Data retention should last one year: AG

Data retention should last one year: AG

Summary: Bilateral talks with the United States to unify data retention legislation could lead to Australia keeping logs of its citizens' online lives for a year.

SHARE:

Bilateral talks with the United States to unify data retention legislation could lead to Australia keeping logs of its citizens' online lives for a year.

McClelland

Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland (Credit: Darren Pauli/ZDNet Australia)

The talks, set for July this year, will lay the foundations to unify current data retention plans between the US, Europe and Australia.

Governments have proposed that internet providers retain information on customers including websites visited, online searches and key data required to tie verified account identities to IP addresses. The ideas are being pushed as a means to assist law enforcement within and across national borders.

Some European nations insist the log files should be kept for as long as five years, an idea being reviewed under public consultations as part of Australia's move to accede to the controversial European Convention on Cybercrime.

However, both the US and Australia consider five years to be excessive, according to Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland.

"It would not be viable in Australia," McClelland told ZDNet Australia. "We don't believe that and the US does not believe that."

"We don't believe we need to do that to comply with our convention obligations."

The talks will likely see the Federal Government adopt a US proposal to temper the duration that web logs are kept and the scope of data retained, as well as limit the number of agencies that can access the logs.

McClelland said governments have a "strong obligation" to balance the scope of data retention — including when data should be destroyed and who can access it and for what purpose — with the needs to assist law enforcement to crackdown on online criminal activity.

The data retention proposal has irked internet providers across Australia, the US and Europe, which argue that retaining the logs will be expensive.

Many providers not required to retain logs already do so as a subset of customer billing processes, although the scope of data and the duration it is kept appears far less than that slated under the retention plans.

McClelland said the public discussions with the European Cybercrime Convention will address "what standards are accepted by the community, what ISPs are comfortable with and what is genuinely required by law enforcement".

Australian Federal Police assistant commissioner and national manager of high tech crime operations, Neil Gaughan, had previously said that data retention will be an important police capability.

"We can obtain intercepts ... on pretty much everything. We don't want to see what people are watching on TV, we want to see what people are looking at on the internet."

Topics: Government, Government AU, Privacy, Security

Darren Pauli

About Darren Pauli

Darren Pauli has been writing about technology for almost five years, he covers a gamut of news with a special focus on security, keeping readers informed about the world of cyber criminals and the safety measures needed to thwart them.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

20 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • "We can obtain intercepts ... on pretty much everything. We don't want to see what people are watching on TV, we want to see what people are looking at on the internet."

    But Conroy said the Internet was not a magical place and is no different to television, movies etc. So maybe you should look at finding out what people are watching on TV too if you want to be consistent here.

    I'm so sick of these disgusting control freaks. You may WANT to see what people are looking at on the internet but you have no RIGHT to. Do your job with the tools you have dont invent stupid laws just because you are too lazy and incompetent, if you cant you should be fired. Simple as that Neil.
    Hubert Cumberdale
  • Australian Federal Police assistant commissioner and national manager of high tech crime operations, Neil Gaughan said "We can obtain intercepts ... on pretty much everything ... we want to see what people are looking at on the internet."

    When the government openly admits to wanting to spy on it's citizens then you know it is corrupt.

    As an Australian citizen, what I do on the internet is my business. It's not the business of the Australian government. Nor is it the business of the Australian government to collect and hand that data over to any foreign nation that asks. Nor should my taxes be used to fund these Big Brother schemes.

    I don't live in the US or Europe, so why should they have ANY access to my personal data?

    This sounds more like US inspired scheme to bully other nations into collecting data, which can then be used to prosecute non-resident, non-citizens, for perceived crimes in the US.

    Neither US or Europe has jurisdiction in Australia, so what I do in Australia is NONE of their business. Recognise that and f... off.

    As for Federal Attorney of Witch Hunts, if you need to permanently spy on citizens to find 'criminal' activities then you need to get better at your job.
    Scott W-ef9ad
    • GetUp.
      http://suggest.getup.org.au/forums/60819-campaign-ideas/suggestions/1504483-reject-the-govt-snooping-into-internet-habits-of-a?ref=title
      acolomitchi-4e939
  • One of the most disgusting examples of invasion of privacy yet! Tell me, do the public get to see what Mr Conroy and Mr McClelland are looking at on the internet too?

    Let's see the transparency measures for this. Who can access the data? When can they access it? Only when you've been criminally charged or at the whim of the police? Who controls extracted records and how it's disposed of? If a person's data is accessed how/when are they notified?

    This data is PRIVATE no different to health records, financial inofrmation etc
    tallybud
  • There is no privacy from National Security interests, Internet Crime officials, or apparently media content owners. To think that every packet you transmit is not being intercepted is as naive as thinking that your mobile phone conversation is not being recorded. It's a bit like gun laws, make the honest people jump through hoops, but the criminals will always have black market access. In the cyber world, the only truth is encryption and IP obfuscation. China and Osama have already figured that one out. The US try to make encryption illegal, but people encrypt anyway. They will also try to prevent IP obfuscation by blocking know proxy sites outside the US, and so the merry chase begins.
    ptrrssll@...
    • "The US try to make encryption illegal, but people encrypt anyway."

