Roxon says data retention needed to solve crimes

The Attorney-General has claimed Australian security and police enforcement needs data retention laws to carry out their jobs.

The Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon, has stated that police investigations would be unable to create a picture of criminal activity without data retention laws.

Roxon made the statements in a speech to the Security in Government conference today in regards to a parliamentary inquiry into reforms in national security legislation.

One of the most contentious aspects of the proposals includes "tailored data retention periods for up to two years for parts of a data set", with every Internet users' entire Web history logged and stored for up to two years.

“We’re no longer just dealing with guards and gates, bombs and bullets when we talk about defending our nation and its secrets. We’re now fairly and squarely working in an online environment,” Roxon said. “And this has created a whole new dimension of both opportunity and threat.”

Roxon cited the murder of MP John Newman in 1994, stating it would not have been possible for police to reconstruct the crime scene without accessing call charge and mobile tower information.

“Many investigations require law enforcement to build a picture of criminal activity over a period of time. Without data retention, this capability will be lost,” she said.

“…The intention behind the proposed reform is to allow law enforcement agencies to continue investigating crime in light of new technologies. The loss of this capability would be a major blow to our law enforcement agencies and to Australia’s national security."

Roxon hinted that the laws would go ahead, in some form or another.

“I do want to reaffirm the intention of these reforms. We cannot live in a society where criminals and terrorists operate freely on the internet without fear of prosecution. We cannot allow technology to create a ‘safe haven’ for criminals, or a ‘no go’ zone for law enforcement,” she said.

The potential data retention laws is part of reforms into four pieces of legislation, including the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979; the Telecommunications Act 1997; the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1979; and the Intelligence Services Act 2001.

While Roxon said she wanted to strike a balance between protecting privacy and equipping police and intelligence with tools to enable them to carry out their jobs properly, some in the industry have slammed the data retention proposals.

Greens senator, Scott Ludlam, has been a strong opponent to the data retention proposals, repeatedly stating that citizens should not be treated as suspected criminals.

"Data retention, as envisaged by the government, will entrench huge databases that can be mined for precise patterns of our movements, purchases, interests, friends, and conversations. This interception, copying, recording and disclosure of our data is a means to retroactively police the whole population. We are citizens, not suspects," Ludlam said in a statement.

He has also previously told Computerworld Australia, “[The government] say they’re looking to strike a balance between people’s privacy and the ability of spy agencies to surviel people, but they haven’t even attempted to strike that balance.”

Ludlam has also previously said the proposals had a “dodgy premise”.

Meanwhile, the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) and the Communications Alliance has detailed data retention reforms could cost the industry over half a billion dollars.

Acting Victorian Privacy Commissioner, Anthony Bendall, has also slammed the proposals, likening the data retention laws as “characteristic of a police state”.

Follow Stephanie McDonald on Twitter: @stephmcdonald0

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

11 Comments

Kitfox

1

These laws are just the begining of a dark future of full scale censorship and dictatorship by the Communist Greens and their Labour puppets.
Where re the people with common sense to fight these laws from coming in effect, have all the politicians sold out the people of Australia to their American masters?

Sick_of_politicians

2

So Nicola let's take the test shall we...

Please provide Australia (via media outlets or the parliamentary website) full and complete copies of all your electronic activities over the past two years (both private and work related activites).

What's that, you don't think that's relevant? I disagree, show us yours and we'll show you ours....

You're pretence at guarding the rights of the public is laughable, you were on board with this the moment spooks pulled it out of their bag.

JDemo

3

This is probably the final straw of making Aus a police state. If they want to access data, then the judiciary need to be involved as a safeguard, i.e. issuing a warrant to carry out the search, not leaving it up to some public servants discretion

TIMETOREBEL

4

This is OUTRAGEOUS! They are putting the pieces in place for totalitarian state, where you will be surveilled, monitored and one day killed if you fail to comply to the wicked state in every area of life they decide to wrestle out of your control.

Ready for Security Breaches

5

Welcome all the Hackers to have access to all your personal details and data. I wonder who is going to be the first person to be SET UP with this new RUBBISH. Data can be manipulated by people in the know.

The constant use of the word Terrorist and Criminal is just the ploy they need to take away peoples privacy. They already have the ability to monitor people with a court order but this just takes the CAKE.

Every Australian is GUILTY until Proven Innocent !!!!
Maybe everyone should leave their front doors open.

Even better how about a live video feed of every Australians house to the government and police in order to stop that
nasty terrorism problem we so badly have here !!!!

NeoCon

6

If data retention measures such as these are necessary, why aren't telephone conversations recorded and kept for 2 years? Perhaps Australia Post should also open all mail, copy it and retain that for 2 years?
I don't see how you can justify these measures for electronic communication, when it doesn't apply (& never has) to other forms of communication.

The Crunge

7

Roxon needs to get a new arse plug fitted.

DavidSG

8

Big Sister is watching

DavidSG

9

Coincidentally an advertisment just landed in my inbox for a VPN annonymiser, Steganos Internet Anonym

For USD62.65 all the crims can hide their activities from Big Sister. No technical knowledge required.

Brook Papworth

10

This is like firearm control all over again. The bad guys will continue to outsmart the government using secure forms of data transmission, meanwhile, just like the NBN the small number of taxpayers left in this country will foot the bill for what the minority want. Not to mention the privacy issues which represent both a clear and present danger.

Can Australia really afford this? We should be reigning in Govt spending, not increasing it. The cost to mirror this kind of data Massive!

I have worked in this Industry in Enterprise IT for nearly 20 years, and am surprised we don't just take a leaf out of the USA - why do we have to reinvent everything yet at the same time having much smaller economies of scale?

Besides, the people you need to do battle with for legitimate reasons are not using these systems if they are involved with serious organized crime.

These projects are draining our national budget for non productive purposes.

FSHR

11

THEY WILL USE THIS TO COMBAT FILE SHARING
THATS WHAT ITS FOR

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