Turnbull has “grave misgivings” on data retention


news Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has broken his silence regarding the Fedeal Government’s controversial data retention and surveillance package, declaring that he has “grave misgivings” about a project which he feels “seems to be heading in precisely the wrong direction”.

The Federal Attorney-General’s Department is currently promulgating a package of reforms which would see a number of wide-ranging changes made to make it easier for law enforcement and intelligence agencies to monitor what Australians are doing on the Internet. For example, one new power is a data retention protocol which would require ISPs to retain data on their customers’ Internet and telephone activities for up to two years, and changes which would empower agencies to source data on users’ activities on social networking sites.

Up until now, Turnbull and other senior Coalition figures have declined to comment substantially on the proposal, pending a parliamentary inquiry into it. However, some Liberal backbenchers are stridently opposed to the package, including Liberal MP Steve Ciobo, who has described as including tactics similar to those used by the Gestapo — the Nazi secret police. Yesterday, in a wide-ranging speech given as the annual Alfred Deakin lecture, Turnbull openly declared his concerns about the package for the first time (see the full text of his speech here).

“Without wanting to pre-empt the conclusions of the Parliamentary Committee, I must record my very grave misgivings about the proposal,” Turnbull told the audience. “It seems to be heading in precisely the wrong direction. Surely as we reflect on the consequences of the digital shift from a default of forgetting to one of perpetual memory we should be seeking to restore as far as possible the individual’s right not simply to their privacy but to having the right to delete that which they have created in the same way as can be done in the analogue world.”

Turnbull said out of the package’s many proposals (PDF), it was the data retention issue which was the most far-reaching, but “least clearly explained”. “Internet companies will apparently be required to store parts of everyone’s data, although there is no clarity as to which material will be kept or why,” said Turnbull. “In fact there is little clarity; period. A recent letter from [Federal Attorney-General] Nicola Roxon to the Herald-Sun bemoaning its coverage of the data retention issue provided more information about this measure than a 61-page discussion paper released by her department.”

“While the purported intent is that only metadata – data about data – will be available to law enforcement, security and intelligence agencies, there is no explanation of how metadata will be distinguished from data (the two are often commingled, as in the ‘subject’ line of emails), why both would not be readily available once a message has been handed over and decrypted, and indeed how readily in an IP world it is possible to keep a record of the time, date, size, sender, receiver and possibly subject of an email without also retaining the contents.”

Neither, said Turnbull, had there been any explanation given by the policy’s backers (principally the Attorney-General’s Department and law enforcement agencies) as to what costs and benefits have been estimated for what the Liberal MP said was a “sweeping and intrusive new power”, or how such costs and benefits were arrived at, what (if any) cost was ascribed to “its chilling effect on free speech”, and whether any gains in national security or law enforcement outcomes would be monitored and verified, should the proposal be enacted.

“The German Federal Constitutional Court has recently struck down a similar data retention law noting that “meta-data” may be used to draw conclusions about not simply the content of the messages, but the social and political affiliations, personal preferences, inclinations and weaknesses of the individual concerned,” said Turnbull.

“Leaving aside the central issue of the right to privacy, there are formidable practical objections. The carriers, including Telstra, have argued that the cost of complying with a new data retention regime would be very considerable with the consequence of higher charges for their customers.

Turnbull also questioned how offshore data would be treated, pointing out that search and software as a service giant Google hosted “much, if not most” of the relevant data for Australia — but that the company had no Australian datacentres, with it hosting all of its data offshore. “Much of our voice and video calls occur now over IP services, like Skype or Google Chat. Is their customer metadata stored in Australia? Almost certainly not,” the Liberal MP said.

“Google currently permanently deletes emails or Youtube videos from their server once the customer deletes it. Search logs are rendered anonymous after nine months. It would be utterly impractical, and possibly unlawful, for Google to discriminate against customers from Australia and treat them differently from any others.”

Turnbull also pointed out that the “criminals of the greatest concern to our security agencies” would be able to use “any of numerous available means” to anonymise their communications, or even choose new services which were not captured by legislated data retention rules — meaning the scheme would be easy to evade.

The Shadow Communications Minister also pointed out that the data retention proposal was only “the latest effort by the Gillard Government to restrain freedom of speech” — with its mandatory filter policy which was backed by Communications Minister Stephen Conroy several years ago having been knocked back by the Coalition and the Greens. Conroy said the filter would have represented ” a profound weakening of online liberty in Australia”.

