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Protecting your privacy: Our stand against ‘mandatory data retention’

Be-in-the-Know-Mandatory-Data-Retention-v2

One of the features of the iiNet Copyright Trial was our strong stand against monitoring our customers. The Hollywood Studios believed we should data-match information provided by third parties who were monitoring our customers, and then send warning notices to alleged copyright infringers, all without lawful warrants – the High Court agreed with us.

In iiNet’s view, we should not be forced to collect, store or match personal information on behalf of third parties – our only obligation is to retain the information necessary to provide, maintain and bill for services. iiNet does not keep any web browsing history or download records, for example.

Last week the Attorney General, George Brandis said the government is now actively considering a data retention regime that could impact on anyone who uses the Internet in this country.

What exactly is proposed?

We don’t know for sure; the Attorney-General’s Department and various law enforcement agencies has floated at least three different suggestions over the past few years, including:

1. Limited, routine metadata that carriers normally collect for phone billing purposes.
2. A middle ground that indicates metadata on all communications, but with the metadata processed to remove the content.
3. A documented specification from government that details every bit of metadata generated by phone or online communications.

We’re confused by the contradictory comments and I expect that our policy makers are, too. We have a formal briefing paper from the Attorney General’s department (provided to us in March 2010) which we will focus on rather than media reports and ad hoc comments.

Law enforcement agencies (like ASIO and Federal and State Police) are proposing private companies, like iiNet, should keep ongoing and very detailed records of customers’ telephone and online activity. We’re not talking targeted surveillance of individuals suspected of a crime, we’re talking about the wholesale collection and storage of data on your online, digital and telephone activity. These records are euphemistically labelled ‘metadata’ – and could include the unfiltered records of your browsing, updates, movements and phone calls, which can be readily matched to the identities in your customer account.

We don’t think this ‘police state’ approach is a good idea, so we’re fighting moves by the Australian Government to introduce legislation that would force us to collect and store your personal information.

At the end of this month, iiNet will front a Senate Committee reviewing telecommunications laws concerning interception and access to communications data or metadata, which could include introducing mandatory surveillance and data retention on the communications activities of the entire Australian population. Our statement to the Committee is summarised, in part below.

Metadata, what is it?

Metadata is information generated as you use technology. It’s generated by your computer, tablet, phone, games console, smart-watch, some cars and even digital photo frames. The telecommunications data collected often contains personal and content-specific details, as well as transactional information about the user, the device and activities taking place, including:

  • The content of posts
  • The content associated with web pages
  • The people and organisations you associate with
  • Your Internet activity, including pages you visit and when
  • User data and possibly user login details with auto-fill features
  • Your IP address and Internet Service Provider (like iiNet)
  • Device hardware details, operating system and browser version
  • Cookies and cached data from websites
  • Date and time you called somebody
  • Locations – like where you last accessed your email, browsed the net or made a call.

But it doesn’t contain any content does it?

People who should really know better have repeated that furphy. When we use freely available tools to check the embedded data about communications like Twitter, Facebook and websites, we see that the ‘metadata’ does include content, and lots of it.

 

Should I really be worried?

The data collected can be incredibly sensitive – it can reveal who your friends are, where you go and what websites you visit. Indeed, it may even tell more than the content of a phone call or an email. Recent research from Stanford University showed that when analysed this data may create a revealing profile of a person’s life including medical conditions, political and religious views, friends and associations.

Police say “If you have nothing to hide, then you shouldn’t be worried”. Personally I think that if you follow that dubious logic, we’d all be walking around naked. It’s not about being worried, or wanting to ‘hide’ anything. It’s about the right to decide what you keep private and what you allow to be shared. YOU should be the one to make that call, and that decision should stick until a warrant or something similar is issued to law enforcement agencies to seize your information.

Not convinced? Then we suggest you check out the startling website based on information collected on German politician Malte Spitz by Deutsche Telekom over just six months. Zeit Online combined this geo-location data with information relating to his life as a politician, such as Twitter feeds, blog entries and websites, all of which is all freely available on the Internet. It’s really worth a look and illustrates just how informative and personally invasive metadata can be – it is truly scary stuff.

Experts in the US have some equally frightening things to say about metadata. According to NSA General Counsel Stewart Baker, “…metadata absolutely tells you everything about somebody’s life.” General Michael Hayden, former director of the NSA and the CIA, called Baker’s comment “absolutely correct,” and frighteningly asserted, “We kill people based on metadata.”

If it helps catch crooks, what’s the problem?

Australia already has systems in place to help catch crooks. The Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act specifies the circumstances in which interception of customer communications is lawful and when it is permitted for telecommunications companies to disclose communications data.

The focus of this data retention proposal is not crooks; it’s the 23 million law-abiding men, women and children that will go about their daily lives without ever bothering law enforcement. Those 23 million customers include my 93-year-old mum and my 12-year-old niece. We don’t believe that is either necessary or proportionate for law enforcement.

We’ve seen no evidence that justifies surveilling inoffensive customers on the chance that, two years later, some evidence might help an investigation. It’s the equivalent of collecting and storing every single haystack in the country, indexing and filing all the straws, keeping them safe for two years, just in case there’s a needle, somewhere. We don’t know if there’s a needle, but there might be.

I say forget spying on my mother and niece and get on with chasing the crooks.

What will this all cost?

It is hard to measure exactly what this will all cost, but we expect that collecting and keeping every customer’s ‘metadata’ would require the construction of many new data centres, each storing petabytes (that’s 1 billion megabytes!) of information at a cost of tens or hundreds of millions of dollars. There is no suggestion that the government would pay these costs, so our customers will be expected to pick up these costs in the form of a new surveillance tax.

If they need someone to process the full set of metadata down to metadata-minus-content, then there is a significant cost to process the collected metadata and redact it. (Imagine a lot of people with thick black markers, blotting out the content – just like the government does with some Freedom-of-Information requests).

The Government must also consider the privacy implications if Internet providers are to be compelled to collect data on Australians. The vast amount of data stored would prove to be an appealing target for hackers all around the world – creating a risk of information and identity theft in the event that storage of the data is breached.

It’s not right. It’s not Australian, we don’t support it.

To demonstrate the true cost of data retention, we created a useful infographic. Although it highlights the costs to iiNet, just one Internet Service Provider, imagine if this was applied to ALL ISPs!

184 comments

  1. Liam Pomfret says:

    People interested in reading more about the “nothing to hide” fallacy may want to take a look at this (free open access) paper by Daniel J. Solove from the George Washington University Law School. Though it was written in the context of the United States rather than Australia, it makes a great primer on the topic.
    http://papers.ssrn.com/soL3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=998565

    jf3000 Reply:

    There is a good reason why people use Tor – https://www.torproject.org

  2. non says:

    If everyone run search indexers at home, and upload thousands of randomly generated images to Facebook, and send millions of auto generated messages on IM, and automated ‘calls’ that custom programs ignore knowing they’re not real calls, I could go on, what you are left with is so much stored white noise, you’ll need to employ a developing nation just to go through data about one person.

    jb Reply:

    @non, Or a clever bit of software

  3. Jeremy Gregson says:

    I would be interested in seeing the level of indemnity that the government is prepared to offer ISPs against class actions, in the event of the metadata stores being hacked. We have to assume that it is not a matter of “if”, but “when”. What does an ISP have to do to demonstrate a good faith attempt to protect the data, and what consequences will the government compensate victims for?

    Chris Woodruff Reply:

    @Jeremy Gregson, Jeremy hit it – your collected data will (almost) inevitably be accessed by those who do not legally have the right to, or its use will be extended by law to allow wider use. That is the history of information storage, and the future. BTW if non-commercial storage is to be demanded by government then it should publicly budget for the cost – even if the retained data is to be stored by the ISP. We, the Australia people, should have explicit knowledge of the cost being laid on us.

  4. Doug Wilson says:

    Question for iiNet. How effective would a VPN be for preventing the collection of such data, at least from iiNet’s end?

