Sep 13, 2013

AGD does it again: more changes to its data retention story

The Attorney-General's Department has yet again changed its story on how it developed a proposal to store Australians' internet and telecommunications data.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor


In a remarkable development, the Attorney-General’s Department has again sought to correct evidence it gave to Senate Estimates several months ago in relation to its handling of the data retention issue.


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4 thoughts on “AGD does it again: more changes to its data retention story

  1. Edward James

    So much of what Australians do on the WWW is outside the legal boundaries of Australia. To me that means what the AGD has oversight / control of is somewhat limited. Many of us are only just now understanding what domains we have “given away” when adopting cloud and free internet services. if you are using a US server to run a web site and store photos and files. I doubt our Australian AGD has any control or say so over what happens to the information in those places outside Australia. to put it another way i doubt the AGD knows what they are doing. But we pay them like they do! Edward James

  2. ggm

    you’d think so @Edward James but you’d be wrong. Firstly, if you do it ‘from’ here physically then you use a common carrier to get there, your ISP. And you use federal telecommunications-law applicable infrastructure to get there, so you’ve commited a range of offences under the act. The offshore nature won’t protect you from the acts you perform interacting with it, from onshore.

    Secondly as you probably realize, Australia can and does pass laws which make acts committed overseas an offense. Kiddy Fiddling for instance. So you can be hanged twice depending.

    Given what we learn about ‘five eyes’ and ‘TPP’ (look em up on google if not familiar) I think assumptions about what AGD can and can’t do, and will and wont say about what they can and cant do, is starting to get into Rumsfelds unknown unknowns.

  3. bluepoppy

    Despite all of the recent talk about APS Codes of Conduct and Values for ordinary public servants, this sort of behaviour makes a mockery of the oversight role of Senate Estimates. It is more of the same from AGD. They have form. If the chats with industry were so informal why the obfuscation and wishy washy flummery during Estimates?

    (Although itwould not be altogether surprising if Wilkins did not know everything that happened underneath his purvey, many departmental secretaries are told what they want to hear).

  4. J.Mann

    First this:

    “Now we know that these “informal consultations” which were pitched to the committee as something of a frolic by junior officers in fact had the imprimatur of the minister (we assume the clarification relates to ministerial approval, by then-attorney-general Robert McClelland, but it may have been cabinet).”

    And then this:

    “It is, however, presumably a mere coincidence that AGD didn’t reveal the then-government’s authorisation of data retention discussions back in May, but now that that government is history, discovers the need to reveal it.”

    Move along folks, there is too much to see here, move along, move along now.

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