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Inside Australia's Data Retention Proposal 154

Posted by timothy
from the if-you-have-nussink-to-hide dept.
bennyboy64 writes "New details have emerged on Australia's attempt at getting a data retention regime into place, with meeting notes taken by industry sources showing exactly what has been proposed. In a nutshell, the Australian government wants Internet service providers to keep anything and everything they have the ability to log and retain for two years 'at this stage.'"
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Inside Australia's Data Retention Proposal

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  • by aojensen (1503269) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @05:09PM (#32596034)
    ... I have to say that this is nothing but seriously scary.
    • Skimming hurriedly through the page, I thought for a moment that your comment was in reply to the one above it...
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Perhaps I'm mistaken, but it seems to me that this sort of policy would require ISPs to retain all sorts of illegal content - everything from illegally downloaded torrents to child porn.

      Since the ISPs are acting under orders from the government, doesn't that make the government an accessory to these crimes of possession?

      • I believe that you are mistaken. The government wants the ISPs to log source and destination IP addresses of communications, but not the content contained in the communication. It's exactly the same as keeping telephone records; which has been done for many decades. The police will be able to subpoena records of who you talked to, but not what was said.

    • I don't know too many Australians, so this is anecdotal, but they don't seem to be very active politically. As the old Kiwi joke goes, it takes 21 Australians to change a lightbulb, one to hold the bulb and twenty to drink beer until the room starts spinning.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        I don't know too many Australians, so this is anecdotal, but they don't seem to be very active politically. As the old Kiwi joke goes, it takes 21 Australians to change a lightbulb, one to hold the bulb and twenty to drink beer until the room starts spinning.

        Depends on who you ask. There are a vocal number of people who are reasonably savvy. There is also the general population who are slowly becoming aware of the situation and the politics. Previously there was some support for the filter on the basis that it's stated goal had an inarguable 'protect the children' motif. Gradually the holes are starting to show and this growing awareness is turning the tide.

        However, the current government has been thwarted far too often (often by it's own inaction rather than t

    • by Swampash (1131503)

      I'm an immigrant to Australia. Naturalised citizen, Aussie passport, the works.

      Seriously considering leaving the country.

  • by Joce640k (829181) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @05:10PM (#32596050) Homepage

    (Hopefully 'voted out of office'...)

    • You seriously think the other side of politics isn't going to pick this up and run with it?

    • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @05:59PM (#32596566) Journal

      The new masters will be the same as the old masters (we know - the new guys still renewed the Patriot Act). A wiser course would be a lawsuit saying the central government was never given the power to store private citizens' records, therefore the law violates the Australian constitution.

      • by anarche (1525323)

        You have got to be American.

        Our constitution does nothing except stop the Federal Government from stealing all the States' powers.

        And its starting to fail at that.

    • by Eskarel (565631) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @08:45PM (#32597790)

      Well, unfortunately it's not that simple.

      Here in Oz we have a choice between the current party who have a particular bent towards nanny stating but otherwise aren't too bad, the Liberal party who are no longer liberal and seem to support the idea of moving back to the 1950's, xenophobia, conservative religious values, privatizing things even the US hasn't privatized, and bending over backwards for big business(and is also a direct continuation of the bugger we voted out last time), and the Greens, who are one of those parties who have a lot of really good ideas, but who are also raving lunatics.

      So we have the choice of giving up our freedom, giving up our freedom, or giving up everything else in exchange for our freedom. It's not a whole lot different than the upcoming US election except that our lunatic fringe party is on the left whereas your lunatic fringe party is on the right.

      • by swb (14022)

        Aren't the Greens as nanny state as they come? That was always my impression.

        • by kzieli (1355557)
          I went through their policies recently and really couldn't find anything I actually object to. Dropping the voting age to 16 seems to be about their most controversial policy position. And on balance I agree with it. Also talking about going back in time. The Greens want to cancel Hecs (higher Educations Contribution Scheme) Debts and make Universities Free again.
      • by bguiz (1627491)

        Here in Oz we have a choice between the current party who have a particular bent towards nanny stating but otherwise aren't too bad, the Liberal party who are no longer liberal and seem to support the idea of moving back to the 1950's

        Mod parent up - (s)he's hit the nail on the head..

        With elections looming around the corner, I feel more more like my vote is going to be cast as a choice made between the lesser of two evils, rather than someone I would actually want in power.

        Dismal choice to have to make, I tell ya.

        • by xQx (5744)
          Dear parent and grandparent and the rest of Australian voters:

          There are more than two boxes on your ballot paper. This is not just to confuse voters, these are actual, real, options.

          Learn how to vote below the line on that big white sheet.
      • Thing is, the greens are not going to get into power. However if you vote for them they'll have legislation-blocking power in the senate for The Filter and Big Brother. So even if you disagree with their other policies, it's still best to vote for them, since they can't pass any of their own legislation without one of the major parties on side.
      • by mjwx (966435)

        and the Greens, who are one of those parties who have a lot of really good ideas, but who are also raving lunatics.

