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    2 Nov 2014

    Australia to introduce legislation to track illegal downloads by forcing ISP's to store and make accessible all user metadata.

    leaked copy of a Coalition party room submission admits there is a cost attached to data retention and the government is anticipating a campaign against the laws that will describe it as an "internet tax".
    The submission, obtained by Fairfax Media, was prepared for a snap joint party room meeting on Thursday in which Coalition MPs were given just 30 minutes to discuss the government's proposed metadata legislation. 

    One MP who attended the 8.30 meeting on Thursday morning told Fairfax Media it had lasted just half an hour, with Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, ASIO chief Duncan Lewis and AFP chief Andrew Colvin addressing the meeting in that time.
    Two MPs said the meeting, which was called on Wednesday evening, appeared to be a "rubber stamp" for the government's metadata retention plans.
    In a surprise move, the federal government announced the new legislation on Thursday. It would require telecommunications companies to store customers' telephone and email records for two years under new legislation. 

    The bill would allow law enforcement agencies to access two years' worth of customer "metadata" without a warrant.
    The bill does not explain exactly what constitutes metadata, but it will not include the content of calls or emails, web browsing history or website addresses (URLs).
    One MP said there appeared to be three outstanding issues to resolve: the cost impact on telcos, the definition of metadata and what happens to metadata after it had been stored two years.
    Attorney General George Brandis's attempt to explain metadata while proposing the changes earlier this year was described at the time as a "car crash interview".

    Other concerns about limiting the agencies that have access to the data had, however, been addressed, the MP said.
    During the meeting, it is understood that Liberal senator Cory Bernardi and MP George Christensen flagged concerns about the bill. 

    According to the submission, which is designed to brief MPs on the details of the bill, "metadata is central to virtually every counterterrorism, organised crime, counter-espionage and cyber security investigation".
    The fact that ISPs are not currently obliged to retain metadata means that "less information is being retained for shorter periods of time. This is having a critical impact on law enforcement and national security capabilities", the briefing note says.

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/secret-government-briefing-admits-metadata-law-cost-and-warns-of-internet-tax-campaign-20141030-11e1v8.html
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