    Anon Reply:

    @Doug Wilson,

    Very, all IINet will see is a connection to a VPN at a time. All other data is encrypted between the hosts.

    Jim Reply:

    Does a VPN slow your computer?
    Is it safe and easy to use?

    Nick Heywood Reply:

    @Doug Wilson, Thanks for asking that Question, Doug

  5. CMOTDibbler says:

    Thank you iiNet. I will one day be in a position to reward you with my custom. Keep going. We need you.

    NJ Reply:

    @CMOTDibbler,

    I didn’t originally choose iiNet based on their stance on privacy, but I do now.

    cecilatriffett Reply:

    I have nothing to hide. but I think if this was to happen I wont have internet it is to risky. having all that information on you just sitting around waiting for the fish to bite.

  6. Dennis says:

    More stand over tactics by this liberal government dead set to interfere with our way of life. How dare they monitor our phones, computers or anything else. They are voted in to do what we want not what they want.

    Jason Reply:

    @Dennis,

    fair crack of the whip this all started prior to Liberal getting in, it is all governments not just Liberal or Labor…

    Nick Reply:

    @Jason, That doesn’t make it OK!

    Tricia Reply:

    @Jason, Sorry I have to agree with Dennis on this it is def the liberal govt.

    Peter Reply:

    @Dennis,

    See mate, now that’s not the right attitude. You should be happy, no… you should be overjoyed that the Liberals got into power here. The Australian public voted them in. We, as a nation, collectively made a choice for those people to be in power. We knew they are liars. We knew where they stood in relation to the NBN (now Fraudband). We knew their opinion on gay marriage (interfering with peoples way of life). We knew exactly who they worked for (Hi Rupert!). We knew exactly what their motives were and what they wanted to achieve. As far as I am concerned this country got EXACTLY what it deserved. It earned it.

    Sometimes people need to take a beating in order to learn since educating themselves does not seem to be a priority. Maybe this will be a lesson to all Australians and the public will make smarter decisions next time.

    Until then, I am glad that at least one ISP is standing up for what is right.

    Check Metadata for name Reply:

    @Peter

    only fools think we have any real choice. The main parties are just as bad as one another, just different spin. Besides, Labor wanted to do exactly the same thing, it’s Labor’s briefing paper from 2010 that iiNet are responding to!

    Guy Reply:

    @Peter, Yep it just goes to show how hopeless that other lot were if we knew all that and still voted for this lot.
    You people can all have your opinions on this and run around with conspiracy fears and emotive language but the fact is the moment the TV cameras show the images of the first successful terror attack on Aussie soil there will be a stampede towards strategies like these. Maybe it is time to admit that the world has changed and we need to change with it. You wise people obviously have a handle on this type of technology so instead of being so fearful of it why not start talking about ways to make it work properly and keep the collected information safe. Its always easy to be negative about change not smart just easy.

    Phil Gorman Reply:

    The whole Anglosphere is getting the debauched democracies it deserves for allowing itself to be dumbed down by the corporate media. Welcome to the Corpocracy of Australia, sponsored by Rupert Murdoch and the API. In this brute utopia you will be treated as guilty until proven innocent. Total Surveillance is a natural accessory for the modern police state.

    @Peter,

    Ryan Reply:

    @Dennis, Can any one thing be mentioned without some tool turning it into a political argument.

    Jane Lincoln Reply:

    Thank you Dennis, couldn’t have said it better myself.

    Debby Reply:

    @Ryan, Well said Ryan!

    PeterL Reply:

    @Dennis,

    Leave the politics out of it, they are all as bad as each other!!

    Michael Reply:

    @PeterL,
    Dennis if I rember correctly it was the last Labour Govt in its early days who wanted to block certain websites that the deemed inappropriate (aka China). No policy prior to the 2007 election. And then 2010, “there will be no carbon tax in any Govt. I lead”. Who are the liars?

    Michael Reply:

    @PeterL,
    Dennis if I remember correctly it was the last Labour Govt in its early days who wanted to block certain websites that the deemed inappropriate (aka China). No policy prior to the 2007 election. And then 2010, “there will be no carbon tax in any Govt. I lead”. Who are the liars?

  7. Ben says:

    And in this article, a truth was spoken.

    Peter Reply:

    @BenCareful, Ben, and that’s no lie!

    Lip Service. Reply:

    @Ben,
    It’s a pity it’s lip service.
    Turning their back on protecting Australia,

    Mike Reply:

    @Lip Service., By “their” I hope you are meaning the government – this has nothing to do with “protecting Australia”, it’s all about control and Big Brother. If the gov’t needs targeted information on an individual or individuals, let them get a warrant and target the individual(s).

    This blanket targeting of all citizens is just the thin edge of the wedge, it labels us all as guilty and will cost us all, in both the pocket and our civil liberties.

    Chris Reply:

    @Mike, One particular big brother too, the US of A. That is the common factor behind both of our major political parties out grovelling each other to get more heinous spying powers on our own population. Don’t forget Pine Gap in all of this from which a Starlifter load of DVD’s full of Australian’s phone text and data goes each week to the huge NSA bunkers in the States for analysis in the hunt for so called terrorists.,

    Ivette Reply:

    we have to start organizing really seriously to protect our civil liberties we are already living in a fascist state – many of the so call third world countries plus china – are turning their citizens into slaves already, civil liberties gone, we have to wake up! big time! is a global take-over from the big corporations and bankers posting as goverments

  8. Ken says:

    imagine the amounts of IT techs we had today. And not to forget the vast amount of emerging IT techs, websites, apps, softwares, etc. if these are contributing meta data, how many super computers and storage center we have to put on earth. look at the new one built by Facebook. It functions to store data, and what else? its just like piles of paper documents that occupy your room and give you less and lesser place to live.

  9. Adrian says:

    It is a good job. But now I want iinet to do as they meant to and complete my internet connection. Been waiting since February and I’m still told they can’t provide yet but to just wait a bit longer.

    JB Reply:

    @Adrian, Also,
    Shame iinet does allow sending encrypted email unless you pay for it. iinet is not as innocent as they would like you to beleive.

  10. Daniel Rossi says:

    So i was right the cost of storage and to administer that RAID storage would be huge and kill business. It’s almost criminal and I would tell them to shove it before having to ask customers to pay more. I would make the people who voted these fascists in pay for it though.

    I was a bit confused by metadata, metadata is a header term obviously. I thought it was just storing logs which get quite huge really but this is full content along the wire including images. The space required is unimaginable such a waste of time.

    How exactly technically do you capture this by packet sniffing ? Does the routers store logs or something ? I would have thought only if it were a proxy server would it retain some kind of access log which just gets rolled over to prevent the server falling over from lack of space lol but just the scale of this is insane. You would need scalable cloud storage obviously and the cost of that is just insane also.

    Way to go killing business idiot fascist economy destroyers.

    If they worry about security why not go after the real criminals attacking people everyday like the spammers and scammers and credit card thieves.

    Brad Reply:

    @Daniel Rossi, An example of metadata is the metadata from each photo that you take. If you use any mainstream image viewing software to open an electronic photo there will be an option that will take you to the metadata for the image. That can include date picture taken, who took it, camera used to take it and a whole variety of other data related to that image.

  11. Robert says:

    Congratulations iiNet. You are the only ISP to stand up to those who wish to implement this Totalitarian Big Brother Police State with its reverse logic.( “freedom is surveillance” etc).The other two (Telstra and Optus) were quick to acquiesce to this regime.Watch your back.

  12. Luke says:

    This makes me proud to be an iinet customer. It’s precisely why I switched from TPG after your High Court win against the MPAA. Keep up the good work!

    Richard Reply:

    @Luke, I think TPG is a major shareholder of iinet.

    Nick Reply:

    @Luke, With ya Luke!

