back to article Oz telcos' club asks: Why the hell do Australia Post, rando councils, or Taxi Services Commission want comms metadata?

When Australia implemented its telecommunications data retention regime, privacy wonks worried about the potential for scope creep. The same warnings have been made about the government's proposed encryption-busting legislation. spy_eye_648 When's a backdoor not a backdoor? When the Oz government says it isn't READ MORE The …

  1. }{amis}{
    Big Brother

    Scope creep??

    It's all fine it's not like there has been a long history of this kind of legislation being abused by useless busybodies that have no sense of proportion right? PDF Big Brother Watch: How RIPA has been used by local authorities and public bodies

    1. TReko
      Big Brother

      Re: Scope creep??

      The Australian Big Brother is huge, though. Agencies make around 300,000 requests for metadata per year, or 1000 per business day.

      This means that they are using it on about 1% of their population.

      1. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge

        Re: Scope creep??

        The headline was missing a comma. It should have been, "There's your scope, creep."

  2. A.P. Veening Silver badge

    there are potential unintended consequences

    Those consequences aren't unintended when they limit or circumvent user security, especially given the track record of the Australian government.

  3. The Central Scrutinizer

    As an Australian, (Hi Australia Post.... how are ya today?!) I keep banging on about this to anyone who will listen... which is nobody.

    First they came for our metadata, then they came for our encrypted communications, then they came for...... us.

    Because we are no longer citizens. We are all suspects.

    Fark Awf.

    1. stiine Silver badge

      if they got your communications, they don't need you

      But I just wanted to upvote you for your handle,

      1. The Central Scrutinizer

        Re: if they got your communications, they don't need you

        The legacy of too much 70s music.

        1. DeKrow

          Re: if they got your communications, they don't need you

          What's this "too much" you speak of?

          Zim Zam Zim! (not 70's, but, well, you'll get the idea if you get the idea...)

    2. GnuTzu Silver badge

      More Paraphrases and Quotes

      "First they came for our metadata, then they came for our encrypted communications, then they came for...... us."

      First it happened in one country. Then it happened in their neighbor's country. Then it happened in the entire anglosphere. Then there was no more free world.

      "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety..." -- Ah, you know the quote.

      But, what is it these who argue for more safety and security think they are doing? Are they just over zealous? Are they trying to get more bang for their budgetary buck? Or, are are they just asshole authoritarians pretending to serve the people? Perhaps it's a mix of these, but I fear those who are so bought into the bullshit that they have no concept of balance.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Communications Alliance yesterday made public a list of 80 bodies (PDF) that have asked its members to hand over subscriber metadata,

    How quaint. At least they are asking for METAdata, not DATA, the way the RIPA used to allow anyone and sundry in the UK (no real difference in any of the subsequent legislation by the way).

  5. ThatOne Silver badge
    Big Brother

    > "I've hesitated calling it a 'back door'... but it's certainly a way in."

    It will hurt a little, but eventually Australians will learn to love it...

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      That's root access, for certain!

  6. Oengus Silver badge

    Some did

    "Stanton said it could be argued the industry should have understood the implications of legislation back in 2014 and 2015."

    Some in the industry did understand the implications and raised objections to the legislation, the same as some individuals did. All opposition was effectively ignored by the legislators so they could get as broad a piece of legislation they could. This would allow it to be exploited in the future and so they could hold it up and say "You allowed this so you won't mind when we propose ..."

    1. DeKrow

      Re: Some did

      And the anti-encryption proposal is currently following precisely the same path.

      Short time for public comment, plenty of expert commentary arguing against it, zero acknowledgement of said expert commentary. The next and last stage is for it to be passed.

      The Green's will object, but Labor, oh-so-disappointingly and confusingly, will not. Although it's not confusing because Labor are just another "big political party" full of power-hungry control-freaks that WANT this, as per the current government.

  7. Winkypop Silver badge

    Just publish everything to everyone

    The two or three companies/agencies that don't want access can just look away!

  8. Mark 65

    Bit of an issue with the statement...

    Stanton said the huge number of requests arose not because of Section 313, which limited the warrantless supply of data to 20 agencies, but Section 280, which allowed other bodies to request data under various kinds of court orders.

    That section, he said, "places carriers in a difficult position. When a council in Tasmania says 'we want data under Section 280, and we have the right', what does the carrier do?"

    Stanton added that judging the legitimacy of a request isn't in the scope of most telcos and service providers.

    "So you have a barrage of requests coming in from all manner of entities, which may or may not be legitimate requests."

    I have an issue with that in that the legislation is said to state that data can be requested under various kinds of court orders. Therefore the start point for your ability to ascertain validity is "is there a court order and if so show me". A scan of that court order should then be registered against the data returned thereby documenting what occurred to cover their arse. After all, a court order is a court order. I would not expect them to question the court order (although they likely could appeal it if their pockets were as deep as Apple's) as the shitty legislation and poor implementation by practitioners is hardly their fault. If a technophobe judge sees fit to sign off on a data trawl there's not much you can do.

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