Pirate Party Australia is disappointed over the report by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security which was released yesterday.
The report defers almost all decisions regarding implementing surveillance schemes such as data retention back to the Government, and does not go much beyond providing the Government with “common sense” recommendations regarding data security.
“Recommendation 42 has entirely handed the decision regarding mandatory data retention back to the Government,” said Brendan Molloy, Lead Candidate for the Senate in NSW. “Rather than seriously address the concerns brought to the attention of the Committee by Pirate Party Australia, activist organisations and leading academics, the Committee has instead essentially passed the buck straight back to the Government. The Committee also still seems to fail to recognise the fundamental issues surrounding retention of metadata.”
The Committee admitted that the issue of data retention in the original discussion paper lacked clarity, and they have encountered difficulties in locating further information. There is no indication that the Attorney-General’s Department has withheld information intentionally. However, despite lacking the necessary information, the Committee has failed to advise the Government against implenting a mandatory two-year data retention scheme.
“In cases where there is not enough information, the default recommendation should be a firm ‘no’,” Mr Molloy continued. “There was more than enough evidence in the submissions to build a strong case against data retention.”
That retention of the sort proposed has been declared unconstitutional by other developed nations should indicate strongly that retention is an attack on rights. Pirate Party Australia welcomes the announcement by the Attorney-General that the Government will not be pursuing a data retention regime “at this time”.
Pirate Party Australia will make further releases as we complete our analysis of the report.