Sunday, November 22, 2009

Data retention and telco providers

Mark Newton has made a bit of a name for himself as a campaigner against the ALP's internet filter policy. He has now written to New Matilda on the subject of privacy.

What has caught Newton's attention is a proposed law in the UK requiring data retention by telco providers of all data that they have about customers. The bad news is that store and forward type communications like e-mail do spend their time on servers, whereas phone calls don't. But for communications that don't spend time there there will still be a requirement to "log" them.

This is not realy the dramatic erosion of freedoms described because this has always been the case for phone calls that were charged on an "event" basis. t is new for other forms of communication. It is notionally as well protected as access to the existing phone call log.

For a person who works in Australian Comms Newton might like to know that similar data retention proposals have been hanging around in the Australian space since the Blunn Review. Personally, I don't have a concern about this level of "monitoring". It actually already happens on our physical movements hrough CCTV.

What will be important will be both how well it is protected, both physically and lgally. The latter needs to include serious penalties for disclosure - such disclosure may be far from a victimless crime.

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