        In an extreme twist of irony, they are currently the least insane party at the moment. The best we can hope for is another deadlock, with neither party receiving a majority and the leading party depending on the minor parties and independents.

        BTW, both parties have left and right fringes, all four fringes are equally bat shit insane. Australian political parties are not drawn on left/right

        • by Eskarel (565631)

          I too am hoping for a deadlock, but I'm hoping for a better deadlock than the current one.

          The current situation has the government in a rather impossible position. Rudd has to keep Fielding and Xenophon happy as well as the Greens in order to actually get anything passed(unless the libs are willing to vote for it as well).

          While there is some policy crossover with those groups, it's not entirely vast, and I'm still holding out hope that all this internet filter crap is just an attempt to keep Fielding and Xe

          • by mjwx (966435)

            I'm still holding out hope that all this internet filter crap is just an attempt to keep Fielding and Xenophon on side

            Feilding has all but thrown his hat in with Abbott, Xenophon was only onside when the bill included blocking online gambling which was dropped as soon as Rudd got elected (Xenophon is from the No Pokies party). But as long as the Rudd government does not get a clear majority they will rely on the greens who are dead against the filter (with the Greens on side, the Labor party ATM can does

            • by Eskarel (565631)

              Maybe the seats have changed, but last I checked they needed all 8 greens plus two others to get something accomplished in the senate, which is why the whole ETS thing fell apart(there was no scheme which would pull the Greens onside and two others).

        • by countach (534280)

          You know, I'd LOVE it if there were a party whose political platform was to block ALL legislation.

          Legislation: No good ever comes of it.

    • by jonwil (467024)

      Unfortunatly, the other guy is WORSE.

    • by riprjak (158717)

      The conundrum:

      Current government is incredibly totalitarian in its data retention and censorship policies, but is funding the rollout of a national fibre broadband network... making the task of achieving their former policies definately non trivial and probably impossible...

      Other side is lead by a foaming at the mouth christian but we dont quite know where they sit on censorship and data retention (although we can perhaps add one and one there...), but they will cancel the funding of the national broadban

  • Sup? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by markdavis (642305) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @05:11PM (#32596056)

    Well the hell is going on in Australia lately??? Seems like every few days it is yet another article about YMBB (Yet More Big Brother). Does the populous want this stuff or did a new political machine take over or something?

    • Re:Sup? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @05:17PM (#32596152)

      what's going on is that it's popular to make a big deal of every vague intention by the Australian government, without reference to the fact that none of it is law yet. (And in the case of the infamous filter, never will be).

      What is also usually missing from at least the summaries of these articles is that most of these things are based on already implemented existing laws in either Europe, the UK, Canada or the USA

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by causality (777677)

        what's going on is that it's popular to make a big deal of every vague intention by the Australian government, without reference to the fact that none of it is law yet. (And in the case of the infamous filter, never will be).

        What is also usually missing from at least the summaries of these articles is that most of these things are based on already implemented existing laws in either Europe, the UK, Canada or the USA

        All laws started out as intentions, so this is significant. If the people of Australia don't want these measures, it's a problem that their representatives in government would like to implement them. It's also a problem because of the precedent it either sets or follows; either way legitimizes the idea.

        Personally, here is what I want: if the cops have a good reason to believe someone has committed a crime, let them get a warrant. With that warrant they can search only that particular suspect or partic

      • by bug1 (96678)

        The government promised it prior to the last election, and Conroy (the minister responsible) has been pushing it his entire term. There have been public trials on the technology and many interviews and public debates on the filter.

        The impression i get is that Conroy doesnt value the views of the majority of the population and is determined to implement it, no matter the cost.

        The filter has even been criticized by the US which have a very poor history on Internet freedom themselves, e.g. roaming wiretaps (th

      • that doesn't make it suck any less.

        This clown Conroy's views are not representative of the general public (I didn't vote for him </python>)

      • Quite true. Two years retention is longer than most I think, but IP logs are retained in most places. It's not really any different from telephone companies keeping records of calls placed. The filter is, in fact, bat-shit crazy, but isn't law (yet).

        Canada, the US and Europe have retention laws. Canada is about to put into law a requirement for ISPs to have intercept-capable equipment, essentially putting internet communications on similar legal grounds as telephone communications. The FBI and NSA do whatev

      • by Sique (173459)

        What is also usually missing from at least the summaries of these articles is that most of these things are based on already implemented existing laws in either Europe, the UK, Canada or the USA

        ... which are currently on hold at least in Germany because of constitutional issues. The Federal Constitutional Court in Germany has ordered all data currently retained at the ISPs to be erased.

      • by anarche (1525323)

        Best AC post in the history of the Internet.

