Greens seek to expose data retention docs

The Australian Greens hope to use the upcoming Senate inquiry into internet privacy to make all the relevant documents relating to the government's controversial data retention proposal public, without any parts censored.

in brief The Australian Greens hope to use the upcoming Senate inquiry into internet privacy to make all the relevant documents relating to the government's controversial data retention proposal public, without any parts censored.

The government has been in discussions with internet service providers (ISPs) about whether it would be appropriate to introduce an Australian version of the European Directive on Data Retention, which requires ISPs to record information on phone calls and emails, including from whom they were sent, the time and date and so on.

Last week, The Sydney Morning Herald published documents on the data retention proposal obtained via a Freedom of Information request. The documents were censored, however, with approximately 90 per cent of the text blacked out. The Federal Attorney-General's Department official Claudia Hernandez wrote in an accompanying letter that the text had been blacked out in part because it could lead to "premature unnecessary debate".

Talking to ZDNet Australia at the launch of Google's Election 2010 portal in Sydney this morning, Greens communications spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam said that he will seek to have the censored documents, and all related documentation, released publicly and in uncensored form as part of the Senate inquiry into internet privacy laws. The Greens will also ask the bureaucrats within the department involved with the proposal to "put down the black textas" and speak before the Senate, he said.

Last week Ludlam slammed the censorship of the document as "extraordinary" and called on the government to have an open discussion about any policy proposal.

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