Today I emailed Julie Collins MP, and senators Catryna Bilyk, Carol Brown, Jacqui Lambie, Helen Polley, Lisa Singh and Anne Urquhart concerning data retention. For the record, and in case it helps anyone else who wants to contact their representatives and senators, here’s what I wrote:
I am writing regarding the Telecommunications (Interception and Access)
Amendment (Data Retention) Bill 2014. As I am sure you are very busy,
I will be as brief as I can.
The distinction the bill makes between metadata (so-called “non-content
data”) and content is grossly misleading; once you have enough of it,
metadata is just as privacy invasive, if not more so, than the actual
content of communications, and as such should only be collected with
proper judicial oversight, i.e. after a warrant is obtained.
Retaining this data for the entire Australian population is mass
surveillance, nothing more, nothing less, and is completely
inappropriate in a modern democratic society.
Tinkering around the edges as Labor is suggesting with amendments to
protect journalists’ sources is misguided at best; the only way to
protect such sources effectively would be to not retain the sources’
data either, and given that you can’t know who they are, the only way
to achieve this would be to not retain anyone’s data at all.
Finally, mandatory data retention won’t help to catch any criminal with
even a shred of intelligence, as it can be trivially circumvented by
the use of overseas communications providers, virtual private networks
and the like.
In summary, I am completely opposed to mandatory data retention in
Australia. As my representative, I’m asking you to reject this bill.