A-G's Dept hides names of telcos in data retention probe

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Identities stay secret.

The Attorney-General's Department has reneged on revealing the identities of telcos that participated in early data retention consultations in 2009.

The department had left the door open to disclosing the identity of "commercial participants" at the consultation meetings during a Senate Estimates hearing on May 29.

Details of those consultations were first revealed under Freedom of Information earlier this year.

Greens Senator Scott Ludlam used the most recent Senate Estimates to seek more details of the consultations.

Assistant secretary of telecommunications and surveillance law branch of the Attorney-General's department — and the consultation lead — Catherine Smith had told the committee she had no problem with providing on notice the names of commercial participants of the meetings.

But in answers to questions on notice the Department said it would not disclose any names.

"While it was suggested that the Department may be able to provide the names of commercial participants, on reflection it is considered that identifying the private sector organisations that participated would jeopardise industry's willingness to participate in further consultative forums," it said. (pdf)

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