  13. Simon says:

    With out doubt Steve you are correct and right in your stance with regard to the collection of client data. I am currently studying IT Security and Criminology with Hons 5th Year.
    Its it now in Australia that citizens are guilty and have to prove there innocents?
    Australia is country where a fair go is a right and our governments seem to be degrading this right every year.
    If people in Australia want a fair go then Its time to stand up to the Governments that do not give people a fair go.
    Or is it ,ore so now that some are more equal than others.
    May your GOD save you if our governments do not listen to the citizens of Australia.

  14. Chris says:

    My feeling is that mandatory data retention is not about catching the ‘terrorists’, or reds under the bed, or whatever it is this year. It is more likely a part of the slippery slope towards enforcement of media monopolies.

    By forcing ISP’s to collect your ‘metadata’, media companies are then able to make requests via the police and security apparatus to access your online activities. Whether used for fear induction or actual prosecution, the end result is the same: your money is used against you to protect the interests of companies and corporations, which are more important than you.

  15. Josh says:

    You guys are fighting the battles we can’t fight ourselves. Thank you.

    macca Reply:

    @Josh,
    We can all fight this one vote at a time and one issue at a time.
    Search Getup and see what you think.
    My thanks also to iinet

  16. Steve says:

    Great to see iinet making a stand on this issue. Another reason I’m glad I decided to go with them.

  17. Yowie says:

    Brandis will say this it is necessary to keep an eye on returning jihadists. But when they sign the Transpacific Partnership Agreement and downloading becomes highly illegal with draconian penalties, guess what?

  18. lip_service says:

    Based on the statement, I assume IINet is fully compliant to all aspects of the AGD’s requirements, comply to all requests and requiremnts of the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act.

    Thicks Reply:

    @lip_service, Hey lip_service, most certainly IINet is fully complaint with all the legal aspects of the AGD’s requests and requirements under the Telecommunication (Interception and Access) Act, because most certainly if they did not there would be serious criminal and financial repercussions they would face under Australian Law.

  19. Ben says:

    Thank you for standing up for your customers and for doing the right thing.

  20. bachaven says:

    This is an extremely well thought out article on a very sensitive topic, one that both our Liberal and Labor politicians appear to have single-minded and draconian views. In NSW Police encourage citizens to anonymously “dob-in” other citizens through the Crime Stoppers web portal. Using the doctrine of public interest immunity Police refuse to allow this information to be released. In a recent hearing before the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal, the Director of the Crime-Stoppers Unit, Mr. Beatson admitted on oath that it was “not his role” to check the validity of the information received by his unit, but rather that of the Local Area Commander to which the information related. However after ten years of dealing with FOI applications to NSWPolice reveals that often Police do NOT investigate the validity of the information they receive, it just stays there “investigated” on the COPS computer system. Police call this information “intelligence” and resist any attempt to amend on the basis that the information is inaccurate, misleading, out of date or incomplete. Indeed, in one Tribunal case, Police argued that the information should be retained in its original form even if it could be proved to be inaccurate, misleading and so forth. As the previous Labor NSW Government repealed the FOI Act and as Police are EXEMPT from the privacy principles in the PPIP Act, it is no longer possible to seek judicial review of a Police refusal to amend information, even if you believe it is inaccurate, misleading, out of date or incomplete. Given that Police refuse to release anonymous intelligence provided to them, their refusal to amend is of little interest as you can’t amend what you don’t know. In effect this means that NSW Police possess substantial information about citizens which is unverified, unsubstantiated and uninvestigated. Much of this information could be false and maliciously provided to Police, a fact which Mr. Beatson agreed. It is clear that like the Federal Government, NSW Police wish to possess every piece of information about people they can get their grubby hands on “just in case” it MIGHT lead somewhere. But if Police do not have the resources to investigate every piece of information they receive then one has to wonder what use they put this information to. As an historian of the Third German Reich, I am very much aware of the use that such information was made by the Gestapo. I sincerely suggest to our politicians that you start reading about Police practices during that period and their consequences before it is too late.

    Nick Reply:

    @bachaven, LMAO. You bring these topics up today? And your labelled some sort conspiracist or alarmist. Meanwhile, in a galaxy not far away, and just the other day? ISIS/ISIL and their cronies would love access to your stuff! So, today the government is changing the rules based on weird sensitivities. OK, No problem. So, what if the entire system changes. “A butterfly, flapping it wings in the amazon, can lead to a hurricane across the other side of the planet” Never a truer word spoken! So Psychos acquire power on the other side of the planet…. and because our leaders are frightened, they change the rules here. Huh? What!?!?! Delusional! and void of principal.

  21. Phil says:

    Great article once again Steve. Here’s a good article I came across showing how corruptible our polliticians are. http://www.zdnet.com/au/lobby-pushing-for-australian-piracy-crackdown-donates-millions-7000026421/
    The same company that took iinet to court about this a few years ago have changed there name and are major donators to both the liberal and labour parties. $4 million in total. Sucks the Australian peoples privacy is easily sold out for only 4 mill.

  22. Sally says:

    Steve Dalby and iinet – you are brave good people and an excellent ethical company. Thanks for doing what you can to protect our fundamental freedoms.
    If the Government can gather all this stuff on innocent people, let’s make it work both ways – citizens and the media should be able to gather all this same stuff on our politicians.

  23. Andrew says:

    Welcome to police state fascism central 2.0.

    Thank you iinet for standing up against this blatant grab for “metadata” and we must remember 2 + 2 always = 5.

    For the nub above stating “Can any one thing be mentioned without some tool turning it into a political argument?” Wake up to yourself, most human interactions are political, this is political the “government” (read corporation) is involved in this or see the proof of this here.

    https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/805157/000134100410002039/0001341004-10-002039-index.htm

    Also thanks for standing up to the alphabet gang when you fought them in court on our behalf.

  24. Matt says:

    If this occurs, please make sure you separate out the associated costs and call them “surveillance tax” on every single invoice. Perhaps also note each month the volume of data currently stored on that customer on behalf of the government.

    James Reply:

    @Matt,

    Brilliant idea. Complete transparency.

    Michelle Reply:

    @James, they won’t be able to do that. There’s a law proposed that prohibits publishing anything remotely related to “national security”. The stored data will be for “national security” purposes.

    Steve Reply:

    Better still make sure your invoices read “Australian Labour Party surveillance tax”

  25. Nel says:

    Thank you muchly for standing up for your customers and the rights of a free uncensored internet and for doing the right thing.

  26. Phil says:

    Since the law got passed today that mean you are recording everything as of now?

  27. Thomas says:

    I think a new article may be in order here, as the government has called for a “public” consultation on the matter.
    http://www.ag.gov.au/Consultations/Pages/Onlinecopyrightinfringementpublicconsultation.aspx

    I say “public” because while anyone is free to submit a form, the questions and desired answers are highly focused on matters of legislation; an area the general public, or at least myself, are not particularly well-versed in. I know at least a few questions there have left me scratching my head, and I feel that the construction of the submission in this manner is intentional, as a way to draw more submissions from copyright focused groups and those in support of it, rather than those against it.

    The other glaring problem I see with the form is that there’s nothing about what measures should be taken, or whether they should be taken at all; the entire form is based around measures that will be taken, and the responses are instead aiming to get feedback on how to go about the implemented measures, and in essence, to what extent people are willing to put up with.

    And frankly, I’m very much opposed to that. It seems to me like they’re only pretending to listen to the public; like this entire consultation is merely a guise where they can claim the public supported their decisions without actually giving people a choice.

  28. Dave from accounts says:

    As a new zealander that works in the Australian telco sector, Tony Abbot needs to catch leadacitus and fast because our muppet government tends to follow suite since they have no brains of their own, wheres a red neck when you need one…

    Eric Reply:

    @Dave from accounts, The government, politicians, et al don’t appear to have a single brain cell between them. NONE of them singly or collectively would/could NOT have come up with the idea of “Hey! let’s collect all Australian citizens internet browsing history and….” then do what with it? This has all been instigated by the movie studios in the US because people are downloading “their” movies instead of going to the cinemas and paying those ridiculous prices. Yes there are people that download movies and then sell for a profit, they are the ones that need to be caught and then there are those that download movies for THEIR personal enjoyment. I would say that most of IINET customers are the latter. Blame the government for not being able to stand on its own legs even with the aid of crutches but also being propped up the a%$e by the USA.

