I am a software developer working remotely for The Tor Project, a non-profit based in the US. We develop software so that people can use the internet without restrictions or monitoring. In a typical day I spend my time writing, designing and testing software, as well as planning and project management.
I have a lot of concerns for the future of the technology sector in Australia. Recent governments just don’t understand technology. Even when the tech sector and experts oppose a government initiative, the Parliament and government agencies will continue to pursue it. This happened recently with the Assistance and Access Bill, but it also happened under previous governments with metadata retention and site blocking. The government continues to pass laws that are bad for tech innovation, bad for tech workers, and bad for the wider use of technology. And it keeps happening, because there are powerful people, companies and agencies that demand these changes.
Have I thought about leaving the industry? I considered my options after the Assistance and Access Bill passed. My job prospects massively went down at the end of last year. Now I need to convince future employers that it’s worth employing an Australian who is subject to the AAbill, as well as selling my experience and abilities. I know of employers who won’t take on Australians. It’s not simple anymore. Suddenly every Australian employee will be evaluated on the basis of this risk.
I really like what I do, and I like working in the tech industry. But I would love to have this weight off my mind. I don’t want to weigh the risk of the government spying on me, or asking someone else to break into my devices. And I don’t want to be forced to break into other people’s devices.
People deserve secure, private conversations. It’s a basic human right. And I want my government to respect and strengthen that right.