Australia poised to introduce controversial data retention laws

Anonymous Coward
in legal on (#2TTE)
The Australian government has introduced data retention laws that are highly controversial. Under the new provisions, all internet data would be retained for two years, leading to additional expenses related to capturing and storing data that would cost Australian internet users $100 to $200 per year each. The data will be used for copyright enforcement and to track the exact location of mobile phone users.

The Australian Pirate Party is incensed, naturally, and states that this policy destroys any semblance of a free society.
“There are far too many flaws in this legislation to enumerate,” said Brendan Molloy, President of the Pirate Party. “There has been no discussion as to why the current retention order provisions are insufficient. This legislation is disproportionate and unnecessary. ‘Metadata’ is ill-defined in such a way as to contain so much information that it is effectively the content of the communication, insofar that it contains the context and location of all communications. This is a massive issue for journalists, whistleblowers, activists, and a whole host of other persons whose activities are in many cases legal but perhaps not in the interests of the state to let happen without some level of harassment.

“There are significant issues relating to cost and security of the data. Steve Dalby of iiNet said yesterday that iiNet would consider storing the data where it is the cheapest, which includes Chinese cloud providers. There will be a significant ‘surveillance tax’ introduced by retailers to cover the costs of storing this data that nobody wants stored.
The data retention laws have been delayed in the legal process, but not stopped. Pipedotter Tanuki64 points out "Sooner or later this bill will go through. It is just a matter of time. Same in Germany. A data retention law was rejected several times, but is reintroduced in almost regular intervals. The interests behind these laws are powerful and they have to succeed only once. Once such a law is enacted, it is almost impossible to repeal it again."

Misleading summary (Score: 1)

by on 2014-10-31 12:47 (#2TTJ)

Two things in the summary are misleading:
1. I want to know where $100 to $200 figure came from? It is not in the linked article and, as far as I know, no cost estimates have been released yet.
And it definitely sounds WAY TOO HIGH. Does it mean my Internet bill will go from $50 to $250???

2. "The data will be used for copyright enforcement and to track the exact location of mobile phone users."
This is VERY MISLEADING as it sounds that the main goal is copyright enforcement. The data retention is part of anti-terrorism legislation and it will be used for a variety of investigations (counterterrorism, organised crime, counter-espionage and cyber security). Yes, copyright enforcement also gets mentioned but I don't think it is not the main goal.

Having said that, I completely disagree with the proposed laws as they are more than open for abuse. Even "metadata" has not been defined yet.

And I agree with Tanuki64's comment how such laws are inevitable. The whole world is slowly turning into a police state. Unfortunately resistance is futile :-(
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