AGD: silence about metadata retention plans is about security

If carriers talk, criminals might hear, apparently


The Attorney-General's Department has told The Register national security considerations lie behind it discouraging telcos and ISPs discussing their data retention plans.

Last week, The Register reported that the department was telling the sector if companies discussed their data retention implementation plans with other providers, they risked the department revoking approvals they may have received.

Those approvals may include the AGD granting a provider extra time to come into full compliance with the data retention regime.

Here's the Department's response in full:

“Please find below a response to your enquiry:

  • The release of exemption details would reveal gaps in data retention coverage that could be exploited by Criminals.
  • The Coordinator must take into account the interests of law enforcement and national security in granting exemptions.

The Register would note that while public release of information could well have undesirable effects, telcos and ISPs are trying to consult with each other to work out how to implement data retention.

Bootnote: Some members of the Ausnog list have the impression that I am “lurking” on the list, and therefore breaking the list's rules by reporting its discussions in public.

The information used in the previous story was obtained from the mailing list's Web archive, which is publicly-available. I am not a subscriber to the Ausnog mailing list. ®


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