Turnbull linked the issue of Internet privacy and freedom of speech to core values held by liberals.

“Just as the digital world has opened up new avenues for every form of freedom, so too it is freedom itself, our core value as liberals, which will continue to liberate the imagination,” he said. “It will ensure the digital world is, if not the best of all possible worlds, at least a world where more of us can speak out in our own voice, unmediated by others, dream our own dreams, undirected by governments, and claim more than any generation before us, our birthright as free men and free women.”

In general, the Government’s data retention and surveillance package has attracted a significant degree of criticism from the wider community over the past few months since it was first mooted. Digital rights lobby group Electronic Frontiers Australia has described the new powers as being akin to those applied in restrictive countries such as China and Iran, while the Greens have described the package as “a systematic erosion of privacy”.

In separate submissions to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security inquiry into the reforms, a number of major telecommunications companies including iiNet and Macquarie Telecom, as well as telco and ISP representative industry groups, have expressed sharp concern over aspects of the reform package, stating that “insufficient evidence” had been presented to justify them. And Victoria’s Acting Privacy Commissioner has labelled some of the included reforms as “being characteristic of a police state”.

The Institute of Public Affairs, a conservative and free market-focused think tank, wrote in its submission to the parliamentary inquiry on the matter that many of the proposals of the Government were “unnecessary and excessive. “The proposal … is onerous and represents a significant incursion on the civil liberties of all Australians,” wrote the IPA in its submission, arguing that the data retention policy should be “rejected outright”. And one Liberal backbencher, Steve Ciobo, has described the new proposal as being akin to “Gestapo” tactics.

In addition, several weeks ago The Australian newspaper reported that about a dozen Coalition MPs had bitterly complained about the data retention proposals in a passionate party room meeting, with Opposition Leader Tony Abbott being urged to directly pressure the Government on the issue.

Roxon and agencies such as the Australian Federal Police have attempted to justify the need for a data retention scheme by stating that the increasing use of the Internet by criminals has made traditional telecommunications interception powers less useful.

“The need to consider a data retention scheme has come about because of changes in technology that have affected the behaviour of criminal and national security suspects,” said Roxon recently. “Targets of interest now utilise the wide range of telecommunications services available to them to communicate, coordinate, manage and carry out their activities. The ability to lawfully access telecommunications data held by the telecommunications industry enables investigators to identify and build a picture of a suspect, provides vital leads of inquiry and creates evidence for alibis and prosecutions.”

I commend Turnbull for this stirring and wide-ranging speech and fully support his comments, as I expect the majority of Australians will.

What is remarkable about this speech (I encourage you to read it in its entirety, it’s worth the 10min) is that it represents not only an evocation of traditional liberal values, but also a bridge between those values and the modern world. Unlike many politicians, Turnbull clearly “gets” technology and its interaction with our modern society, and he applies his values to that situation — but not only his values. He also applies his intellect and does his research before taking a position on issues.

It’s shocking, right? A politician who researches and thinks about an issue in depth, and them thinks about how their own values will apply to that issue? Then gives a stirring, noble, well-referenced and thought-out speech on a major occasion to show their thinking? No wonder that so many Australians continue to be inspired by Malcolm Turnbull. In an age where the chief political catchcries have been things such as “stop the boats” and “moving forward”, Turnbull talks about freedom, the rights of the individual, our human ability to dream and the a vision for the way forward.

We haven’t quite forgiven the Member for Wentworth for his muddying of the National Broadband Network debate yet. And in truth, classic liberal values are a little harder to apply to that complex situation, with its detailed financial and regulatory minefield obscuring things. However, every time Turnbull gives speeches such as the one he gave last night for the Alfred Deakin lecture, we find ourselves willing to believe in the politician all over again. Nice work, Mr Turnbull — you nailed this one.

Image credit: Office of Malcolm Turnbull


  1. Since this issue hasn’t been getting much media coverage with any luck some agencies will pick up on this speech and we can hammer this stupid proposal to oblivion.

  2. Hallelujah! I still think FTTN is madness, but the most reliable high-speed internet connection in the world is worthless with Big Brother looking over your shoulder. At least now we have a fighting chance of killing this terrible proposal without being accused of terrorist plots and pedophilia.

  3. As I always say about this data retention scheme: What value is metadata.

    It doesn’t tell you who you spoke to, when I send a private message via facebook, the metadata they are talking about only says: “PeterA spoke to Facebook”.