  29. Andrew says:

    I have just sent an angry email to my parliamentary representative about these proposed laws. I then thought I would do the same for my ISP. Imagine my joy when I found this blog post!

    Well done guys, I applaud your morals and your stand against these proposed laws.

  30. Costly says:

    Steve

    I will bet you will be rubbing your hands together on this as with all ISP’s, if they pay for it .
    Why should an ISP pay for the extra staff and equipment and time to plan ,design and setup of your infrastructure ? for data security and secure transmission plus the reporting etc that each ISP will find itself doing.

    On top of that each time your ISP grows the scalability of your data retention plans is logarithmic!,and possibly the staff numbers to maintain the equipment!.

    Just dont tell the government that its easier to have the 3+ major feeds out of AUS ( USSR now) including satellites ,monitored than to have every AUS ( USSR) ISP contribute and provide a service which was never in their charter .
    I hope you and the other ISPs fight this on costing alone ,let alone the legal requirments.

    All the Best !.

    Sam Reply:

    NSA and the United States and then the UKs even bigger Big Brother to US Spying not the Former Soviet Union or China is the correct anology

  31. Veronica Haines says:

    At the very least we need to force the ‘government’ to firstly guarantee, at their (our) cost, the safe storage of data; to state exactly what they will legally be able to access; to put in black and white what information they will be able to use to charge, or as Turnbull and Brandis so openly want, to fine people. For instance if they are saying that this is only to catch terrorists (which is clearly a lie) then they must introduce laws stating data retention cannot be used for anything except acts or potential acts of terrorism. But then this government has already removed 4000+ laws that it didn’t consider worth keeping, Laws to force VPN’s to also store data are currently being formulated in Europe and no doubt Australia so whilst some are safe now they won’t be for long.

    Nick Reply:

    @Veronica Haines, To be honest Veronica. When analysed? We don’t really want the State doing damn well anything! What decisions has the State made that have the desired outcome? Ever!

  32. Judith says:

    The speed with which the world heard the conversation between the people involved in shooting down the Malaysian Airlines aircraft should tell everyone that every conversation is being monitored already.
    What happened to the requirement to get a warrant to search or tap? At least the “police” needed to justify their application for a warrant and had to have grounds for watching a suspected criminal. This monitoring means exactly what was said above – everyone is suspect now and will have to prove their innocence. It is such an awful violation of basic rights that it is tempting to go back to snail mail and clandestine meetings rather than using any electronic communications.

  33. Katherine says:

    Can I please suggest to those who read this, write to your Federal Member of Parliament stating your view on this considered proposal. Then ask your family and mates to write.
    One letter has little impact. A letter from many constituents on the same subject does get a politicians attention.

  34. troy says:

    What’s the motive for data retention? This is not just happening in Australia! Do people not know about the following? There just doesn’t seem to be much discussion about it in that context.

    http://www.democracynow.org/2014/7/29/jeremy_scahill_leaked_us_terrorist_watchlist

    https://firstlook.org/theintercept/article/2014/07/23/blacklisted/

    People might be interested in the petition too?

    https://www.citizensnotsuspects.org.au/

  35. Frances says:

    Thankyou for making a stand. This is completely unacceptable behaviour by the government.

  36. John says:

    The bottom line it is Big Brother surveillance and an invasion of confidentiality and privacy. In the business world is it a breach of the laws to protect commercial confidentiality. they may water it down and try to convince you that if you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to fear. This is not true. A small step and then it can be amended and amended to meet any objective a government wants. The present parliament is doing its best to usurp our lawful government that is a Constitutional Monarchy with the government being the people and the parliament is its servant, not the way parliament would try and convince us. The rogue parliament has changed the constitution without approval via a referendum with the aim of bringing in admiralty/corporate/UCC law where all of our rights will be taken away. It is the Common Law rights within the Commonwealth constitution that amounts to our rule of Law.
    Political factions have sold us out and created laws that make them above the law in complete breach of the Commonwealth Constitution. Remember the Constitution does not include political parties, hence for practical purposes parliamentarians should be Independents accountable to their constituents with a brief to carry out the Will of the People.

  37. Pierre Proske says:

    Keep up the good work!

  38. Frank says:

    Stupid government with a stupid ideas, NO offence but hire a real cop that does not sit on the desk to spy. Thank you Iinet for keeping us update, I will now stop watching porn :P just to be safe.

  39. Red says:

    Happy Wednesday.

    That’s fantastic info & news! Thanks.
    And what a wonderful forum provided for the ‘poor-me, downtrodden socialists’ to revisit their eternal moanings.
    (And the iiNet pocket-pissers must give you a lump?.. There?)

    I just wish that my attempt to change my plan, 27 hours ago, notified me as well (even without pictures).

    ‘S all marketing, isn’t it? Boxes ticked & on we go.
    Sorta like a gov’t department really.
    Shall we now all dash-off for a latte?

    One PowerBall!

    Cheers
    Red

  40. Anthony Drexel says:

    So much data to be collected that it will take an entire police force to go though it, to find what? Probably zero and nothing to do with terrorist activity as when this starts, all terrorists will assume their communications are now being monitored and start using codes and encryption, including the bad people who are currently under observation by a court order but don’t know it. It is counter productive and a direct invasion of privacy. Leave Big Brother for TV.
    NB. Listening to our Politicians talking…They know very little about the internet apart from “That’s where we get our ministerial porn”

  41. Ron Salmon says:

    After watching the live address on ABC News last week where the head of ASIO and the no2 AFP talked about their submissions, concerns and intentions, I feel a lot less worried. No I don’t particularly want masses of data relating to my web adventures being stored.
    No I don’t like the idea of looking over my shoulder if I search information on a controversial topic in order to be well informed. But if all it amounts to is the ability to prevent some sadist from hacking my head off in a slow and gruesome manner, blowing up a primary school class, or the spread of sharia law (really, can anyone justify female circumcision!?), or genocide, and the erosion of humanity, shouldn’t we embrace (albeit with conditions) these sorts of changes?

  42. Mick says:

    Defence Sigint and GCHQ must be running out of storage space eh – Mr Orwell just had the era wrong I suppose.

  43. Dave says:

    My contract with iinet was up recently and I was actually thinking of shopping around to see if there was a better deal out there(I doubt there is anyway)…….after reading this I just decided to stay right where I am….I have nothing to hide but I still don’t want anyone looking over my shoulder

  44. Johnno says:

    “Nothing to hide then you have nothing you worry about” say the spooks, cops and politicians. Fallacious. But if it were true then let me put a camera in your bedroom after all if you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to worry about…right? Let the politicians and the spooks suck on that “conventional wisdom”.

  45. Bunny says:

    The solution is obvious. Simply collect all the metadata from George Brandis’ and Tony Abbott’s private on-line escapades and publish it. After all, their “if you’ve got nothing to hide you’ll have nothing to worry about” stance must surely apply to themselves.

    You will then find that any intrusive legislation will be quickly repealed. Nothing surer.

    Simples.

  46. Pauline says:

    Strongly support iiNet’s position on the proposed mandatory data retention policy recently resurrected by my Government. By revisiting this well worn idea, I suspect this Government is using a political trick to distract attention away from a much bigger, nastier, threatening policy idea lurking in the shadows – they have no inclination or intention to act on data retention. However, if ISPs were compelled to engage in this deplorable practice, then I’d make my voice heard, unplug and go offline: a minor inconvenience for me; a problem for my ISP; and a much bigger problem for a Government seeking validation [and re-election]. Switching to iiNet has proven to be one of my better decisions – wouldn’t recommend anyone get between me and my new ISP

  47. Peter Bright says:

    It’s just another attempt by the USA to monitor everything in the name of security.

