Data retention regime gets bipartisan backing (again)

Coalition and Labor Senators yesterday combined to quash a Greens motion that called on the government to wind back the data retention scheme.

The motion came as the one-year anniversary of the data retention legislation receiving bipartisan support in the lower house nears.

The Senate motion moved by Greens Senator Scott Ludlam condemned “the expensive, intrusive and ultimately pointless” scheme.

The government is spending more than $150 million on the scheme, the motion noted, but it can be easily circumvented (through the use of over-the-top messaging services and overseas-based email services, for example).

It also noted the number of additional agencies seeking to be authorised for warrant-free access to data covered by the scheme.

Sixty-one additional agencies have applied to be authorised agencies. (The data retention bill pared down to 21 the number of authorised agencies.)

(Adding additional authorised agencies to the scheme on an ongoing basis requires legislative changes, but the attorney-general can temporarily authorise an agency. A spokesperson for the Attorney-General’s Department confirmed that no temporary authorisations have been made.)

The Greens motion was backed by senators David Leyonhjelm, Ricky Muir and Nick Xenophon.

The motion was lost, with the Coalition and Labor, along with senators Glenn Lazarus and Dio Wang, voting against it.

The data retention scheme took effect in October.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

  
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