Government Passes Data Retention On A Diet

Thanks to new legislation passed through the Senate yesterday, law enforcement agencies can now snoop on your internet history via your ISP, but only in certain circumstances. How does it all work and should you be afraid of big brother?

It's called the Cybercrime Legislation Amendment Bill 2011, and it modifies four other pieces of legislation -- including the Telecommunications Act 1997 -- to allow law enforcement agencies to peek into your data, but there's a catch.

Agencies won't be able to access your data unless they ask your ISP to start tracking you. They can't do that unless you're a suspected troublemaker who may have been dealing in child pornography, fraud or some other nefarious activity.

The other piece of good news is that police can't access the data that the ISPs collect until they get a warrant, and data won't be collected until the request is made by law enforcement.

So, are you concerned?



    Welcome news indeed, the previous Retention Bill they were trying to push through was a complete joke

      They are still discussing this one too - public submissions (you know, the ones they ask for to give the appearance of democracy) ended on Monday this week.

    This does sound /somewhat/ reasonable. Is there a time limit on how long between the request to start tracking data and when a warrant needs to be issued before the data is destroyed? I'd be a little concerned if the police requested data to be kept on a suspect but then just let it accumulate for years before they have the warrant to access the data. Perhaps 12 months of data records before the initial request becomes void and the collected data is destroyed?

    I still say use a reliable VPN that doesn't collect data!
    This is OK so long as it doesn't get tweaked and bent slowly over time into something more insidious.

    That does seem like a reasonable peice of legisliation based on it is summarised in this article.

    If summarized correctly..
    The way it should be.

    Might be worth an update - again, if correct.

    "The new bill allows agencies to request communications be stored, either covering a single stipulated day or for a 30-day period, for later access if a warrant is granted. The same requests can be made in response to an international request made via the AFP (if it agrees that the request is required)."

    So it sounds like this is more targeted towards being able to track peoples data for the use of other crimes, eg child pornography, and not angled towards tracking your data too see if they have been pirating.

      Or if they WANT to get you for something bigger, like drug-dealing, but they can't make that case stick. An easy piracy case still puts you behind bars.

    That is a lot better, more akin to digital wiretapping, hopefully the evidence required to enact the data retention must be iron clad, with lots of provisions to prevent abuse.

    Of course the whole thing is mostly pointless as the hard core crims will be using VPNs which this wont do much if anything to help against.

    The warrant aspect makes the law a great deal more palatable, and we do indeed need new laws handling 'cyber crime'. The only termthat alarms me in the article is 'suspected troublemaker'. That's a very broad scope that I hope is a bit more limited in the wording of the legislation. If 'suspected troublemaker' is the only criteria, the warrant requirement becomes a mere inconvenience.

    This does worry me a little. Will users be notified when a warrant has been issued against them? Is this the first step down a long and heavily watched road? What is the govs. definition of a violation that warrants this kind of 'wiretapping'? It worries me how far they could take it.....

    The catch is "suspected troublemaker" sounds like anyone willing to stand against government authority. How much do we live online, how much is that information worth, and how easy is it to forge? The next Julian Assange will be snuffed out before any accusations can be made.

      Actually you make a very good point and it does lead down the road of the U.S.
      Where every U.S citizen is basically categorized as a 'Terrorist'.
      Therefor, this would be a blanket effect applied to all citizens if such provisions were enacted down the line by the Government.
      Scary thought... Thanks Casey!

    Of course this is the thin edge of the wedge. Law enforcement (and I guess the US movie industry) will press for "necessary" increases in scope which will, over time, be granted - but we'll all be happy because it will keep as safer. Like the Chinese say we are "burning a painting to get the ashes" :-(

    I'm more surprised that something like this didn't already exist.

    Simple solution is to use a usb-key with a pre-configured OS that utilizes the TOR Anonymous network.

    ^^ ^^ such as from

    I'm pretty sure this did already exist. I remember seeing documentaries on this sort of thing being done by the police years ago to track and capture kiddy porn collectors. While I'm happy for any legislation that makes it easier for the aurthorities to stop these messed up individuals, I do have a little concern this is just placing the frog in colde water and starting to slowly heat up the water.

    ......does collecting count as 'dealing'?

    I'm joking before anyone has a freakout.

    If it scares all the sick freaks from stalking on the web bring it on!

    It's started...

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