.
“It is clear that the [Administrative Appeals Tribunal’s] decision to reinstate these visas did not meet community expectations, and Ministerial Direction 99 has not been working as the Government intended,” the statement said.

“The Government is on track to overhaul this regime and put in place a new Direction before the end of the week.”

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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