        Filtering in 3..2..1..

    • by Dan541 (1032000)

      No one wants any of it. Only the people in power want it.

    • by Barrinmw (1791848)
      Isn't Australia one of the few democracies that are more right then the US?
      • by H0D_G (894033)

        Definitely not. For example, medicare and governemnt funded health systems have strong bipartisan support. The shape that that takes is disagreed on, sure, but even a relative hardliner like the leader of the opposition would never dream of killing it.

        Witness just yesterday, when an attempt to re-frame a debate to make it about abortion by a strongly conservative senator was harshly criticised by the right and the left.

        The US is MUCH more conservative.

    • Re:Sup? (Score:5, Informative)

      by schwaang (667808) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @07:29PM (#32597298)

      I remember backpacking around Europe 20-ish years ago. You run into many Aussies on walkabout, and some of them complained to me that this one guy was pushing their politics far to the right. By controlling the newspapers he had every politician running scared. The guy? Rupert Murdoch. [newstatesman.com]

      Murdoch's grip on the Australian press is extraordinary. Of all the daily newspapers published in the capital cities, where most Australians live, two out of every three copies sold are Murdoch's. Three out of every four Sundays are Murdoch's. In Adelaide, he owns everything, including the printing presses.

      At the time I remember thinking "Well, good luck with that!"

      Fox News and the George W. Bush presidency later, I'm no longer surprised by Australia's bent towards authoritarianism.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jmello (856993)
      From what I understand, the parties in Australia are so evenly split that in order to win votes, they have to appeal to the christian right, and is doing so with a "somebody think of the children" approach.
      • well, it's like that anywhere with a two party-ish system, but the added twist down here is that voting is compulsory, so by and large elections are decided by "swinging" voters who sit in marginal seats (i.e. where margins of victory are 5%). The majority of those seats are in suburban belts around the major cities, and as such there's a strong incentive to appeal to the "won't somebody think of the kids" demographic.

        The last 15 years the marginal electorates have had money thrown at them hand over fist,

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rtb61 (674572)

      Could be thin edge of the wedge global politics. With the Australia government being put under pressure by the US and Europe to try to squeeze in these laws, so that they can be used as an example by others to introduce them elsewhere.

      Silly stuff recording emails sent and received, so what happens if you run your own email server (something that will eventually become the norm), by law you will be required to monitor your own activities and dob yourself in. Broadband always on connections, so you logged

    • by Hadlock (143607)

      Apparently there's a legal situation where they (a political party) needs X number of seats of congress to choose their PM. Their "Florida" is obsessed with cyber security apparently.

  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @05:24PM (#32596250)
    Seriously, the more that world governments try to push these proposals, the more demand there will be for robust anonymity online. Whatever data they collect will eventually be used against the citizens, and when citizens start seeing their friends in legal trouble, they will start looking into ways of preventing the same from happening to them. It will become a cat and mouse game, and if the game is allowed to continue long enough, we may see things turn violent (e.g. what happens in countries like China).
    • This is true. The thing most people don't realise is that there are so many laws these days that everyone is a criminal, it is just too man power intensive to track it all. As more and more automation of "crime" detection happens more and more average joes will end up in court and jail.

    • The cat and mouse game is not much fun if you are the mouse. The mice that don't stay hidden and "off the grid" are always caught; and then all they can do is lie there and hope the cat finds something better to do or kills them quickly.
  • I'm betting Seagate dropped some serious $AU to get this passed.

  • Keep sending an email from yourself to yourself every day, it doesn't have to have anything in the message, but it will waste the capacity of the ISP's logging hard drives having to log all the details of the email like time sent, from and to etc. etc.. The faster their drives fill up with garbage the faster they will burn through their profits, and maybe pull their fingers out of their backsides and protest against stupid laws.

    • by Dynedain (141758)

      The faster their drives fill up with garbage the faster they will burn through their profits, and maybe pull their fingers out of their backsides and protest against stupid laws.

      Hahaha... yeah right. Instead what will happen is your ISP bill will go up as they start adding mandatory "Regulatory Compliance Fees" to cover the additional costs. In the US we have "911 Connectivity Fee" and the "Number Portability Fee" that are implemented by the mobile providers to cover their costs and jack up profits. These f

      • Thankfully we have a halfway-competent consumer rights commission in the ACCC and as a result regulatory requirements such as mobile number portability, emergency services and even mobile network unlocking are mandated to be free. I'd suspect any such charges would have to be hidden in a total package price or (more likely) would be tax-deductible for the ISPs.

        • So taxes go up. Either people who use more data pay more, or everyone pays more and schools and hospitals keep missing out.

          The crap thing about these ideas the government is playing with is that in the end have to pay for them. I don't mind my ISP hanging on to my data usage history for ever, as long as the Attorney General pays for the capture and storage out of his own pocket. No taxes, no requirements for ISPs to pay for it.

