Oz opposition spraying perfume on metadata dead cat

Might review policy, can't change anything


The Australian Labor Party, which first conceived what ultimately became Australia's telecommunications data retention legislation and then, from opposition, waved the laws through, is having second third forth thoughts a pang of regret.

Not that the opposition wants to overturn anything – nor could it, unless and until it wins government and stops listening to the siren song of the spook – but it's tentatively wondering whether some tweaks are in order.

During its national conference over the weekend, in which the party noticed technology enough to decide it might back the government on NBN issues, the ALP decided to review its policies on data retention.

In 2014, the party “bravely turned its tail and fled”, deciding that opposing the legislation in the Senate would get it into a fight with the government that it would lose.

The party's new strongly-worded policy commits the ALP to ensure that “the types of agencies with access to the data and the purposes for which the data is available are appropriate”.

A member of the Labor “left” faction and mayor of the Sydney suburb of Marrickville, Jo Haylen, told Fairfax newspapers the party has become concerned that the laws don't strike the right balance between privacy “and of course security”.

The party is apparently concerned about “whistleblowers and journalists” rather than citizens at large. ®


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