    If I use a VPN, it says even less: “PeterA spoke to VPN”

    If I use TOR, it says: “PeterA spoke to Someone on TOR”

    It includes absolutely no information about the recipient of the facebook message. It simply isn’t included in the metadata.

    So the only use this will be; is for people that access websites that are considered illegal. But, it still isn’t useful information!

    If I download kiddie porn from a website, lets say: “http://qld-Dentist.com/Hacked/Kiddieporn.jpg”

    The metadata says: “PeterA looked at IP address”

    In this day and age, many cheap web-hosts run multiple websites off the same IP address. so qld-dentist.com might be hosted on the same web server a 50 other websites. And even after that, the metadata doesn’t say I accessed kiddieporn.jpg on that web server, it simply isn’t in the metadata.

    So that leaves things like Skype, and other technologies. But, the problem here is very few people have direct connections to the internet, almost everyone uses a NAT, as a result, when I skype someone it doesn’t say: “PeterA skyped Bob”, it says: “PeterA skyped SkypeServer”, and then SkypeServer redirected the call to Bob (bobs metadata says: “SkypeServer skyped Bob” when I call him). And here’s the best part, there is no guarantee the “SkypeServer” that skypes bob, will be the same IP address, as the “SkypeServer” that I talk to!.

    TL;DR: There is no value in the metadata. Why can’t they give an example of a case that fell apart due to the lack of metadata. Or hell, a case where metadata (not the actual data-payloads) was useful in any way to achieving anything in a legal sense.

    • This could be the police/Roxon doing baby steps, as in they get this implemented, then say “hey that system we had implemented, the data it’s storing it’s giving us enough info, we need more than just metadata, we need to store all the data” … and so it goes.

    • When “they” say meta-data, I think they mean it in a protocol sensitive way. Email meta-data is the email headers. Port 80 traffic will include the http header (with url).

      I’d be really interested in some more of the details (like they’ll be forthcoming…) about why the various 3/4 letter agencies want the data.

      Do they want the data as an aid to the investigation or do they want it as evidence? If they want it as evidence, then there is the rather massive issue of chain of custody of the collected data. Any lawyer worth their salt will be able to cast a very large shadow over the integrity of the data collected.

      What happens if I spoof a source address… lets say its *your* source address at home and send a web request to http://www.iheart.teh.t3rrorarhists.com? Congratulations… your now a person of interest.

      Maybe I make a webpage that has some hidden content that pulls data from a 3rd party website. Suddenly anyone that visit my website – “iheart.teh.ponies” – will show up in the likely-to-be-not-context-sensitive data-mining the feds will want to do as they look for “evidence”.

      Thats also a chilling effect – be very careful what you look at, because you will be associated with it forever, with no context whatsoever. You can read 5 serious, red white and blue articles in a row about the dangers of terrorism, but just follow one of those links to a website used for that research and that final link you click on will be the one your identified with.

      • Hi Brad,

        I have just responded to Anthony below with a bit of depth. But I will expand upon one point with this.

        To do as you ask, record subject lines or other headers from emails, (or in Anthony’s example HTTP headers), ISPs (the entities this law is aimed at forcing into action) will have to inspect the content of every packet in their network.

        Right now, to transmit information to a web server, a router simply looks at the IP packet header. In the header is about 20 bytes of information, of which 4 bytes are the Senders IP address, and 4 bytes are the intended recipients IP address. In addition to those 2 pieces of information is a length byte or 2 that indicates how long the data payload is which enables it to completely ignore the “payload”, and just count the bytes (instead of reading their contents) and pass it on to the next hop.

        It is not feasible to “easily” record any more information than those 2 IP addresses, without implementing DPI. And it is DPI that slows internet access by 25-90% as found during the filter trials.

        The forms of internet filtering that *didn’t* slow the internet significantly, were the kind that blocked based off IP address. So DPI is not required, as soon as you see: “Recipient IP address = Blocked IP” you deny transmission. This requires a router to only look at the IP header.

        Everyone is misunderstanding what it is the government is asking for, and confusing the debate. It is counter productive.

        I maintain that what the government is asking for is fundamentally useless information. As such, I require direct evidence that this form of information has been useful, or would have been useful, in a situation where only the metadata that they refer to was collected and used.

        I believe every incidence of internet wiretap that has been useful will have been a full DPI wiretap, where they record the full information of every communication made.

