Australia rethinks plans to collect internet and phone data

By on June 24, 2013, 6:00 PM
australia, privacy, surveillance, phone, metadata, prism

While public concern mounts over U.S. government surveillance via the PRISM program and phone call metadata collection, the Australian government has announced that it has paused to rethink efforts to force internet companies to retain two years of phone and email data, Reuters reports.

A report from a parliamentary inquiry into Australia’s telecommunications interception laws has called for adjustments to the proposed policy changes, suggesting that internet browsing data should be excluded from collection, and that greater oversight of government agency access is required.

Upon receipt of the report, Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus responded by postponing any changes pending further consultations, which will take place after the September 14 parliamentary election.

The inquiry’s report did not mention PRISM, as it was completed before the leak by NSA contractor Edward Snowden. It seems that Australia was coincidentally taking a pro internet privacy stance on data collection following criticism by privacy advocates in the country.

However unrelated to the recent NSA programs, the report did raise serious concerns over internet privacy in Australia, citing the large number of data requests made by Australian government agencies. Agencies reportedly made 293,501 requests for access to private data in 2011-12 without a warrant.




User Comments: 5

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St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

Well, that's a given. The current government is so unpopular that a cough in public will see them crumble apart. Such a controversial decision can't be made at this time.

noel24 said:

On a similar note, Skype just asked me to update it, and I am not sure if it removes NSA/CIA backdoor wiretap or just improves it capabilities?

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Skype just asked me to update it, and I am not sure if it removes NSA/CIA backdoor wiretap or just improves it capabilities?

Why would you think the update was related to NSA/CIA surveillance?

noel24 said:

@cliffordcooley: OK, a little joke. Maybe to subtle irony, just made me laugh after reading about PRISM whole week and now turning on skype only to find out that M$ is patching something, usually those being security connected.

PinothyJ said:

Skype just asked me to update it, and I am not sure if it removes NSA/CIA backdoor wiretap or just improves it capabilities?

Why would you think the update was related to NSA/CIA surveillance?

He has a point, Skype is notorious for its listening in on your messages.

[link]

Good thing all I do on Skype is get naked (it is now extra exciting now I know someone else is watching)...

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