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Crikey Says

Aug 5, 2014

Crikey says: data retention a serious threat to us -- and to you

Any media outlet worth its salt will oppose the Coalition’s data retention plan -- and here's why you should, too. Have we found the reason that some Greens won’t protest against the Gaza bombing? Latham joins a long line of Labor rats in the press. Fresh heat for The Grauniad over hackgate affair. Transurban v the commuters: big business the real winners from road privatisation. Fairfax and News play union hardball. And strewth! Where the hell is James Jeffrey?

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The government’s data retention proposal is a serious threat to media freedom and must be vigorously opposed.

As Bernard Keane explains today, increasing the amount of metadata from our phones and computers that law enforcement and intelligence agencies can access increases the threat to whistleblowers and the journalists who rely on them. Increasing the amount of metadata stored and accessible to courts will also enable companies and well-resourced individuals to pursue targets of their litigation. And increasing the amount of metadata that a hacker or “inside threat” could reveal through a security breach also makes life more difficult for the media.

No media company that is serious about holding the powerful to account can fail to oppose data retention. Good journalists and their editors have plenty to hide from governments. If you claim to be a journalist and you don’t have something to hide, you’re not doing your job very well.

Perhaps some journalists and the companies they work for don’t see themselves as holding the powerful to account. Perhaps some see themselves as, in effect, an arm of the government, dedicated to protecting governments from media scrutiny and justifying the actions of governments. Such journalists, such companies, might view data retention differently.

Crikey doesn’t see its role that way. And, in data retention, we see a significant threat to media freedom and to the civil society that a free press upholds.

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5 comments

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5 thoughts on “Crikey says: data retention a serious threat to us — and to you

  1. klewso

    Playing politics, acting more like one-eyed conservative publicity agents and PR managers, peddling the benefits of conservative government, to gain the government they want, that benefits him/them, they’ve sold an electoral majority of us this “Abbott pakapoo pup” – let alone the self-serving kleptocratic way they hacked away into people’s personal lives to benefit their own in the UK (as far as is known) – why would they put our interests before his/theirs now?

  2. klewso

    … what would they be doing if it was Labor …?

  3. AR

    Don’t be mollified and comfortable by the neologism metadata, aka ‘circumstantial evidence’.
    As the ex head of the NSA said recently, “we kill people on the basis of metadata”. aka ‘circumstantial evidence’.
    The 2005-7 Customs whistleblower case was opened & closed by the Crown admitting that their entire case was based on the circumstantial evidence (two phone calls – without bothering to prove their origin or destination) and the jury of 12 peers agreed.
    When the only tool is a hammer, too much looks like a nail.

  4. CML

    So, let me get this straight. It should be okay for the ‘media’ to say what ever it wants without interference, but it is NOT okay for commentators on Crikey blogs to have a say?
    Double standards guys. Double standards!

  5. klewso

    [“Lost – somewhere in Media.
    “Mixed breed” dog. Answers to the name of “Budget”, sometimes.
    If found please return to Toady or Joe Shonkey – c/- “Shonkey Brothers Imaginarium” – after dark and around the back. Tell ’em Rupert sent ya.”]

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