Tagged With data retention

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The Australian government wants new powers to access encrypted communications, but do they need them? Police and intelligence agencies already have significant abilities to access data about our emails, phone calls and text messages if we’re suspected of committing a crime, although it can be difficult to tell exactly what they’re doing with them.

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Thanks to the metadata retention law, nothing is private anymore. The Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Act 2015 has not just put our privacy at risk, but also the privacy and security of friends, colleagues and loved ones we communicate with. Fortunately, there are steps you can take keep yourself protected.

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As of now, Australia's telecommunications service providers have to store your metadata -- records of your phone and internet activity, which can reveal a huge amount of detail -- for two years. Approved government agencies can access that data without a warrant. It's not private information, either.

One way to circumvent Australia's draconian metadata retention scheme is to install and use a VPN on your phone and on your PC. Here's what a VPN is, what it does, and why -- and how -- you should get one.

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Australia’s data retention laws became compulsory yesterday, which means all telcos and internet service providers must now retain their customers' metadata for two years. This is supposed to assist law enforcement agencies in their war against homegrown terrorists and other criminals -- but it arguably comes at the expense of normal Australians' privacy. Attempting to avoid these laws and send messages "off the gird" isn't easy, but it remains possible. Dr Philip Branch from the Swinburne University of Technology explains what you need to know.

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Last year, the Australian government released a partially-redacted list of Commonwealth agencies that have applied for access to metadata retained by Australia's telecommunications providers as part of the Telecommunications Interception and Access Act. (This information was only released in response to a Freedom of Information request.)

There are over five dozen government entities that want to look through your mobile, internet and home phone records, ostensibly to uncover criminal activity.

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Remember the data retention laws that were introduced late last year? It forces telcos to retain metadata on mobile and broadband users for at least two years. The data would assist in criminal and terrorism investigations. Now the Government wants to open the data up to be used for civil lawsuits. It has called for public to comment on the issue. Right before Christmas. Cheeky bastards.

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In 2013, privacy advocate and whistle blower Edward Snowden revealed the extent that government agencies around the world were tapping into technology to spy on individuals. We are all a lot wiser for it and many people now use encryption on their electronic devices to secure communication and information on their machines. But global governments are now waging a battle against end-user device encryption.

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There has been plenty of technology-related legal activity in the European Union this month. Last week the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) ruled that data retention regulations, as they currently stand, are not in accordance with EU law and the European Parliament voted in favour of introducing net neutrality into EU telecoms regulation the week before. As Australia is currently in the midst of a data retention inquiry -- the second in three years -- what effects will this ruling have on the debate?