How to bypass Australia's new metadata laws

How to bypass Australia's new metadata laws

As of today, Australia's telecommunications companies are required by law to start storing two years worth of your private metadata logs.

That means that every text message or email you send, every phone call you make or receive, as well as your IP address, will be logged and filed on servers at your telco for two years.

Though the actual content of your phone calls will not be stored, your location during those calls will be recorded, as well as the duration of the conversation, and the identities and locations of both parties on the either end of the phone line.

The same goes for the content in your emails, and while the websites you visit will not be stored, your IP address will be kept on file so that law enforcement can track unlawful activity back to you – it's kind of like giving the police your fingerprint records before any crime has been committed.

With the new data retention laws that have been put in place, government bodies are now able to access all of your private information without your permission and potentially even without a warrant.

Sure, you probably aren't a criminal, so why should this bother you? Well, the funny thing about privacy is that you don't appreciate it until it's gone – several countries in the European Union implemented similar metadata laws in recent years, and some, including Germany, have since abandoned the legislation on grounds of it being ruled unconstitutional.

There's also the questions of who will have access to the data, whether it will be stored here or off-shore and how it will be encrypted.

Most countries with data retention laws will only hold on to the metadata for around six months to a year, unlike the two years in Australia's version of the bill. The more data that is collected, the more of a security risk to personal privacy it poses.

With all those things in mind, here are some ways for you to protect your privacy going forward.

Stephen Lambrechts
Senior Journalist, Phones and Entertainment

Stephen primarily covers phones and entertainment for TechRadar's Australian team, and has written professionally across the categories of tech, film, television and gaming in both print and online for over a decade. He's obsessed with smartphones, televisions, consoles and gaming PCs, and has a deep-seated desire to consume all forms of media at the highest quality possible. 

He's also likely to talk a person’s ear off at the mere mention of Android, cats, retro sneaker releases, travelling and physical media, such as vinyl and boutique Blu-ray releases. Right now, he's most excited about QD-OLED technology, The Batman and Hellblade 2: Senua's Saga.