Over the last few weeks, debate on the government's proposed mandatory data retention legislation has increased as government hearings continue into the bill. Members of the Australian IT sector and Privacy advocates have widely condemned the bill, citing privacy concerns, costs and who would have access to to data.
SAGE-AU was recently featured in a ZDNet Article where SAGE-AU President Robert Hudson raised concerns about the additional work it will generate for IT professionals in servicing requests for access to the data and needing the authenticate the legitimacy of the request. "It's casting a very wide net to catch a very small fish. As it stands, SAGE-AU could not be considered to support it. We would require a lot more of the gaps to be filled before we consider it. And even then, I don't think it is a good idea, and SAGE-AU doesn't think it is an appropriate path to be taking.", said Robert.
Well known Internet rights advocate Mark Newton slammed the bill in his submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee, accusing the AGD of incompetence and "expecting everything and justifying nothing". The overreach that this proposal represents is precisely the same sort of conduct that Edward Snowden revealed as being carried out illegally by the United States.
Unfortunately it would appear that mandatory data retention will be passed in some form, with the Labor opposition indicating conditional support for the bill. What it's final form takes is yet to be seen.