    The Oz government is its mindless puppet.

  48. Hagen says:

    It’s great that iiNet is applying the spotlight, in an effort to sure up civilian support, however the above article doesn’t, much like every politician that’s tried to explain this mysterious ‘metadata’, use very good examples.

    The contents of the Twitter status update would, when posted via. the Twitter API, be encrytped over HTTPS. By default. Facebook too, forces users onto HTTPS. By default. The ABC website images… it may be the case that Big Brother needs/wants to know the name of images you are viewing, but the last image search I did on Google (also HTTPS, by default) reveals fairly useless image names.

    HTTPS is detailed here, and is identified by the little green lock you see in the browser address bar when visiting, say, a banking site. All traffic passing over an HTTPS session is encrypted (irrespective of who’s in the middle). It is up to the website operator, to apply HTTPS, not the user. So there is a relatively simple solution (already happening) – website providers shift to forcing encrypted sessions only.

    The thing to remember here is that we have politicians and laypeople worrying over something they have little understanding of. True, we cannot all be across everything that pops up on the news, but is it a wonder why you haven’t heard major concerns from those who work in IT, specifically networking? The government (pre and current) appears to think that traffic can be monitored in real-time, which it cannot. It also appears to have no understanding of data storage, search processing or the man power required to deliver such a project. A comparison might be to Google – it is Google’s business to search; and they do it well. They have data centres across the globe, thousands of staff, 16 years in the search game, and coffers that would make your eyes water. They also wish to lay a trans-pacific fibre cable, some 8,000km long.

    The ‘government’ wishes to ‘store’ and ‘search’ our (as yet insufficiently defined) ‘metadata’. Good luck I say.

  49. Oscar M says:

    Thank you the iiNET crew for going against metadata collection in a reasoned, transparent and uncompromising way.

    Metadata is Big Brother writ throughout every aspect of our lives, wherever electronic information exists and even outside of these nodes.

  50. Ian says:

    Perhaps George Brandis could show good faith by sharing with the population all of his and his families metadata, so that we can see how we needn’t fear anything if we have nothing to hide.
    Keep up the good fight iinet.

  51. Seventy 2 says:

    I just thank the lord I will not be here in a few years to see the world you yobbos are creating. The whole world is in a mess and if you put more time getting of your back sides and doing something constructive (like dig a post hole or whatever) instead of wherever you go now in this globe you are all tweeting, texting or whatever you call it… for gods sake get a life, start controlling and put some respect into your darling little wrapped in cotton wool children.

    THATS WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS RESPECT FOR EACH OTHER rather than ME ME ME!,If I planted a green tree you lot would complain and want a blue one?

    Oh! and by the way Mr Policeman I have nothing to hide so come inside and thank you Government for trying to protect us from what will be inevitable unless something is done we will all face an arrow on the ceiling!

  52. Andrew says:

    It is great to see iinet standing up for what is right. Now I wonder what I can do as an individual to help stop these scarry changes. As we all know politicians are usually not that bright when it comes to making public policy.

  53. razorbak says:

    what a load of crap another way to control people and what they do. you are free to do whatever the gov tells you. gov are so much like a business and people are its product they need more control on their products. total bs

  54. Quills says:

    I have already sent my letter of protest to Malcolm Turnbull I suggest everyone else should.

  55. Skip says:

    This is exactly the reason why I have been with iinet for 5 Years..Well done!!!!!

  56. John Gates says:

    How much data is kept now. What you say about the planned retention, is it the truth , is it just about costs to IINet, ??. The I don’t like Brandis, “bicause’ crowd,they can’t realise there are people that may be planning the same activity here that we see each night on T.V., We are to a dedicated number, like most people in western society, infidels. Do we really want to just turn a blind eye as what happens in so many places, are we that indoctrinated to see good everywhere, and hide behind the Mate it can’t happen here in Oz. I think IINet should help and be part of our National Interest instead of off the bat, mudding the present discussion. This is not all politics it is the National Interest.

  57. R Ockenden says:

    There seems to be a world wide BIG BROTHER agenda going on here led by the US. This scares the hell out of me as we know nothing about the people behind BIG BROTHER and they know everything about us. We commemorate our veterans fighting for our freedoms. We have both govts working to erode them. LEST WE FORGET people. Thanks iiNet. We MUST fight this.

  58. Shane says:

    Thankyou iiNet, you’re an unusual beast in a forest of monsters.

    Since when has a corporate entity attempted to protect the common man above profit or greed?

    Your company is a forerunner for what is to come … corporate responsibility and answering to the people, not govt or shadow entities.

    Keep up the good work.

    If there is anything your customers can do to assist in the resistance to this police state action, then please call on us.

    I suggest everyone share this info around.

  59. R Ockenden says:

    There seems to be a world wide BIG BROTHER agenda going on here led by the US. This scares the hell out of me as we know nothing about the people behind BIG BROTHER and they know everything about us. We commemorate our veterans fighting for our freedoms. We have both govts working to erode them. LEST WE FORGET. Thanks iiNet. We MUST fight this.

  60. Simon says:

    Thank you for informing us and also taking a stand Iinet, we are behind you.

  61. R Ockenden says:

    Every comment I make, I get the rely that it has already been said. I’ve already protested to my MP. Thanks iiNet. Collectively we MUST fight this.

  62. Andrew says:

    The Australian Government wants to control the people of Australia by monitoring what we do under the guise of it is for the security of the nation. If they want to be serious about crime and the country’s security then remove speed limits, redirect Police generating revenue from speeding fines to investigating violence and theft. Deport all people that have been allowed into our country over the years that are poor, sick, can’t speak English, will not embrace our culture and are known criminals.

  63. Brian says:

    Thanks for your stand against collection of data and I fully support you. I have a friend that is very high up in IBM and on seeing him not long ago he informed me that even he is afraid how much information and data can be collected at this point in time from all the clouds that are linked. So its total bull sh– what the government is saying. Keep up the good work and if money is an issue to fighting this please don’t hesitate to contact me for a donation.

  64. dyzio75 says:

    This is fantastic article.
    I was born behind iron curtain. Freedom is not being given once for all. We need to fight for it. Above we do have the best example. It is said that this initiative is going to be introduced to catch criminals. Who are criminals? Are they the people braking the law or perhaps the people creating such a new law?
    This question need to be answered urgently.

  65. Frankie says:

    Why does no one refer to the verdict of the European Constitutional Court? And ask the politicians to comment on that? It is typically Australien to ignore sentences from other democracies why it is not in line with democracy!!!
    Data retention was declared as too invasive and there was no proof that it helped in any manner. In Europe they had to store the data only for 6 months and Australia want to store it for 2 years!!!
    It declared everyone as guilty until proven innocent!!! This is NOT possible in a democracy!!! It is a sign of a dictatorship!!!
    Data retention was active for a while and they didn’t catch only one through data retention. All was normal police work.

    After the European Constitutional Court handed over their sentence, it took the ISPs over 3 months to delete all the collected data for just 6 months!!!

    Furthermore are some politicians in Europe who proved that the meta data is suitable to track someone completely!!! Even if you only have the stations where your mobile is logged into.

    It was in Europe the same either, that the content “industry” wanted to protect their old fashioned business model because they missed the future.
    The biggest cockiness is that the content “industry” wants to pay the ISPs and their customers for their activities. WE PEOPLE DO NOT CARE IF A BUSINESS CAN NOT STAND THE MARKET.
    And people would pay for content if available soon and in a good quality. But the content industry unfortunately missed that chance!!!

    Here is a lot wrong in Australia. Why does police and all others get more and more invasive rights and possibilities while the privacy acts for people contains nearly nothing to protect them from invasive laws and activities? Another interesting questions for “our” politicians.
    The people who have such politicians as friends need no enemies any more!

    No one declares me as a possible law breaker – especially not a government!!!

