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Is Australia's data retention idea that scary?

Is the government really talking about recording all your web browsing? Is the European Directive on Data Retention, which the government is using as an example of what it could adopt, really benign?
Written by Stilgherrian , Contributor on

Podcast

Is the government really talking about recording all your web browsing? Is the European Directive on Data Retention, which the government is using as an example of what it could adopt, really benign? The idea itself certainly seems scary enough to be part of a privacy inquiry.

As ZDNet Australia has reported previously, the Attorney-General's Department has been holding confidential discussions with internet service providers about the possibility of recording details of your internet usage for later potential use by law enforcement agencies.

While there have been concerns that this could amount to recording web browsing history, the government insists that's not on the agenda, and have been pointing to the European Directive on Data Retention as a model.

So what is this directive? Apparently it's somewhat controversial itself. To explain what it's about we speak with Gunther Bloemen, Practice lead for EMEA with Verizon Business in Brussels. Does it enable the recording of your web browsing? It depends on how you look at it.

Given the questions raised by the government's data retention ruminations and recent privacy problems for Facebook and Google, the Senate has launched a privacy inquiry.

The inquiry by the Senate Standing Committee on Environment, Communications and the Arts is calling for evidence on "the adequacy of protections for the privacy of Australians online". Submissions to the inquiry close 23 July.

It was initiated by the Greens, and on Patch Monday this week Greens Senator Scott Ludlam explains the party's concerns.

Patch Monday also includes Stilgherrian's idiosyncratic look at some of the week's IT news headlines.

To leave an audio comment for Patch Monday, Skype to stilgherrian, or phone Sydney 02 8011 3733.

Running time 26 minutes, 24 seconds

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