          • Unfortunately that's never going to be how it works - the attorney general is acting on the behalf of the government of Australia, and the government is in turn acting on our (collective) behalf, irrespective of how much we dislike the policy personally.

            So we'll end up paying through taxes, yes, but I'd rather that than a bullshit per-user charge that doesn't reflect the true cost, or even a variable charge depending on how much you actually "use" the net, which would be a major baulking point for people.

          • by Dynedain (141758)

            Actually, these aren't taxes. They're implementation costs to the mobile carrier who then passes it on customer with a big fat up-charge to rake in extra profit.

        • by Dynedain (141758)

          Actually, in the US, number portability is required to be free as well. That is, there is no charge for moving your number to another carrier.

          What happens here is that new regulation forces extra costs on the carriers (harware, network upgrades, staffing, etc). Then, instead of just absorbing it as part of their normal operating costs, they pass it on to the customer (with a hefty profit margin) as an additional fee tacked onto the monthly bill. This way, they can sleazily continue to advertise their low Lo

  • Broken by design. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by samson13 (1311981)

    As seems typical with this government they don't think through the consequences of their laws (or proposed laws). A good law should:
    1) Feel guilty if I break. (not applicable in this case cause it is a proscriptive law)
    2) Solve a problem.. In this case it will just lead to more off shore services, encryption and obfuscation in existing communications. This will just lift the bar so that a warranted tap will no longer be likely to provide anything useful.
    3) Hurt the bad guys more than the good guys. This jus

    • by sasha328 (203458)

      s seems typical with this government they don't think through the consequences of their laws (or proposed laws). A good law should:
      1) Feel guilty if I break. (not applicable in this case cause it is a proscriptive law)

      It's a good point, but not universal. I don't always feel guilty when break the speeding law!

      2) Solve a problem.. In this case it will just lead to more off shore services, encryption and obfuscation in existing communications. This will just lift the bar so that a warranted tap will no longer be likely to provide anything useful.

      Not all laws are for problem solving, there are regulations, preventions and assigning rights and obligations. I'm not sure where this one would fall though.

      3) Hurt the bad guys more than the good guys. This just lifts the cost for everybody and depending on what the ISPs need to do to collect this data then it may effect performance.

      Laws are not about "hurting" anyone, or shouldn't be anyway. They are or should spell out consequences of actions.

      4) Be technically possible.

      This is a quite technically possible solution: Recording source and destination requests into a massive database. Now, wether this is useful info or

  • So in summary Australians may have some free speech as long as it is saved and logged in such a way that the Australian government can study it in detail and decide if punishment is in order for speaking freely. Excuse me, my girlfriend is a little bit pregnant.

  • Seriously, I really want to know who this privacy commissioner is who is all alarmed about Google accidentally capturing a few packets of data in a one time drive by operation and then deleting them, but who is perfectly ok with logging every single email recipient and every web site accessed. How can this person even functionally operate in the world when they are so schizophrenic?

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      Its legal for the gov of the day to do this, as in they can pass laws ect.
      They also passed laws to protect data in transit and on any network from third parties.
      Google knew of the privacy laws, data collection, storage laws ect in some parts of the world.
      Just as the NSA, FBI can operate on a US telco, so our privacy commissioner understands the Australian gov of the day can.
      Interception is legal for anyone with the govs ok, not any .com with a car and wifi collecting around the world.
      • So what you're saying is that whether my privacy is violated depends on who is doing it? Person A knowing my private life is OK but Person B is not - and whether I feel violated should be based on the government's blessing?

        This is not compatible with my definition of privacy.

    • by Eskarel (565631)

      His name is Stephen Conroy, and he's not a privacy commissioner, he's the IT minister(for lack of a better phrase). Whether he is individually a loon, or whether he's the front man for Rudd's lunatic policies, or whether the government is just making him froth about lunatic policies to please the few right wing loons in the senate they need to get anything done I really don't know.

      That said he's still better than the guy we had a while back who said Australia didn't need faster internet because all it would

      • by deniable (76198)
        Actually, her name is Karen Curtis, the Federal Privacy Commissioner. She's investigating Google for the Street View Snooping. See here [securecomputing.net.au] for example.
        • by Eskarel (565631)

          True, but Fielding is the wanker who calls out google and then asks to do the same, the privacy commissioner isn't involved in the retention stuff(at least at present).

          • The source said the privacy commissioner had already "given the tick" to the proposal.

            and (quote from the actual privacy commissioner):

            My office would also expect that any proposed legislation would have the appropriate privacy safeguards built-in.

            In other words - the privacy commissioner has already given it the go ahead in advance on the basis that the government are really nice and surely won't do anything mean....

  • It makes me wonder whether the ministers concerned are large share holders of Hitachi and Seagate maybe?

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