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.

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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.

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