New metadata bill introduced to Parliament

New metadata bill introduced to Parliament

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull says Australia’s laws on metadata need to be updated.

It comes as he has introduced the Federal Government’s contravention Data Retention Bill to Parliament today.

The bill will require telecommunications companies to store information about calls and internet usage for longer periods, to be used by law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

The proposal has drawn strong criticism from a the Greens and a number of crossbenchers.

Independent Senator Nick Xenophon says it would have a “chilling effect” on democracy and free speech.

But Mr Turnbull has moved to try and allay these fears, when he introduced the bill this morning, saying metadata is simply the “information about a communication but not its content”, stressing that access to content would still require a warrant.

“Access to metadata plays a central role in almost every counter-terrorism, counter-espionage, cybersecurity, organised crime investigation,” he told Parliament.

“It is also used in almost all serious criminal investigations, including investigations into murder, serious sexual assaults, drug trafficking and kidnapping.”

Australian Federal Police Commissioner Andrew Colvin says if the laws pass, they will be extremely helpful to authorities to target people downloading illegal content.

“Illegal downloads … cyber crimes, cyber security, all these matters, our ability to investigate them is absolutely pinned to our ability to retrieve and use metadata,” he said.

Mr Turnbull says the cost of retaining the data will be partly met by a “substantial contribution” by the Federal Government.

About author

Libby Dreyer
Libby Dreyer 1729 posts

Libby has worked as a Senior Journalist at National Radio News since February 2011. She graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Canberra in December 2010.

View all posts by this author →

You might also like

National

Bill Shorten to front Royal Commission

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is facing the Royal Commission in to Trade Union Governance and Corruption today. Mr Shorten will be quizzed for up to six hours, over a deal

National

PM says data retention plan could cost $400 million a year

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has warned if the data retention laws are not passed, there could be an “explosion of unsolved crime.” Mr Abbott has today announced the annual coast

National

Marriage Equality for Australia?

By Loren Howarth   Australian Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull has called for a special meeting on Monday, in a bid to settle the marriage equality debate. Despite Mr Turnbull supporting

World

Aussie journalist to learn his fate today

Peter Greste will learn tonight if he is guilty of reporting false news and supporting a terrorist group.