        I know (medium sized?) networks. I know networking protocols. Unless this proposal really is DPI, this information is useless, and a waste of time implementing.

    • “If I download kiddie porn from a website, lets say: “http://qld-Dentist.com/Hacked/Kiddieporn.jpg”

      The metadata says: “PeterA looked at IP address″

      In this day and age, many cheap web-hosts run multiple websites off the same IP address. so qld-dentist.com might be hosted on the same web server a 50 other websites. And even after that, the metadata doesn’t say I accessed kiddieporn.jpg on that web server, it simply isn’t in the metadata.”

      I hate to tell you this PeterA, but yes, that is in the metadata, if all the metadata contains is what’s recorded in the web server logs, and we have no reason at this stage to think it won’t be that sort of data.

      As such, what the web server log “metadata” has is:

      “PeterA at IP address x.x.x.x looked at web server IP”
      “PeterA then made a GET request for the data contents of /Hacked/Kiddieporn.jpg”
      “Web server sent /Hacked/Kiddieporn.jpg to PeterA”

      It also of course includes the date and time you acessed that data and if one wanted too and you didn’t use any sort of proxy/VPN service, then a simple look up on your IP number, would resolve to your ISP and hence give some idea of your location.

      All of this from just basic metadata, no actual “contents” was stored. Now, just imagine if all that metadata was stored and then data mined just using your starting IP address as a link.

      I have no doubt, that after two years of data, the government would have a pretty serious profile on who you are and everything you do.

      • Anthony,

        You are misinformed. We aren’t talking about web-hosts logging data. We are talking about ISPs. Trust me, without significant investment in hardware at the ISPs, that will add an additional point of failure in a complicated (low margin) ISPs network, they absolutely categorically won’t be recording HTTP GET request level information.

        The laws can only be talking about IP headers. HTTP information is not included in IP headers. HTTP information is only stored in the payload of an IP packet. Unless this law is requiring ISPs to deploy Deep Packet Inspection (the kind of device required to implement the Internet filter that slowed internet access by 25-90% during the filter trials) no HTTP information will be recorded.

        PLEASE don’t confuse this debate with incorrect information. We are talking about ISPs not web hosts. The confusion around what is being asked for doesn’t help. It only gives Nicola Roxon a valid voice against our complaints! If all she has to do is show that *you* are wrong to implement this law, we all lose. Because the actual thing they are asking for is not what you are scared of. They are asking us to give up some tiny level of privacy for no purpose.

        Just to reiterate, the information you mentioned, is only easy to store at the web-host end, which in the vast majority of cases will be overseas and outside our legal jurisdiction anyway – and not the subject of the current legal debate.

        • PeterA,

          We are already talking about “significant investment in hardware at the ISPs”, iiNet have said they estimate the cost at $60 million. So really that’s already a given.

          As for the details of what’s stored in IP Header info, you are correct, as can been seen here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPv4_header#Header it doesn’t include such things as the URL or HTTP information.

          However, it also doesn’t have a date or time for example.

          You say that “The laws can only be talking about IP headers.”, If that’s true, can you please provide a reference to said laws which clearly state that the data retention proposal will ONLY require ISP’s to store IP Header info. No dates, no times, no HTTP info, etc.

          If that’s the case, then you have basically given Nicola Roxon a valid argument against any complaints for such a system as the data retained would have no useful info other then the IP address. And since one can easily hide your source IP if you want too, then what use would any of it be to the police.

          However, we already know this not to be the case, as stated in Roxon’s letter to the Herald Sun:

          “Telecommunications data includes such things as the time an email is sent and who it is sent to.”

          As you can see, for emails already more then just IP Header info will be stored, as they want the time the email was sent. So does this mean that it’s not IP Header but mail Header which is being stored. If so, now we have much more useful data, IP/Names of the servers involved, full email address of sender and all it was sent to, subject text, date/time. Now we can start to build up a profile of each person.

          So, just to reiterate, you have no basis on which to state that the proposed data retention laws will require ISP’s to store NOTHING but IP Headers as like you said that contains just so little useful info. If indeed the only means by which the government can capture the info it want’s is by DPI, then your statements just boost the case for the proposed filter. Though more likely the starting point for the data retention requirements will be email Headers. Add to that, we haven’t even touched on the thin edge of the wedge and how dangerous this can all get over the years of “amendments to existing laws”.

