Have your say on data retention
1:02 PM (1 hour ago)
Last year you signed a petition calling for the Federal Attorney-General George Brandis and the Government to drop its sweeping mandatory data retention scheme, which if passed, will put Australian citizens’ privacy at risk.
Now we have an opportunity to table our opposition to the Government’s data retention scheme in Parliament. The parliamentary committee, which is currently reviewing the legislation that will introduce the scheme, is calling for submissions.
Submissions must be made by 5pm (AEDT) next Monday 19 January. Will you take a few minutes to let the committee know why this invasive scheme needs to be dropped immediately?
Senator Brandis’ data retention scheme will require telecommunications companies and internet service providers (ISPs) to store information, or “metadata”, about every Australian citizens’ private phone calls and internet usage for at least two years.
Mr Brandis has argued that his scheme is harmless, because it won’t capture the “content” of phone calls and internet usage, just metadata – but the truth is metadata can reveal a far more detailed picture than Mr Brandis would care to admit. The proposed data retention scheme would keep a record of who Australians have called, how long they spoke for, the order of the calls, and where they were when they made the call – all of which can be used to say more about someone than a single phone call ever will.
Internet service providers will be required to store information that would disclose IP addresses, information that can be used to find out when, where and for how long someone accessed the Internet, and whether they accessed it on a computer, laptop or mobile.
As the former General Counsel of the US’ National Security Agency explained it, “metadata absolutely tells you everything about somebody’s life”.
So far the committee has received 14 submissions, the majority of them made by law enforcement and intelligence agencies (which, unsurprisingly, are in favour of the legislation). This is our chance to put public opposition to the legislation on the record.
Make a submission letting the committee know why the passage of this legislation would be so reckless. Your submission needn’t be long and should only take you a few minutes. There’s even a helpful how-to guide for making submissions, as well as some talking points to get you started. Click here to make your submission: https://www.getup.org.au/dataretention
There are so many arguments against this scheme that it’s hard to know where to start. The proposed data retention scheme would not only impede on Australian citizens’ personal privacy, but far more worryingly, it would threaten the very core of our democracy. If passed, the laws will give Federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies the ability to track down journalists and whistleblowers looking to expose corruption and misconduct within government agencies.
Just the thought of being tracked will be enough to sow seeds in the minds of journalists and would-be whistleblowers, causing them to self-censor themselves for fear of being prosecuted. This is an underhanded attempt to suppress information that could potentially embarrass government agencies.
Senator Brandis will be hoping to pass this one on the quiet, so let’s make some noise, shall we?
Alycia, Erin and the GetUp team
PS. We’ve joined forces on this campaign with our friends from Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA), who have been fighting for the digital rights of Australians for 20 years. They’ve put together a helpful how-to guide and talking points for preparing a submission here: https://www.getup.org.au/dataretention