Senate committee slams AGs for hindering data retention inquiry

Powered by SC Magazine
 

Attorney General's Department leaves Senate committee 'flying blind'.

A Senate committee has recommended Australia's proposed data retention scheme only be considered if it only collected metadata, avoided capture of browser histories and contained rigorous privacy controls and oversight.

The committee was scathing of the Federal Government's lack of information into the scheme. It described efforts by the Attorney General's Department to assist with the report both "unsatisfactory" and "concerning".

A data retention scheme would require telecommunications providers to proactively store user data to boost law enforcement and intelligence efforts. The proposed scheme sparked outrage among privacy groups and online communities over the last four years.

Federal Attorney General Mark Dreyfus said the proposed scheme would not be pursued at present, a claim Greens Senator Scott Ludlam described as predictable.

"This has been set to rest and neutralised as an election issue which is precisely what (Communications) Minister Conroy did on an earlier form of the internet filter," Ludlam said.

"... post election this proposal will be back, I have absolutely no doubt about this."

Senator John Faulkner tabled the committee's report in parliament today. He said both it and wider public discussion were "significantly impaired" by the absence of detail into the plans by the Attorney General's office.

The committee recommended any decision to implement a data retention scheme be left to parliament.

Faulkner said it first should address privacy concerns.

"No such regime should be enacted, unless privacy and civil liberty concerns can be addressed and an exposure draft be given to committee."

Faulkner highlighted three of the committee's 43 recommendations contained in its report (pdf).

It recommended the Telecommunications Interception and Access Act be "comprehensively revised"  in lieu of any data retention scheme, to include an interception regime that with significant oversight that is technology-neutral.

Law enforcement and intelligence agencies would only be able intercept specific data sets when faced with the need to tap new technologies and combat "counter-security".

The scheme itself would collect only metadata and explicitly exclude the content of communications and internet browsing data.

The Australian public were understandably on edge about a data retention scheme following the PRISM leaks by former US defence contractor Edward Snowden, Faulkner said.

"We must ensure that none of our citizens are surprised if and when law enforcement and intelligence use their legislative powers."

Senator David Johnston said the terms of reference was "extraordinarily wide" and reiterated that the committee faced a lack of data from the Attorney General's Department.

"The lack of draft legislation and emergence of technology in terms of collection of data and analysis of data is virtually having a tiger by the tail. The lack of draft legislation or detail of potential reforms was very difficult for this committee to deal with."

He said former Attorney General Nicola Roxon and her department "did not provide a great deal of assistance" - meaning the committee was "flying blind" and was "guessing where the technology was going to lead".

Johnston said information from the Attorney General's department had to be drawn from witnesses representing the agency.

"I think that is unsatisfactory and of concern."

Copyright © SC Magazine, Australia


Senate committee slams AGs for hindering data retention inquiry
 
 
 
Top Stories
Frugality as a service: the Amazon story
Behind the scenes, Amazon Web Services is one lean machine.
 
Negotiating with the cloud email megavendors
[Blog post] Lessons from Woolworths’ mammoth migration.
 
Qld govt to move up to 149k staff onto Office 365
Australia's largest deployment, outside of the universities.
 
 
Sign up to receive iTnews email bulletins
   FOLLOW US...

Latest VideosSee all videos »

The great data centre opportunity on Australia's doorstep
The great data centre opportunity on Australia's doorstep
Scott Noteboom, CEO of LitBit speaking at The Australian Data Centre Strategy Summit 2014 in the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. http://bit.ly/1qpxVfV Scott Noteboom is a data centre engineer who led builds for Apple and Yahoo in the earliest days of the cloud, and who now eyes Asia as the next big opportunity. Read more: http://www.itnews.com.au/News/372482,how-do-we-serve-three-billion-new-internet-users.aspx#ixzz2yNLmMG5C
Interview: Karl Maftoum, CIO, ACMA
Interview: Karl Maftoum, CIO, ACMA
To COTS or not to COTS? iTnews asks Karl Maftoum, CIO of the ACMA, at the CIO Strategy Summit.
Susan Sly: What is the Role of the CIO?
Susan Sly: What is the Role of the CIO?
AEMO chief information officer Susan Sly calls for more collaboration among Australia's technology leaders at the CIO Strategy Summit.
Meet the 2014 Finance CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Finance CIO of the Year
Credit Union Australia's David Gee awarded Finance CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards.
Meet the 2014 Retail CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Retail CIO of the Year
Damon Rees named Retail CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at Woolworths.
Robyn Elliott named the 2014 Utilities CIO of the Year
Robyn Elliott named the 2014 Utilities CIO of the Year
Acting Foxtel CIO David Marks accepts an iTnews Benchmark Award on behalf of Robyn Elliott.
Meet the 2014 Industrial CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Industrial CIO of the Year
Sanjay Mehta named Industrial CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at ConocoPhillips.
Meet the 2014 Healthcare CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Healthcare CIO of the Year
Greg Wells named Healthcare CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at NSW Health.
Meet the 2014 Education CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Education CIO of the Year
William Confalonieri named Healthcare CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at Deakin University.
Meet the 2014 Government CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Government CIO of the Year
David Johnson named Government CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at the Queensland Police Service.
Q and A: Coalition Broadband Policy
Q and A: Coalition Broadband Policy
Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott discuss the Coalition's broadband policy with the press.
AFP scalps hacker 'leader' inside Australia's IT ranks.
AFP scalps hacker 'leader' inside Australia's IT ranks.
The Australian Federal Police have arrested a Sydney-based IT security professional for hacking a government website.
NBN Petition Delivered To Turnbull's Office
NBN Petition Delivered To Turnbull's Office
UTS CIO: IT teams of the future
UTS CIO: IT teams of the future
UTS CIO Chrissy Burns talks data.
New UTS Building: the IT within
New UTS Building: the IT within
The IT behind tomorrow's universities.
iTnews' NBN Panel
iTnews' NBN Panel
Is your enterprise NBN-ready?
Introducing iTnews Labs
Introducing iTnews Labs
See a timelapse of the iTnews labs being unboxed, set up and switched on! iTnews will produce independent testing of the latest enterprise software to hit the market after installing a purpose-built test lab in Sydney. Watch the installation of two DL380p servers, two HP StoreVirtual 4330 storage arrays and two HP ProCurve 2920 switches.
The True Cost of BYOD
The True Cost of BYOD
iTnews' Brett Winterford gives attendees of the first 'Touch Tomorrow' event in Brisbane a brief look at his research into enterprise mobility. What are the use cases and how can they be quantified? What price should you expect to pay for securing mobile access to corporate applications? What's coming around the corner?
Ghost clouds
Ghost clouds
ACMA chair Chris Chapman says there is uncertainty over whether certain classes of cloud service providers are caught by regulations.
Was the Snowden leak inevitable?
Was the Snowden leak inevitable?
Privacy experts David Vaile (UNSW Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre) and Craig Scroggie (CEO, NextDC) claim they were not surprised by the Snowden leaks about the NSA's PRISM program.
Latest Comments
Polls
Which bank is most likely to suffer an RBS-style meltdown?





   |   View results
ANZ
  21%
 
Bankwest
  9%
 
CommBank
  11%
 
National Australia Bank
  17%
 
Suncorp
  24%
 
Westpac
  19%
TOTAL VOTES: 1501

Vote