      • Valuable to marketers where if they get it wrong it doesn’t matter.

        Useless to Law Enforcement who can’t rely on 35% chance this guy was a pedophile therefore confiscate all computers he has ever touched.

        • You know what happens when they raid your place and you’re not found guilty?
          “Sorry for the inconvenience.”
          Seen it happen, and that’s all you’ll get from it.

          Don’t feel too entitled to your freedom.

  4. I would laud the speech by Mr Turnbull except for his remarks on data retention and the mandatory internet filter coming late in my opinion.

    I am a little confused because he seems to think that the Greens and Coalition blocked the filter proposal in the Senate.

    “That statement was only true because thanks to the opposition of the Coalition and the Greens he has been unable to get his mandatory filter legislation through the Senate.”

    Now I am almost 110% sure that the proposal has not even been written in to a Bill for the House of Representatives to consider so it would seem Mr Turnbull is “gilding the lilly” just a bit. I also have difficulty recalling Mr. Turnbull saying anything substantial to oppose the mandatory filter when it was a hot topic of debate about 3 years ago. Perhaps my memory isn’t what it used to be.

    Most of his comments about the data retention proposal have been said in a number of places previously and it is nice to know that Mr Turnbull supports them. I would have been more impressed if he had managed to say something earlier however.

    I get the feeling that Mr Turnbull has waited to see which way public opinion is blowing before developing any commitment and that he is driven by public opinion rather than factual evidence.

    • @Bob H

      My thoughts almost to a tee.

      If Malcolm truly believed in all this before, why did he not come forward early, hit hard and use his advantage against the government? While there’s no question he is eloquent and intelligent in his thoughts and speeches, this smacks to me of “oh crap, we’d better say something, the polls are slipping”.

      I am glad Malcolm has come out and said something one way or another, but frankly, it really is too little, too late. This debate has been going for over 3 months and ALL of what he mentioned in his speech has been mentioned before. It seems as though he is simply seeing public uprising against the idea and pulling his surf board out to ride the wave…..

      • @Seven “I am glad Malcolm has come out and said something one way or another, but frankly, it really is too little, too late.”

        And I STILL WON’T be voting for him (the Coalition) in a million years when he talks crap like this http://www.zdnet.com/au/nbn-executive-inexperience-led-to-gold-plating-turnbull-7000005430/
        I almost threw up and felt really sick in the stomach after reading what he said.

        And we have to put up with this for the next 12+ months, really starting to wish this whole NBN business had never been thought of and just have things as they were before 2007.

        • @Avid

          Turnbull is engaging in a smear campaign of Quigley and the NBNCo. executives. That much is obvious. I have no interest in voting for or even supporting a politician who does this. It is the lowest of the low. If he has an issue with how the NBN is being run, he should bring it up with the government. It is not right, decent or even acceptable to slag off professionals when you have absolutely ZERO experience in doing what they are AND refuse to see the premise behind their decisions at all.

          He is sinking to tactics more suited to the State governments of the country and they’re deplorable 50% of the time.

    • This rings of something I heard before. He is the French radical who stands on the hillside saying “There go my people, I must find out where they are going so I may lead them.”

  5. “However, every time Turnbull gives speeches such as the one he gave last night for the Alfred Deakin lecture, we find ourselves willing to believe in the politician all over again.”

    And that’s how we know he’s a very effective liar. Have we already forgotten his very ‘commendable’ speech on parliamentary honesty? His words are sweet as honey, but are hollow and meaningless.

  6. The current Federal Government’s Data Retention proposals are alarming to say the least. In my view, they clearly lay a framework for the establishment of a “Police State” – a Totalitarian Society, if you like.

    I strongly recommend that everyone reads the following article published by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation at:


    How many of you have read George Orwell’s book, “Nineteen Eighty-Four”? This novel, written during the mid to late 1940’s, is recommended reading for all people who believe in open democracy, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of association, and the concept of “innocent until proven guilty”.

    It could be said that “Nineteen Eighty-Four” is a very close reflection on the society of surveillance and control created by Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union. Similar oppressive societies were maintained by the Third Reich’s Gestapo, and East Germany’s notorious Ministry for State Security (Ministerium für Staatssicherheit), known to many as the “Stasi”. The Stasi effectively controlled East German society for some forty years.

    To further emphasise the gravity of the measures that the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security is considering, I also urge you to view the following program available for the next eight days at the SBS website (if you can):


    The misery experienced by citizens living in the former German Democratic Republic has been well documented, and sends us a clear warning.

