[LINK] Senate committee probes AGD's data retention activities

rene rene.ln at libertus.net
Mon Nov 1 20:55:57 AEDT 2010

On Mon, 1 Nov 2010 19:40:57 +1100, Stilgherrian wrote:

> On 01/11/2010, at 6:55 PM, rene wrote:
>> Similarly there were questions raised in 2007 about whether a URL
>> is "data" or "content", and I don't think there was ever any
>> response that did anything to clarify/shed any light that
>> issue/question.
> In the Senate Inquiry session on Friday, and in some discussions
> between the outing of the secret discussions in June and now, the
> impression has been given that the full URL would be considered to be
> "content". That is, the AGD is saying that under any
> proposed data retention regime the specific pages viewed would not be
> logged, but the domain would.
> Ben Grubb's Fairfax story from July cited unnamed ISP sources as
> saying the logging of full URLs was at least discussed, but AGD has
> denied this.

I've now listened to the 50 min audio you kindly made available on your 
site Stil (thanks very much). I don't think I heard anything about URLs in 
that, but I could have missed it, and in any case what I said in my 
previous message was not meant to imply URLs wouldn't be logged under some 
new govt requirement. I was just aiming to explain what the existing 
situation is, and that the issue of URLs has been previously raised but 
never clarified in legislation.

FWIW, I make a few comments about things said in the audio:

* Catherine Smith (principal AG person speaking in that audio) has been 
involved with telecommunications interception legislation for quite some 
years - and was very involved in 2007. To my (very well informed) 
knowledge, she did not say anything in the audio about existing legislation 
that is not correct, and was honest about aspects of the legislation that 
are not clear (when asked about some such aspects).

* imo the audio is quite stunning because the Senate Committee members 
(Ludlam, Cameron and someone else whose name I missed) asked remarkably 
sensible and clueful questions. I don't think there's ever been a Sen Comm 
hearing on this topic where the Senators had so much of clue.

* near the end of the audio it was said that "this issue" has been around 
for a long time. Indeed it has. Since, at least, the 2001 "Inquiry into the 
Law Enforcement Implications of New Technology" conducted by the 
Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Australian Crime Commission.

That was largely about law enforcement panic about the need for ISPs to 
retain data else the end of the world would come, etc. Somewhere in Hansard 
back then there's a transcript of evidence by, IIRC, a woman from 
Ozemail(?) representing IIA, pointing out/explaining the difficulties and 
costs and privacy issues for their customers of storing "telecommunications 
data" for 12 months or whatever.

* somewhere in the audio the AFP provide the example of "Operation 
Centurion" for why they need ISPs to retain data. I find that example, umm 
"interesting", because Croatian police discovered the hacked web site in 
Croatia in Feb 2008 and AU police announced arrests of AU persons alleged 
to have accessed it in June 2008. So, umm, what's the problem with the 
existing situation. AFAIK police have not said there were any AU suspects 
they weren't able to find/arrest.


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