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September 17, 2021

Data retention secrecy undemocratic

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The Pirate Party is critical of the federal government’s secrecy surrounding its most recent discussion paper on data retention.

While the public is yet to see a formal proposal, telecommunications providers were given confidential advanced copies last Friday.

No reason has been given for why the public must remain in the dark. This is a fundamentally undemocratic approach that excludes the major stakeholder — the Australian public.

Botched media interviews and confused, conflicting statements over the past weeks have not provided any reassurance to Australians that the government is competent enough to understand the enormous implications data retention has for our privacy.

This is a highly controversial policy, and one that has already been rejected in the European Union precisely because it threatens privacy to such an unreasonable degree. It is a complex area that needs great consideration and maximum public participation.

No justifiable reason to store information that reveals individuals’ locations has been provided, let alone allowing access without a warrant.

The Pirate Party’s position has been and continues to be that the threshold for access to stored data under existing arrangements is already too low, and must require a warrant. This extends to any further proposals.

It also seems, despite the Attorney-General dismissing the suggestion, that the storage of information relating to download volumes is for the benefit of the copyright lobby.

This was not on the cards previously, and we cannot fathom what use this information would be to the investigation of terrorism and other serious crimes.

To mandate the retention of such vast quantities of information on all Australians is not a proportional nor necessary response to the perceived threats. The Attorney-General must immediately release this document in full, as well as future documents.

Australians at large are the biggest stakeholders in these proposals, and have the right to be informed.

Brendan Molloy, Pirate Party president 


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