iiNet is taking a principled stand against mandatory data retention. The internet service provider’s chief regulatory officer, Steve Dalby, has written a long blog post to explain why the company is opposed to the proposed surveillance regime:
Australia already has systems in place to help catch crooks. The Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act specifies the circumstances in which interception of customer communications is lawful and when it is permitted for telecommunications companies to disclose communications data.
The focus of this data retention proposal is not crooks; it’s the 23 million law-abiding men, women and children that will go about their daily lives without ever bothering law enforcement. Those 23 million customers include my 93-year-old mum and my 12-year-old niece. We don’t believe that is either necessary or proportionate for law enforcement.
We’ve seen no evidence that justifies surveilling inoffensive customers on the chance that, two years later, some evidence might help an investigation. It’s the equivalent of collecting and storing every single haystack in the country, indexing and filing all the straws, keeping them safe for two years, just in case there’s a needle, somewhere. We don’t know if there’s a needle, but there might be.
The post is worth reading in full. Dalby takes the reader through the various issues, and explains why mandatory data retention is such a terrible idea for iiNet and its customers.
iiNet made a submission to the parliamentary committee considering mandatory data retention when it was first proposed by then attorney-general Nicola Roxon.