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May 8, 2021

Senate to continue debating metadata laws

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Senators will again debate the proposed metadata laws today.(File pic)
Senators will again debate the proposed metadata laws today.(File pic)

The Senate will continue to debate controversial metadata laws on Wednesday, as crossbenchers talk out proposed changes.

The Abbott government wants the laws through by the end of the week, saying they’re crucial to thwart terror attacks and tackle organised crime.

Senators stayed back late on Tuesday night to consider the changes which require telecommunication companies to keep two years worth of customer metadata for police and intelligence agency access.

Liberal Democrats senator David Leyonhjelm, independent Nick Xenophon and the Greens want tougher privacy safeguards and demanded to know how the government will pay for the scheme.

Attorney-General George Brandis says the costs are still a matter of discussion and will be revealed in the May budget.

The laws passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support last week after the government agreed to Labor amendments to better protect journalists.

Greens senator Scott Ludlam said it was trivially easy to circumvent the federal government’s metadata laws.

Senator Ludlam has given some advice on how Australians can hide their metadata.

Among the tips is to use offshore email providers, Facebook messenger and Twitter private messenger.

People can also download software such as Tor that provides invisibility or use virtual private networks.

The Senate will continue to debate controversial metadata laws today.


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