      Incorrect. The US Govt do not try to make encryption illegal per se (some European nations eg France, do), however the US tries to a get law enforcement 'back door' into encryption algorithms, particularly if there is any security certification required.
      FiberLover
      • US Export law: it is illegal to export PGP from the USA to any other country.So in theory, if you can't export the algorithm then it can't be used to support cross border communications. http://www.pgp.com/products/export_compliance.html
        ptrrssll@...
        • The regs were changed in 1996, prior to that key length in export versions were shorter.... it became a commercial issue as overseas crypto companies started to take the lead and US co's couldn't compete effectively.... that's about when rules on PGP were relaxed. You should read the link you sent.... they are restricted exports, not forbidden exports.

          US companies regularly sell 'commercial-grade' encryption products overseas to 'friendly' countries (including AES, 3DES) with US Govt permission... there are a number of countries they can't be exported to... eg Nth Korea, Libya etc. and you have to sign you will not re-export without US Govt ok.

          Govt grade encryption is handled govt to govt.
          FiberLover
          • @ ptrrssll
            PS: your original post said the US Govt tried to make encryption illegal... that's nothing to do with export.
            FiberLover
  • OK, so I just use any available wireless access point other than my ISP for my "criminal activities" lol.
    What a waste of resources in maintaining all those records.
    grump3
  • GetUp campaign?
    http://suggest.getup.org.au/forums/60819-campaign-ideas/suggestions/1504483-reject-the-govt-snooping-into-internet-habits-of-a?ref=title
    acolomitchi-4e939
  • "McClelland said governments have a "strong obligation" to balance the scope of data retention — including when data should be destroyed and who can access it and for what purpose — with the needs to assist law enforcement to crackdown on online criminal activity."

    You have no obligation to strip people of their privacy.

    You are obligated to keep your nose out of my business.

    If you think i have done something wrong... Get a warrant....

    The fact this is even being considered shows how buggered this Country and the world as a whole is.

    Orwell 1986, We have arrived.
    kirbykia@...
    • In regards with "buggered Country and world" (not that I don't agree), here's a larger perspective:

      Jan 24 2011 - Justice Department seeks mandatory data retention (US) - http://news.cnet.com/8301-31921_3-20029423-281.html

      Jan 27 2011 - Data retention 'ineffective' in fighting serious crime (Germany) - http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/01/27/data_retention/

      Feb 15 2011 - White House undecided about data retention law - http://news.cnet.com/8301-31921_3-20032153-281.html

      Feb 18 2011 - FBI to announce new Net-wiretapping push - http://news.cnet.com/8301-31921_3-20032518-281.html
      acolomitchi-4e939
  • "We can obtain intercepts ... on pretty much everything."

    If you want to intercept my communications, you need a warrant. That's called due process, and it's there for a reason.

    "We don't want to see what people are watching on TV, we want to see what people are looking at on the internet."

    And what if I've been looking at Wikileaks, for example?
    anonymous
  • Perhaps the government can get a warrant and then start spying on Australians inside there own homes. Instead of spying on everyone innocent and guilty alike.

    I wonder weather evidence gathered in this manner will be declared unconstitutional in court.
    tronter
  • According to ABS we downloaded 283PB between June 2009 and June 2010, if the US wants this data to be stored for 5 years, you are looking at 1.4 exabytes assuming data does not grow when it's skyrocketing.

    Do these politicians have even a remote idea of how expensive it would be to store that amount of data?

    You'd be looking at at least two million 2TB hard drives, which could cost in the region of $18 billion dollars, nevermind the additional back haul cost to pipe all data downloaded to a central location for storage (so dumb!!) nevermind the absolute monster computers you would need to be able to write in the area of several gigabytes per second..

    This proposal is just dumb on so many levels, we are not the USA, we are Australia - why are we even listening to them?
    Duideka-0e151
    • Because they love the bribes the US gives them?
      Hyperion09
  • So much for the freedom and liberty our diggers past and present have fought for.
    This is the same as letting the post office, without a warrant, open every letter sent to your address, photocopying it and retaining the copy (which would probably fall into criminal hands eventually). If this happened there would be community outrage. Why is the internet any different?

    The US proposal is an outrageous invasion of privacy, liberty and decency being promoted by a morally and financially bankrupt regime. Australia does not need to stoop this low and should tell the US to stick their draconian scheme.

    Let the US replace the Statue of Liberty with a statue of Stalin or Hitler.
    Yoda7
  • It's too expensive, it's irrelevant, it's draconian, it's unloved, it's not wanted, and it will have absolutely no net value.
    "You say that like it's a BAD thing Prime Minister!"
    NefariousWheel
  • Lets face it. Anyone that is doing something illegal on the internet would have some kind of VPN setup so anything they are doing wouldn't be seen by the ISP, all the ISP would see would be the user is accessing one site only, making this type of law mute.
    anonymous