#29leaks formations house
(Image: Getty)

A review of the mass surveillance scheme established by the Abbott government six years ago has revealed how it is being widely abused in ways voters were assured would never happen.

The government's data retention regime, which compels communications providers to retain personal information on service use by customers for two years, is currently the subject of a statutory review by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security.

When the Abbott government introduced the scheme in 2014, it assured Australians that the unprecedented level of surveillance of their communications metadata -- which can be used to construct a detailed portrait of an individual's life beyond that provided by any content they may use -- would be subject to strict controls.