    History is replete with examples of governments purporting by claim or constitution to be open liberal democracies, progressively implementing totalitarian policies over time, when left unchecked by the citizens whom they claim to represent. Australia is one such society.

    Open democratic liberal societies that support the principles of freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom and equality of association, and the concept of “innocent until proven guilty”; have to be maintained by all of us – the citizenry.

    If you still have doubts, but value your freedom, consider reading George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four”, and contemplate life as a citizen in former police states such as the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), the Third Reich, and the Soviet Union.

    We have to make it absolutely clear to our lawmakers that we will not accept any erosion of our civil liberties and privacy. We must demand that the proposals put forward by the police chiefs and the Attorney General be rejected.

  7. Nice to see the Malcolm being sensible about this at least.

    I suspect he’d be a lot more sensible about the NBN as well if Tony hadn’t commanded that he “destroy the NBN”…but that’s another story.

  8. It’s good that Turnbull has spoken out against the data retention proposal, as it is for the other Coalition MPs who have done the same. Nothing from the one that matters though, the shadow attorney-general, Brandis. When he speaks we will have a better idea of the Coalition’s position.

    This data retention proposal has to be considered alongside the government’s ISP-level filter policy and their attempts to regulate the media. It would be a tragedy if the NBN was to be a casualty of a revolt against the government’s increasingly totalitarian tendencies. I will not vote for the ALP if they go ahead with the data retention proposal. If that means I don’t get the NBN then so be it.

    • I don’t think the government have the political capital to go through with data retention even if they wanted to, which they may. And I think they realise that.

      • They don’t have the political capital to raise it in the first place. That hasn’t stopped them though.

        I don’t know why they’re doing it. I can’t see where there’s a single extra vote in it for them. I can see a bunch of ALP/Green voters who will be fiercely opposed to the idea though. If the Coalition comes out against the proposal some of those votes might move.

        • It’s not “the government” (as in the ALP) pushing for it, it’s the departments. The ministers just a mouthpiece (You haven’t seen Yes Minister I assume? It’s funny because it’s true ;o)).

          Those departments will still be there pushing for it when/if the Liberals get in. It wont matter what MT thinks about it (it’s all about Tony in Liberal Land, unless they decide to give MT or Joe a go at it) so we need to hear from him on it really.

  9. I have a hard time believing Turnbull is sincere abut his “grave misgivings”. Forget his blatant hypocrisy regarding the NBN he is a member of a political party that wants even more CCTV cameras like the UK nanny state.


    All of these proposals are the same and simply another way to erode peoples privacy and make people paranoid. “If you have nothing to hide…” So they say…

    So once again I will put forward my proposal to ensure the public are protected from corrupt politicians and corrupt law enforcement:

    All politicians and law enforcement should be forced to wear 24/7 GPS voice recorders with audio files automatically uploaded to a website for everyone to check for discrepancies. Disagree? Why? But if you have nothing to hide…

    • I don’t think it’s hypocrisy Hubert, it’s more like political schizophrenia.

      Malcolm says something resembling “sensible”, then Tony sits down with him as say “Mate, what the f*** are you thinking?”.

      Then Malcolm has to “morph” what his original stance was to what Tony wants (which is where a lot of the entertainment value come from).

      It’s a sad system, but we’re currently stuck with it until parties go back to being a “Collection of people with a leader” rather than a “Cult of Leader” group (this applies to both parties mind you).

  10. Article quote: “Turnbull clearly “gets” technology and its interaction with our modern society, and he applies his values to that situation — but not only his values. He also applies his intellect and does his research before taking a position on issues”.

    Really? Really?!! He ‘gets’ technology so much that he’s pushing a vastly inferior and short-sighted NBN product (FTTN) which will not only be a stop-gap, but will also cost the taxpayer (instead of being an investment making a return) and which will continue to prop up the Telstra monopoly, to the detriment of the public.

    I’m afraid that Turnbull does NOT get either technology or economics. If he really wants to be leader again, as it appears from his now increasingly frequent appearances and comments in the media (including this one on data retention), he should really roll the dice and embrace the FTTH NBN model and how to pay for it.

  11. If only Turnbull wasn’t so determinedly wrongheaded about the NBN. There is so much that the Labor government gets wrong about technology and communications. Mandatory filtering, data retention, and lets not forget the A/G who blocked classification reform for video games.