  66. Andrew says:

    I am a serving police officer, I have worked in the areas of major and organised crime as a Detective, I have used telecommunications interception with lawfully issued warrants and I am appalled. This is just wrong.we are talking about retaining this information without any legal process at all. Warrant applications are time consuming, detailed and you would be surprised at just how much information Is needed to obtain one. This is as it should be, not random collection of everyone’s information. Australians should be as outraged but this proposal as they would be about random searches by police on the street. IT IS WRONG.

  67. Chris says:

    And that, ladies and gentlemen is why we’re seeing so much about “Terror” in the news again.
    Create the monster. Create the hero.
    Not saying that Terrorism isn’t real. It is. I’m saying that the new laws are why it’s back in our faces.
    They want us to “fear” so that we will comply with giving away our freedom.

  68. Shawn says:

    Excellent job iiNet! You’re standing on the right side of history.

  69. John says:

    Well done, guys! Data retention = no internet as far as I am concerned. How about some data retention in the PM’s cabinet discussions, just in case they are ever accused (heaven forbid) of lying.

  70. George Brzezina says:

    NO NO NO

  71. Sara says:

    Great post! Thank you for a fantastic article, Steve. It is illuminating. But here’s the thing. I don’t want to just say I support you (I do), I want to show that I support you. How?
    I would love it if you included a call to action. My fingers were just itching to support a petition or anything similar at the end of the blog. Am I the only one? Start a petition. Please!!!!

  72. Brian Anderson says:

    Thanks iinet for going to bat for the little man again. Hope you catch no flack from Telstra, Optus or the federal govt over it.

  73. joe mcdermott says:

    what is the problem unless you are doing ‘naughty’ things. I have nothing to hide & neither should you.

  74. Bob says:

    Perhaps someone should obtain and publish the metadata for the websites that politicians use and visit in their private lives :)

  75. Joe says:

    It’s hard to understand why anyone would allow this “metadata” grabbing law to pass. Can politicians not see how this will be another step on the way of controlling the freedom of the Internet. And hence freedom of speech. And freedom in general. Everything about the future world of humanity points to humanity becoming controlled. Governments are introducing more and more beaurocratic red tape and draconian measures at every turn. Life is becoming harder, when really it should be getting easier. There is no “power to the people” anymore, as the people don’t have a voice or are not being listened to.

  76. Leo says:

    THIS GOVERMENT IS THE WORST EVER! PEOPLE ARE ALOUD TO HAVE “PRIVACY”! LETS US GET A NEW ONE NEXT ELECTION!

  77. Leo says:

    THIS GOVERMENT IS THE WORST EVER! PEOPLE ARE ALOUD TO HAVE “PRIVACY”!

  78. Adrian says:

    I have to say that iiNet service in my area is suboptimal.

    Having read this, it has kind of scared me about the way our society is going. It is also heartening to see an entity fighting it.

    To that end I will out up with bad service to support the company supporting my privacy.

  79. Philip says:

    Medical and legal professions will suffer and/or be exterminated by this draconian law.

  80. Cosmic Rhapsody says:

    Hey I am all for Data Matching (not) if it is introduced then the ISP’s should charge companies like Hollywood Studios $1,000 per “bit” of information they are forced to collect, and give us the end user the internet for free.

    I agree with the right of these companies to protect their “Intellectual Rights” however I do not agree they have the right to invade our privacy and at our expense, if they want to “protect their intellectual rights” let them pay for it.

  81. Ian says:

    No government should be trusted with anything, especially personal info.

  82. Paul says:

    This is outrageous! It is alarming that this isn’t a large issue in our media, if more people where aware of the situation there would be an uproar. Thank you for the link to this petition https://www.citizensnotsuspects.org.au/ but we need to know the date these laws are being decided on so we can organise a protest! It’s laws like these (Patriot Act etc.) that exponentially erode our Privacy Rights which will lead us to a Owellian 1984 style Police State where it will then be too late to protest!

  83. MArtin078 says:

    Dear Steve and dear iinet team.

    Just wanted to thank you for your activities and resistance regarding this new attempt to compromise democracy. I am extremely satisfied to be a customer of a company that takes its customers’ rights seriously and shows proactive engagement with the public without an immediate commercial objective. Bravo!

  84. Paul Connolly says:

    This is just another infringement on our rights more people die from bee strings than terrorist attacks.

    The American NSA Juggernaut is probably back dooring this data world wide without peoples knowledge.

    God Bless America and God help Australia

  85. Ohhh says:

    It’s pretty well known that governments are in the pockets of very very very big businesses and corporations. You think incredibly accurate profiles and databases on each and every one of us won’t eventually exist as this monster grows? A wonderful tool for the super-rich to control the masses with. We exist to serve them.

  86. Bob says:

    Your argument about retention of metadata is compelling but being totally ignored by Government and will continue to be ignored until they see votes in very large numbers. ISP’s have not got a collective strategy and there is not even a petition on change.org so until the government sees votes they will continue with their plans because while most agree with your case they actually do not act.

  87. Steve says:

    regarding “if you have nothing to hide what’s the problem” The problem is we don’t trust you.
    And ultimately who’s looking at your information? This is all in the name of national security they want to do this because they don’t trust us.
    Steve

  88. Scott says:

    Why I went with a company run by techs and not animals that talk

  89. rob says:

    Should they bring these laws in, I has to ask how long before they wish to use the data for other puposes? when they have another brainstorming idea.
    It is a gross invasion of ones privacy in many ways.The law needs to be very specific to what the data is to be stored and who uses it.
    Who will compenstate me if all my personal data ends up in the wrong hands???
    They seem to live in a dream world and continue to push us further into a Nanny state with every day gone.

  90. Jurgen Loehndorf says:

    It looks to me that the Australian voters
    ( more than half) are not the smartest around! How else could they’ve voted those people into power? Top ministers don’t even
    know the basics of computers and the Internet? That includes our minister of communication, what’s his name again??

  91. Marnel Mangan says:

    If this is called a Government initiative then why should we carry the burden? This is another wasteful project of the petty Abbot Government. As clients, we all should be against it until they throw this idea off their heads. Marnel

  92. Martin says:

    Would using an anonymiser website such as anonymous.org be an effective method of inhibiting the collection of metadata?

  93. Garry says:

    A major problem with metadata being available to the authorities is that there will be some “wombat” within those control organisations who will assume/interpret some irrelevant circumstance from the data examined despite the intention and fact of the matter which was the origin of the data. A policeman or security agent CAN NOT know what was involved or intended unless they hold other evidence & I would expect innocent citizens being placed in inappropriate and possibly expensive positions that they will have to defend themselves from.

  94. Gwen West says:

    I have been a long time customer of iinet. I am so glad that it is a company that looks after it’s customers and has the guts to take on the government. Go you guys…..
    Whilst I have nothing to hide, I still value my privacy.

  95. Rick Van Den Berg says:

    I have been a customer with iinet for quite a number of years now and they have always done the right by me and I’m sure will always continue to do so, and I thank you people kindly for that.I would like to ask if the Govt plans to “Monitor” our PC’s and what we check out on them, I do hope it works both ways, because [and I speak from experience], there are a lot of people in various Govt departments who look at sites they shouldn’t be looking at.I also would like to know if anyone can tell me why for the last 6 weeks my Windows Internet Explorer is provided by the Government.Should I be worried about this?Has it already started?Am I just being a silly old bugger and worrying about this for nothing?Reading a lot of the comments, I notice 1 thing, and that is that there are a lot of very smart, friendly and clever people using iinet as their ISP.Thank you to those people for taking the time to add your comments.

  96. Nick says:

    Anonymous are gunna love this s… if it goes through.

  97. William says:

    We must remember that the Police are a private organization with an ABN. That does not give them the power they purport to believe they have! The (police, shire, government) staff need to know who they are working for and where their own consciences must step in when asked (told) to perform an action that will infringe on someone else’s privacy. One way to do that would be to question themselves if an action they are performing would be okay if it were being performed on themselves.

