US surveillance scandal a warning against Gillard government data retention proposal


“The extraordinary surveillance program by the United States government revealed last week is a warning against the dangers of the Gillard government’s proposed data retention laws,” said Simon Breheny, director of the Legal Rights Project at free market think tank the Institute of Public Affairs.

US national security and law enforcement agencies have obtained access to the data of those who use services provided by Microsoft, Yahoo!, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, YouTube, Skype, AOL and Apple.

The data collected includes source and destination email addresses, communication times, location information and IP addresses.

“This is exactly the sort of data that the Gillard government wants to force Australian internet service providers to collect and store on all their customers,” said Mr Breheny.

The IPA has consistently argued against the Gillard government’s plan to force ISPs to store information on the online habits of every Australian internet user.

Mr Breheny told the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security’s inquiry into National Security Legislation that data retention “is completely lacking in proportionality, undermines basic freedoms and is in fundamental conflict with a right to privacy.”

“The Australian government and opposition should abandon any attempt to implement mandatory data retention to avoid a similar privacy crisis as is being seen in America,” said Mr Breheny.

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For media and comment: Simon Breheny, Director, Legal Rights Project, 0400 967 382, [email protected]


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