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Crikey Says

Mar 19, 2015

Get a damn warrant

Data retention a done deal -- so what is a public interest advocate? SBS chair faces grilling on job credentials. Fortescue’s uncertain future after debt-raising fiasco. The story behind that bizarre full-age ad in the Oz. Keane: the case for electricity privatisation. How you’re giving away your data (for free) every day. Mayne: it’s time for Ten to end the soap opera. And why Obama never eats in public.

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Well, that’s journalists looked after.

Once they discovered, almost too late, that data retention posed a significant threat to one of the core aspects of journalism, Australia’s media have spent the last 10 days up in arms about mass surveillance, after, with one or two exceptions, ignoring the issue for the last three years.

Journalists will be protected from having their metadata examined in order to identify their sources by a special warrant involving a “public interest advocate”. But what about lawyers? Where’s their protection? What about doctors? For that matter, what about ordinary Australians? The media, apparently, isn’t interested in anyone else but itself.

The journalism information warrant is a good idea. So good, it should be extended, to everyone. If the government wants our data — anyone’s data — get a damn warrant.

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