  98. Murray Paddick says:

    Thank you Iinet for your clear and comprehensive explanation. At last I begin to understand what this really means. Keep up your efforts on our behalf, and more power to a truly ethical company – who could perhaps begin by briefing the Attorney General!

  99. Steven says:

    Before the government whats to do this, it needs to update is old stale technical laws and find a away to not to put blame on the individuals.

    Even recording music from the radio on a cassette tape is still regarded as breaking a copyright law.

    There is a lot of free stuff to be found on the net, and that same thing can have a price on it. What is right and what is wrong?

    For the government to make this work need to make order in chaos on a daily basis with out spying on other peoples privacy.

    Because for one thing. spying on people is a form of breaking the law. eg: wikileaks/phone hacking scandal.

    And two because that is a fractal calculation that should work in a small scale testing, with the result equal to the same as a global effect.

    So inconclusive, the government needs to get a clue before doing anything stupid.

  100. John says:

    Two questions, if ASIO, the Federal and state police even remotely achieve their aim of tracking my internet and phone information for whatever reason, will I be allowed to access anything they won’t but might invent,under the “FREEDOM OF INFORMATION” act? If not then “WHY NOT”?

  101. John says:

    Start by storing their information and see if they want law enforcement agencies finding out about their innate corrupt practices.

  102. Stu says:

    It’s all fear; that’s what they’re motivated by. a fearful entity is a dangerous one. Abuse of power is so easily achieved, only a few small steps to get there. They’ll run your ear ragged with justifications.

  103. Hamish says:

    Thanks for all the fish (time for a VPN)good luck iinet engages TOR browser …

  104. You Cranium Separatist says:

    Reading the transcript of the senate hearing featuring iinet has left me dumbfounded about the comprehension of the so called adults in charge. It’s scary stuff – they don’t know what they want or what they want it for. Here is a bit of cherry picking:

    Mr Dalby. “We are already seeing wearable devices, with people wearing watches and other devices on their bodies as they train, exercise or just go about their daily lives.”
    Senator IAN MACDONALD. “Dick Tracy used to do that in the fifties.”
    Mr Dalby. “My 12-year-old niece, why collect her data? My 93-year-old mother, why collect her data? It is not right.”
    Senator IAN MACDONALD. “You do not know that until you have analysed the data of your 93-year-old mother.”
    Senator IAN MACDONALD “But how can they get that if they do not have this wide body of stuff to—”
    Mr Dalby. “How have they got it for the last 100 years?”
    Senator MARSHALL. “The internet has not been there for that long, has it.”
    CHAIR. “The reason I am putting this to you is that we asked these questions very directly to Mr Irvine from ASIO the other day and they do not really know.”
    Mr Dalby. “Yes.”
    CHAIR. “And it is all going to be made to your problem.”

  105. Clinton says:

    Good On you iinet its part of the reason I chose you as my Provider and That you sponsor the ALF Hawks “Go Hawks”

    Please do your best to stop internet Providers retaining metadata is is of no Good Use with Metadata we will ConScripted to a Drone Life of need to to find ways to keep a Basic Human right to Privacy.

  106. Rohan says:

    Collecting data is one thing.
    Interpreting is another.
    Who determines right and wrong during the interpretation?

    If our government is under pressure to make positive changes they should be figuring out what they should be aimIng to achieve..

    Then the question is: is this movement aiming to protect the average person from criminals for the greater good, or looking to punish them for minor transgressions against multi billion dollar industries?

    Food for thought.

  107. Greg Williams says:

    Steve, thanks. The problem with nothing to hide is that it flies directly in the face of the principles of a liberal western democracy. The government serves the people and is accountable to them, not the other way around. This proposal is a creeping problem that must be addressed now else future governments will continue to build on each increment. While George Brandis can’t explain metadata, those who want this proposal to get up understand it very well.

  108. Patrick says:

    Keep up the good work – this is why I never leave Iinet. I object in the strongest terms to my adult children being labelled as guilty and not even of what. Even more disturbing is labeling Guilty all my baby grandsons and granddaughters before they are 5. Yes they play on the ipad How dangerous they must be to press the wrong link unknowingly and potentially have this used as incontrovertible evidence against them when they are 7 or older. Shame on our Politicians for even allowing this issue to come into being. Bring people back to power, make sure your local pol lie knows his term is short and demand an evidential stand or drop them A sad day for this world when private enterprise rules our parliamentary processes. Ooh of course they don’t how very silly of me

  109. Peter Russo says:

    Not sure why you haven’t included a standard letter / request for us to email to our local MP, Brandis and Abbott?? Numbers count with these guys

  110. Pia says:

    Have these politicians even looked at the current privacy laws which came into effect on the 12th March 2014. They are clearly breaking the Law. The Australian Privacy Principles which tell us how to apply the law to our business and personal circumstances, clearly state how “Personal Information” and “Sensitive Information” may be captured, used, stored, protected and disclosed to other parties. The government would be in breach of several of the APP’s, specifically APP1, APP3, APP4. Gosh the list goes on. Shame Shame on the Government.
    http://www.oaic.gov.au/privacy/privacy-act/the-privacy-act
    http://www.oaic.gov.au/privacy/privacy-resources/privacy-fact-sheets/other/privacy-fact-sheet-17-australian-privacy-principles

  111. chris says:

    Many thanks iinet for providing the best ever service and for your strong public stand,I am So proud and pleased That I have been a customer for over 17 years!!

  112. Jimmy says:

    Dear Senator Brandis,

    Thank you for your offer of free unlimited cloud storage in the government’s data centers. I plan to tell all my friends about this excellent offer from the government. We all have hundreds of thousands of photos of adorable cats, nondescript sunsets, meals and endless trivia we want to keep. As soon as your offer becomes available, we can get that into the millions, no problem.

    Your offer is very generous, considering the budget emergency and all, so thank you on behalf of all Australians. While our national communications network may never get out of third world status, how many nations can boast unlimited network storage for every citizen?

    Just a quick question without trying to appear ungrateful, but will this data be backed up? I only ask because there is nothing worse than losing a petabyte of cat photos that you have spent years collecting.

    All the best,
    Jimmy

  113. Colin Croft says:

    I agree entirely with your debunking of the myth that “If you have nothing to hide…”. By that logic the politicians should have no problems with installing web cams in every room of their houses! It’s not a matter of hiding wrong doing; it’s our simple, basic right to privacy that they’re proposing to violate.

    Can I strongly suggest that iinet put together a petition, which I suggest would be signed by most of their customers, opposing the legislation?

  114. eric says:

    Well done
    Keep up the good work
    Whatis a “VPN”?

  115. Naz Anell says:

    This is a complete invasion of privacy and intrusive…. This Goverment is hell bent on taking Australia backwards, doing away with the anti discrimination act, storing personal information of any individual without their consent is taking all your liberty and dignity away!! I’m appalled at the way the dictotrial and against all Australian values that I have immense respect for. The ill logic statement of “if you have nothing to hide, you should not be worried” makes me wonder what this Government has done to be so scared and obsessed with prying on every individual’s privacy…….!! So far, this government can’t get anything right, from their assylum seekers policy to protecting every individual Australian’s fundamental right to privacy..!!

  116. Eric says:

    Interesting all this electronic listening. I thought you need a warrant to tap into peoples conversations?

  117. gt says:

    Keep fighting this, Steve. I’m proud of iiNet once again.

    This presumption of guilt is a terrible misuse of power.

  118. Eurow says:

    If ever any of this nightmare comes about (and it probably will) may I suggest to iinet that their monthly bill will be divided to show how much we users pay iinet for their normal services and how much we pay iinet for their surveillance costs that have been forced on them? Make the costs distinctions prominent with every bill for every user every time. At least, it might be a start.

  119. S says:

    Magistrate’s approval /court order required.