    The whole problem for Turnbull is this though, and it is a 100% dealbreaker: a mandatory filter can be turned off with the flick of a switch, stored data can be deleted with the flick of a switch. Whereas correcting the disaterous proposal of a FTTN could take a decade to accomplish, and waste countless billions of dollars.

    Sorry Malcolm, but undoing your damage will be a lot harder than undoing Labor’s damage.

    • @Paul “The whole problem for Turnbull is this though, and it is a 100% dealbreaker: a mandatory filter can be turned off with the flick of a switch, stored data can be deleted with the flick of a switch. Whereas correcting the disaterous proposal of a FTTN could take a decade to accomplish, and waste countless billions of dollars.”

      So true there m8, spot on. If it’s a CHOICE between Labor’s FTTP/data retention and the Coalition’s FTTN/wireless/plus ????????/NO data retention, then Labor gets my vote in a HEARTBEAT. No thinking about it, no if’s, no buts Labor upon my dying breath.

  12. turnbull says something you dont agree with it: you blast him for being an idiot.
    turnbull says something you do agree with: you still blast him for being an idiot.
    (not you renai)

    no matter what he does, people bitch at him. no wonder he goes all wierd about stuff like nbn. he could say monkeys will ferry binary code messages between exchanges and still cop the same amount of flak he gets for coming out and saying data retention sux

    • I really don’t see much of that on this site. If anything, Renai’s previous article was kinda gushy towards Turnbull for speaking out against the data retention plans.

        • Unfortunately for Malcolm, actions speak much louder than words. If people are not impressed with his words, perhaps it is because they are more deeply unimpressed with his actions.

          This is an evidence based site, and the people who frequent this site because they like the reliance on evidence. If they wanted to read biased journalism, then they would not be here. Which makes me wonder whether the accusations of bias within the readership is justifiable.

          Malcolm made an eloquent speech recently about the importance of being above petty politicking (words) then continued petty politicking against the NBN (actions). He said that he had a fully costed policy (words) then failed to produce one (actions). Based on the evidence, it is very fair that people are not impressed with his words.

    • turnbull says something you dont agree with it: you blast him for being an idiot.
      turnbull says something you do agree with: you still blast him for being an idiot.

      hes eloquent, crafts lovely worded speeches, but his hypocrisy does him in. you sit down and think what a wonderful guy, good answers, then a bit later you realise it was all crap and totally opposite to what he said to another group.

      ie hes a typical politician who will say whatever he has to to get into power. hes just much better at it than anyone else.

  13. It matters not who may have said it first, but our dear servants have, in their proposal for ‘Equipping Australia against emerging and evolving threats’, epitomized the old saw that ‘the cure can be worse than the complaint’.

    How can they be trusted, even if the proposal had merit, to draw useful conclusions when their grasp of matters is not even adequate to distinguish between ‘propiety’ and ‘proprietary’ (pp22 & 59)?

  14. Don’t know if I can be bothered answering this in full.
    But I will point out that “Date and Time” is known by the computer recording IP header information. Thus, it isn’t required to be drawn *from* the transmission.

    Spoofing IP addresses might be “easy” as you say, but counter productive, because you won’t be receiving any responses to your communications. (because you lied who you were).

    My point about how this information is useless you seem to be intentionally missing.

    This information is useless from a law enforcement perspective. It is not useless from a breaching privacy perspective. (This goes to Twigs comment regarding Target).

    You see, knowing I googled something then went to a shoe shop website, then went to a different shoe shop website lets you know with a degree of certainty that I googled for shoes. It doesn’t however provide you any useful information from a Law Enforcement perspective.

    Finally, Anthony, Email Subjects and Headers are likely being mis-interpreted by Roxon as “IP” headers (and IP recipients). Even if it isn’t however, then she is more than likely refering to logs of an individual ISP’s SMTP server.

    Now, please don’t get me wrong. I am 100% against the introduction of these laws. I am completely against them in every way.
    My argument is that they breach privacy whilst providing no useful law enforcement purpose.

    I do not believe these laws are asking for the implementation of Deep Packet Inspection. If this was the case, it would literally be the implementation of the Chinese Great Firewall, just without the blocking switches turned on. This government has set that policy aside.

    We need to fight this policy, but based on what they are asking for. Not our worst case scenario (which is easy for them to argue against since it is simply not what they are asking for!)

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