Data retention reportedly stalled

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Contentious law on ice.

The Federal Government’s controversial data retention scheme has reportedly been stalled until after the next election.

Fairfax cited intelligence sources saying the government had no appetite for “anything that attracts controversy” and would push back consideration of the surveillance scheme.

The scheme, which would require telcos to collect and keep internet and telecommunications activity data for users for two years, was part of a proposal for wide-ranging reform of security and intelligence powers.

First brought up behind closed doors with telcos as early as two years ago, Attorney-General Nicola Roxon referred the issue to a parliamentary committee to consider in May.

A spokesperson for Roxon's office could not be contacted at time of writing.

However, Roxon had publicly expressed doubts about the data retention scheme and reportedly rejected the legislative package developed under former Attorney-General Robert McClelland.

Senior intelligence officials, including the head of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, have claimed the reforms were “urgently needed”.

Federal Police said they needed the increased surveillance powers to keep track of people's communications activities and to commence investigations in the first place.

Other powers sought included the ability to monitor communications using cloud services and social networks.

Under the proposed legislation, it would be an offence for companies not to decrypt the information.

Germany, which saw a similar proposal, has outlawed data retention regulations as an invasion of privacy.

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