One of the recommendations to come down from the Parliamentary Joint Committee On Intelligence and Security during its review of the upcoming data retention laws was that the sources of journalists be better protected before the legislation be passed. Prime Minister Tony Abbott has reportedly backed down on that part of the Bill, amending it to provide those protections.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott conceded the amendment today, saying that “the Government does not believe this is necessary but is proposing to accept it to expedite the Bill,” according to The Age.
The Journalists’ Privilege law currently defines a journalist as “a person who is engaged and active in the publication of news and who may be given information by an informant in the expectation that the information may be published in a news medium”, however that may need to be reclassified in the Bill itself.
The concession comes on the eve of the Bill being re-entered into Parliament, and on the same day that the heads of almost every major ISP and telco in the country signed a letter calling for more clarity on the Bill.
The letter sees the telco industry leaders call for “the Government to provide to industry…a degree of certainty as to the size of the Government’s planned contribution…in advance of the Bill being debated and passed into law”.
Telstra’s David Thodey; Optus’ Paul O’Sullivan, Vodafone’s Inaki Berroeta, M2 Group’s Geoff Horth; iiNet’s David Buckingham’ Macquarie Telecom’s David Tudehope; Cloud Plus’ Jules Rumsey; Inabox’s Damian Kay; Verizon’s general counsel Mary Jane Salier; Next Telecom’s Mark Manion; Cinenet’s Tony Clark, Aulbury Local Internet’s Ross Wheeler; DuxTel’s Mike Everest’; Cirrus’ Eric Heyde; Pivotel’s Robert Sakker and TRUECOM’s Michael Diamond all signed the letter.
Look, I know what my degree says, but let’s all be honest with ourselves. The Feds probably won’t need a warrant for my metadata. Damn it. [The Age]