AusCERT 2015: Protections missing from data retention regime

Futurewise’s Justin Clacherty says that the new data retention regime is a form of mass surveillance

Justin Clacherty.

Justin Clacherty.

Justin Clacherty of policy advocate group Futurewise has lambasted the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Act 2015 as a form of mass surveillance.

The legislation, which passed in March, means that telcos and ISPs will be obliged to retain a range of customer data for 24 months.

The data will be accessible to a number of law enforcement agencies under a warrant-free regime.

The legislation was passed with support from Labor after the Coalition government agreed to a number of amendments recommended by a parliamentary inquiry, such as requiring data retained under the scheme to be encrypted.

Speaking at the AusCERT security conference on the Gold Coast, Clacherty said that privacy protections need to be put in place at the point of gathering people’s data, not afterwards.

“Once the data has been gathered, you have been subject to surveillance and the data is there. There is no judicial oversight and we need it."

Within Australia there are hundreds of thousands of requests for so-called metadata made every year. Judicial oversight would substantially reduce that figure, Clacherty said.

He said there is a need for Australian politicians who understand technology, or at least politicians that accept advice from tech-savvy people.

“The Internet has been around for 40 years so [politicians] need to understand this because you are writing policy,” he said.

“There needs to be meaningful debate about the bill. We need to be talking about it and explaining to people what happens.”

The new regime draws a distinction between the 'content' of a communication, which requires a warrant to access and is not part of the data retention regime, and the so-called metadata, which doesn't.

However Clacherty said that the data retained under the scheme can still tell you a lot about an individual's life.

“It shows everyone you speak to, daily routines. This is a social engineer’s dream. It is effectively a regime of mass indiscriminate surveillance.”

He said that the government has failed to demonstrate that data retention is needed.

“A law like this needs to be necessary and proportionate. Surveillance of the entire population to get .001 per cent of people who are doing bad things is just crazy.”

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags data retention billFuturewisedata retentionAusCERT 2015

More about Twitter

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Hamish Barwick

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place