Data Retention Laws Will Pass Parliament, As Labor Gives In

The Labor Party has agreed to support the controversial data retention scheme currently before Parliament, and that means that the legislation that retains a huge amount of your metadata for a period of two years, whether you are suspected of any crime or not, will go ahead largely unquestioned.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the bipartisan support — with Labor's newly confirmed backing — will be announced at the tabling of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security report into the legislation, predicted to be put before Parliament today.

That report will show the Labor Party marching in lockstep with the Liberal Party on the topic of data retention, although the SMH report notes the broadly liberal Labor has called for some amendments throughout the review process. Despite those amendments, both parties are in agreement on the salient points of the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill 2014.

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The bill will see Australians' metadata retained for a period of two years, although the exact scope of the program is still shrouded in mystery. The Australian public still doesn't know, and likely won't know, exactly how much information on their landline, mobile phone and Internet browsing activities and habits will be caught by the scheme. Metadata is a broad term that includes information as basic as the date, time and duration of a telephone conversation but can be as granular as the exact GPS coordinates of a smartphone making a Web request. This is all information that is transmitted via data networks every day, but it is transitory; ISPs currently do not store data to anywhere near the extent likely required the by the bill.

The data retention legislation will come at a cost of multiple hundreds of millions of dollars. At this time, it is not clear exactly how the metadata will be stored, how secure the storage will be, or how much the scope of the scheme will creep over time. [SMH]



    I wonder if under this law politicians are included into the data retention program so if there is a case of bribery or corruption the info can also be dug up to put them in jail.
    However knowing the government these days I'm pretty sure they will make themselves exempt.

      That'll work until all the old out-of-touch luddites have shuffled off, but their replacements will know to conduct their shady dealings through a VPN.

      Ha! I see what you did there...

      You know that wont happen.

      If they are using their own personal connection rather than the governments VPN then yes.

      The governments VPN would have full URL retention I would think, and not just IP. And yes it is used for investigation into corruption, along with taxpayer provided car and phone and credit card records.

    In ten or so years we'll look back and say this is the exact point where Australia became a totalitarian state. Inwardly, of course, because if we post that on the internet they'll send us for re-education. :\

      Don't fool yourself. Everything you do on the internet, for the last 5-10 years has been recorded. Just because it can't be used in court doesn't mean it isn't recorded.

      This is an improvement. At least if Recommendation 10, 17, 23 and 25 are accepted, there will be some protection.

      23 and 25 especially. 23 prevents access to meta data to MPAA and Co. 25 means that unless illegally downloading a movie is added to the criminal code, no police organization will have a justifiable reason to check for illegal downloads.

      MPAA can continue to watch which IPs are illegally downloading but under the provisions of recommendation 23, they and the ISP, including whatever industry body they plan to use for the 3 strikes sham, will be able to request access to the data.

    feeling a sharp stabby pain in my back right now... oh Labor, what are you doing here?

      Bah, don't feel so betrayed, Labor tried to introduce a data retention scheme to Australia three (?) years ago, there is even a video of George Brandis criticizing it saying 'Australians will never accept a data retention scheme.' or words to that effect.
      The Libs aren't the only shitty party in Canberra, they are just the ones in charge.

      Last edited 28/02/15 9:03 pm

      Really? You are proof of how short a memory voters have.

      From 2012, while Labor was in government

      The Government’s interest in establishing a data retention scheme appears to date back to at least early 2010 when rumours that the Government was considering such a scheme were revealed in June of that year.

      Last edited 01/03/15 6:23 pm

        and there was a stab back then... and again when they briefly wanted an internet filter!

    Meh! been using a VPN for years now. Nothing will change for me.

      Yeah, you will just get flagged as suspicious for using a VPN.


      Why do we only see bipartisan support for things that will make our lives worse?

        They can flag me all they want, but they won't have anything to throw at me. I paid for the data band width, what I do with it is my business, and that includes data they can't access behind a VPN.

        Last edited 27/02/15 3:55 pm

        Supporting people after a natural disaster is making your life worse?

        A bipartisan message saying that ISIS is a bad thing is making your life worse?

    Can we get our own info with a FOI request? Would be interesting to see.

      It looks like your phone bill pretty much. With times and dates of your incoming and outgoing calls. Call duration etc. .. There are obviously no details of what those calls were about. I can tell you this data is absolutely vial in Homicide investigations, and there are scores of murderers sitting in jail because of it.

        No, sorry. They already have phone bills. This is much more insidious.

        Also including every website you visit can paint an incredibly detailed picture of someone's life. And it's being done to everyone. Talk about a dragnet.

        Even though this will be removed after 2 years (or so they say) I bet all the information they get from it will not be. They can crunch the data and make a social map of everyone in Australia and build and keep detailed psych profiles for every citizen with a list of interests, sexual orientation, religion etc. This stuff will not go after 2 years.

    jelly spined cowards!

      Yeah, you tell 'em Sheepy. I'm sure they find your input worth while.

    How much data will they capture? As much as they possibly can.
    How long will they hold onto it for? For 2 years but the a secret court can probably extend it indefinitely.
    What will they do with it? Watch us, watch all of us all the time.

    Dear Brandis and Abbott,

    On behalf of the Australian people, I would just like to say...

    Fuck you!

    Best regards.

      What about Bill Shorten????? Bill and Labor coulds stop it but they are not going to. if Abbott and Brandis deserve then Shorten and his Labor stooges surely deserve getting it in every orifice.

        Stop it? Labor proposed this back in 2010!!

        If they did block it, they would be announcing that they were opposing it for the purpose of opposing it, not for any ideological reason.

        Besides they wanted it first.

    I hope Gizmodo/Lifehacker plans to write an article on how to avoid this heinous breach of every Australian's privacy. Or are the brainless dolts in the Liberal party and spineless cowards in the Labor party planning to make avoiding the collection system illegal and punishable by fines or jail time? I honestly wouldn't be surprised if they did.

    When I read articles like this, all I think is..."deflect, deflect, deflect"!
    Though I don't agree with data retention, it certainly is a "first world" problem. The Australian political system has far tougher issues to worry about then something so trivial.

    Though I have nothing to hide, I do see this as a major breach of my privacy.

    Should they decide to proceed any further with this I will be sure to discuss this matter rather in-depth with my local member (and hope every one else does the same). It would be my understanding that these muppets in Canberra do not understand the full picture and only hear the 'terrorists', 'drug syndicate', 'save lives'... these individuals are the minority and should now overpower the rights of the majority!

    We are about to see how much bullshit politicians have spewed out about how they (and their operatives) won't abuse it. Yeah, right.

    So the new style of Law Enforcement investigation techniques is to suspect every citizen in an entire nation because of the potential for 100 criminals. Great job George Brandis QC, you've just rewritten 800 years of history. Who needs a Magna Carta when you can have unlimited access to information, eh?

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