Australia looking into making private browsing data public

Australia's web privacy put into question
Australia's web privacy put into question

Australia is looking into the idea of forcing ISP networks to hold the private web browsing history of subscribers, plus all emails sent, in case the information is needed by law enforcement agencies in the future.

The controversial data retention plan means that all private browsing information in Australia may be held for up to 10 years.

Although, this is a similar piece of legislation the EU has when it comes to phone calls - in the EU's case it's for a two-year period - if it is passed it will be one of the biggest privacy shake-ups to happen to the web.

Consulted broadly

In an official statement, Australia's attorney-general's department noted that it: "has been looking at the European Directive on Data Retention, to consider whether such a regime is appropriate within Australia's law enforcement and security context.

"It has consulted broadly with the telecommunications industry."

Not everyone in the Australian government is happy with the, albeit tentative, plans.

"At some point data retention laws can be reasonable," Electronic Frontier Australia (EFA) chair Colin Jacobs said.

"But highly-personal information such as browsing history is a step too far. You can't treat everybody like a criminal. That would be like tapping people's phones before they are suspected of doing any crime."

There is no time on when and if this law could be implemented. Those close to the talks said it won't come to fruition before the Australian general election.

Via ZDnet

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.