Australia Drops Snooping Plans — For Now

from the too-early-to-celebrate dept

Last year, we reported on Australia’s plans to bring in comprehensive snooping on its citizens, and more recently how its spies had realized that encrypted services offered an easy way to avoid much of that surveillance. Reuters is now reporting that Australia has put its spying plans on hold — for the moment:

Australia’s government on Monday shelved plans to force phone and Internet companies to hold two years of phone call and email data following concerns raised by a parliamentary inquiry into telecommunications interception laws.

[Lawmakers on the telecommunications inquiry] said Internet browsing data should be excluded from the plans, and called for greater oversight of government agency access to telecommunications data by the ombudsmen and the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security.

However, this seems to be only a temporary reprieve: as the article above notes, Australia will be holding elections in September, and it is expected that the center-right Coalition, currently in opposition, will win power, and probably bring back the proposals. Of course, the current round of leaks about spying on a massive scale by the NSA and GCHQ may well have some impact on the debate, as will any future leaks of information, especially if they concern Australia directly.

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