Metadata meets single voice of scrutiny
There was just one source of proper inquiry at recent data retention hearings.
The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) has completed two days of hearings into the government's data retention legislation, which should have provide a robust debate on the need for all Australians to give up certain privacies.
Instead, the hearings saw Coalition members blindly accept the need to hand over as much data as security and spy agencies could imagine, while openly criticising the views of privacy advocates.
The only real scrutiny was applied to the legislation at a separate hearing by the Senate's Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee.
Senate Committee Chair, Greens Senator Scott Ludlam, cut through the wilful ignorance and rush to pass the bill to highlight some of the very significant weaknesses in the legislation.
He rightly questioned its coverage and likely effectiveness, the justifications presented for mass data retention.
Many of his probing questions to the Attorney-General's Department have been published online, including;
- The evidence for data retention?
- Social media, webmail and data retention
- The costs of data retention?
- Not defining 'data' in data retention laws
- Data retention and the drive toward encrypted technology
- Circumventing data retention
The full session can be viewed here.