Petition against data retention law runs into Senate wall

Senate votes 9-33 against motion by Greens Senator Scott Ludlam.

The Senate has beat back a Pirate Party petition against a proposed data retention law under consideration by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security.

The proposed law includes "tailored data retention periods for up to two years for parts of a data set, with specific time-frames taking into account agency priorities and privacy and cost impacts.”

Senator Scott Ludlam of the Greens tabled the petition (PDF), which was circulated by the Pirate Party and had 1447 signatures raising concerns about the proposed changes to national security laws.

The Senate voted against the Ludlam motion by a vote of 9-33.

Data retention: Who wants it, who doesn't and why
Data retention: the case against

Speaking on the Senate floor, Ludlam said that of about 5,500 submissions received in the inquiry by the joint committee, 98.9 per cent opposed the two-year data retention law that was proposed for all Australians, not including confidential submissions.

“I hope our new Attorney General pays very close attention to the tenor of the submissions to the national security inquiry,” Ludlam said.

Pirate Party secretary Brendan Molloy said in a statement that the petitioners "believe that law enforcement agencies should be not be able to apply indiscriminate and wholesale surveillance to the Australian public”.

“Data retention is fraught with danger. It is not a matter of if the data leaks, but when, as documents gained through freedom of information requests have reinforced.”

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