Feb 6, 2015

Data retention will hurt YOU, not criminals. Here’s how

The government's data retention is far more likely to harm ordinary Australians than catch criminals or terrorists. Bernard Keane and senior IP and communications lawyer Leanne O'Donnell explain how.


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32 thoughts on “Data retention will hurt YOU, not criminals. Here’s how

  1. Luke Hellboy

    Big brother is watching. If only he wasn’t so facile, corrupt and egomaniacal. With family like that, who needs enemies?

  2. Graeski

    The last sentence says it all, doesn’t it?

    The powerful don’t want to be held to account.

  3. rachel612

    While we’re on the subject of examples: just imagine what Sir Joh Bjelke Petersen’s corrupt police chief might have done with Chris Masters phone metadata back in the day.

    Or what Roger Rogerson might have done with the metadata of his enemies or informants.

  4. David Hand

    This article is a bit shrill, isn’t it? Much of this information is kept by service providers now.

    My Telco has records of every phone call I’ve made in the last 10 years but I don’t see American cults or men with AVOs trawling through records like them.

    Clearly data retention is an important issue with risks of misuse but so is our need to monitor people planning crimes against us and there’s plenty of them.

    Having said all that, I am generally against data retention.

    Snowden has a lot to answer for. He is responsible for criminal gangs and terror organisations changing their operations and going dark.

  5. Scott

    Yeah, I don’t think the writers of this article have actually read the draft bill (or the greater TIA Act 1979, which it piggy backs on). Requires law enforcement agencies to have warrants people.

    Also half the scenarios would not occur in Australia as there are protections already under Australian law regarding access to personal data/metadata. Just because I’m an ex-husband challenging my access arrangements doesn’t mean I get to see Telco records. Just because I bribed a copper, doesn’t mean that copper can search the database. Just because I sue a politician doesn’t mean I get his records, especially if he has parliamentary privilege. Just because I’m a “copyright troll” lawyer doesn’t mean I can ask iinet for the metadata (as Roadshow films vs iinet showed)

    Pretty ordinary article all up. More about free riders worried about their “Game of Thrones” freebies being curtailed. Just buy the box set will you (or sign up to Foxtel)

  6. zut alors

    The above scenarios give pause for thought but yesterday’s article pointing out that ne’er-do-wells can simply use publicly accessible free wi-fi or go to a library to engage in dangerous/dubious communiques is the compelling argument in this debate against data retention.

  7. danger_monkey

    My Telco has records of every phone call I’ve made in the last 10 years but I don’t see American cults or men with AVOs trawling through records like them.

    And since I’m not hungry right now, I have solved world hunger.

  8. Scott


    Mate, read the FBI indictment against Ross Ulbricht. One of the major ways the Feds located him was through metadata records from Google and Comcast (as they were able to match the IP addresses hitting the Silk Road site to the various internet cafes/libraries he used and then cross referenced those with IP addresses used to access gmail/wordpress accounts that he controlled.
    Now the feds were lucky that Comcast and Google kept those records… they weren’t obliged to, but under a legislative Data Retention bill, they would have been compulsory.
    Data Retention isn’t the best at preventing crime, but it is useful in identifying and apprehending criminals. It’s worth having.

  9. Norman Hanscombe

    David Hand, OF COURSE it’s as you say a bit shrill. That’s what you do when preaching to the emotively converted.

  10. Chris Hartwell

    As usual, certain posters – the old hands, as it were – reveal once more the simplicity that governs their approach to even technical complexity.

    Evidence. Where is it that it is effective in preventing terrorist attacks? It certainly wasn’t in France. What about the evidence of it assisting police in clearing investigations? Alas, Germany doesn’t support this either.

    Evidence-based policy? Nope – anecdote-driven policy. They’ll learn when the as-yet-unquantified cost continues to increase, a surveillance tax that dwarfs any impact the carbon pricing scheme had.

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