    We have a system in place for tapping phone lines. We do not collect/record everyone’s phone lines.

    Similarly, any Web related data or internet content, Web browsing etc. should also be treated.

    A Reply:

    @S, The difference being phone conversations aren’t stored on a hard drive somewhere until someone deems it necessary to access them and have a listen.

  120. Dan says:

    Concurring with comments above, iiNet’s stand on these issues make them easy to choose and easy to recommend as an ISP. I’m under no illusions that it’s anything much other than good business, but it’s still pleasing that consumers have an option. Vote with your wallet.

  121. Paul says:

    Thank you Iinet. I am your customer because of your strong stand on this issue. Do not give up, please!!!

  122. Anthony says:

    Im tired of these paranoid politicians, making laws for the corporations instead of the people. I have never heard of a terrorism threat in Australia and I highly doubt there will be, What is the real reason behind this? Because I dont for a second believe the BS there people have come up with to sell it to the public. More than likely its from pressure from the US government to have these laws in place, to protect there corporate investments in this country, and as usual, Abbott (or even Gillard at the time) is more than happy to jump through hoops for them. Freedom and democracy is an illusion, we are becoming slaves to a capitalist state

  123. Howard Mumme says:

    Steve thanks for a great article and to iiNET for it’s stand on data collection and retention. Very disappointed how politically polarized the ensuing debate has become. Please let’s have a mature debate on the whole matter. The threats to our national security are becoming blindingly obvious, so we need to focus on alternative measures to meet this challenge without using a “sledgehammer to drive a tack” Come on guys let’s first acknowledge that we live in a great democratic nation. Our politicians need to be kept on the ball, but the use of language when referring to them such as fascists etc is both counterproductive and shows a complete lack of understanding of the meaning of fascist. I am 88 years of age and have been involved one way or another with computers since the mid 1950s, and I realise that some times in a democracy one has to sacrifice some of our freedom when terrorists use our very freedoms to perpetrate their evil. Let’s not allow governments to over-kill the remedy.

  124. Spk says:

    Basically i do not believe that the government can not be trusted to do what is required. I have two examples, 1 how the Vietnam veterans were treated by the government, remember most of these people were conscripted against their will and sent into war. When they became ill due to effects of chemicals and PTSD issues they were left high and dry and the government fought for years not to have to live up to their responsibilities.
    YOu may say but that was a long time ago, well i joined the military of my own free will in the 1980s and then was poisoned by chemicals, check http://f111.dva.gov.au/index.htm about the F111 fuel tank workers. Many people have had their lives destroyed by these chemicals and once again the government has fought tooth and nail not to live up to their responsibilities as it costs money to do so.
    These instances may not seem relevant to the topic but what it shows that if something goes wrong (and it will if full data storage happens, all of our credit card and banking details recorded) the government won’t be offering any form of compensation and then, just like the ex military people in a world of hurt the average person will be on their own to prove that it was not them that spent all the money. The money is just one example. What if your children decide to go to a Jihad sight for a joke or just to see what is on the site,, good luck convincing it wasn’t the adult of the house planning to become a suicide bomber!

    Why can’t the government just have a list if sites that are undesirable and monitor who accesses these sites and then monitor the people who go to these sites numerous times?

    Big brother gone insane is what it will add up to. God help us all.

    Spk Reply:

    @Spk,
    Should say the Government can not be trusted. First sentence should have read Basically i do not believe that the government can be trusted to do what is required – See more at: http://blog.iinet.net.au/protecting-your-privacy/#comment-83459

  125. NoNameForReason says:

    And I thought Putin was bad…
    Shhh what’s that? They’re knocking on my door already…!
    It reminds me of this old Russian saying:
    “If you think it, don’t say it,
    If you said it, don’t write it,
    If you wrote it, don’t be surprised!”

    Never been more true, and sadly relevant.

  126. Audrey says:

    As I read through your article I was all the time waiting for you to ask us to sign a petition but it never came. I think you should set up a petition because as we know from many petitions from organisations such as GetUp, Avaaz, Change.com and more, signatures are very effective. So please iinet, get going with a petition I am sure you will get many thousands to sign it.

  127. Eddie Bond says:

    There’s a place in Australia called Pine Gap its been going for quite a few years at least 25 this is a joint American/Australian monitoring/Listening, recording, this fine establishment digitizes all telephone calls in and out of Australia believe me BIG BROTHER has been watching and is recording you all for years, National security Ha what a Joke.

  128. Another point that needs to be raised is the safety of the data collected. People assume that because the government have the data it will be safe, but this has been proven not to be true on numerous occasions. This kind of data falling into the wrong hands could be catastrophic. (You could argue our government is the “wrong hands”, but it could be even worse.)

  129. kevin says:

    Thank you iinet for standing up for what most of us see as our rights but sad to say the government will do exactly as it pleases.
    Unfortunatly we will be the ones that pay in the long run.The Americans have found they cannot keep the data secure, what assurances will we get that ours that ours is safe.

  130. Thomas Rad says:

    Thanks iinet! People around the world are being dispossessed and regressing back to serfdom! See “World government and the revival of the Roman Empire”!
    Also, “Crown temple and the rule of mystery Babylon”
    Regards…………Thomas

  131. Karen says:

    Thank You iiNet for standing up for us this is definately OUT OF ORDER.

  132. Jim says:

    As usual the majority of innocent people and businesses have to pay for the privilege of having their right to privacy violated. All it will catch is the innocent and the stupid. It won’t catch the real evil because they have probably already found a way to cheat the system.
    It can’t and won’t work. We need the likes of iinet to make the government see sense

  133. Phil Gorman says:

    Our burgeoning police state already has more than enough powers to invade our privacy. This is way too much.

  134. Linda says:

    Well done thanks for taking up the battle against
    Invasion of privacy, as we have little of it left these days!

  135. Louie says:

    Thanks guys

    I see some common sense remains in the world ! that why I stay with iinet.
    Thanks for the informative input.

  136. Greg says:

    In the desperation to role this absurd law out the idiots behind all of this have probably not realised that their privacy will also be compromised and I think we would all agree that the biggest liars, cheats, underhand, corrupt, people on the planet are politicians, military and law enforcement agencies. I have nothing to hide, but equally I have nothing I particularly want to share with those types of people either. Also, whilst I’m on a roll… have these idiot politicians not realised that any laws introduced here won’t make any difference to the terrorist organisations elsewhere in the world. It’s just like the carbon tax fiasco.

  137. Gary says:

    Thanks for this very informative piece of information Steve,its good to know iiNET is standing up for our privacy against our Dictatorship Government, keep up the good work Steve and i hope everyone remembers what the Government is up to next time they vote.
    “Least We Forget”

  138. Jose says:

    Thanks,iiNet I am incorporeting my home survellance cameras which should be compulsory to the collection and retention systems so the police can keep an eye on us if an intruder gets in then We don’t need to call the police or an ambulance great idea! This is DUTY OF CARE from the Government I believe all pensioners,families and single woman with kids will love the idea.Well done!Thanks for our security.

  139. barry says:

    Well mine should be safe considering you guys lost all my email addresses and contacts etc. Still not happy but I guess I just have to put up with it.

  140. Flobber says:

    Thanks iinet for fighting this on our behalf! Any wonder I have stuck with you guys so long!!

  141. Irish says:

    Many years ago the proposal to introduce national ID cards was defeated by public opinion. Why don’t ISP’s start an online petition so that the government can see what the people think.

  142. Rod says:

    I am so glad I am an iinet customer. Keep fighting the good fight, I am very glad you’re on my side.

    “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

  143. Jose says:

    If the government ever puts such a law then I would like to see that it is done on all the politicians so the public can see what things they hide from the public. And on top of that the government! OH! Is it a one way street? Which ruling do they want to bend or manipulate for their sake?! Are we (Australia) then going from DEMOCRATIC towards Authoritarianism??

    IINET I stand behind you all the way for up holding your clients rights.

    Where is that Petition?

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