PM re­jects meta­data con­cerns

The Courier-Mail - - FEDERAL POLITICS -

TONY Ab­bott has re­jected the me­dia’s calls to be able to chal­lenge at­tempts by po­lice and other agen­cies to ob­tain a war­rant to ac­cess jour­nal­ists’ phone and in­ter­net records.

The Prime Min­is­ter, who was a jour­nal­ist in the 1980s be­fore the dig­i­tal era, said he was never wor­ried about gov­ern­ment agen­cies ob­tain­ing in­for­ma­tion about his sources and that, un­der his plans, there were more me­dia pro­tec­tions.

“There is no spe­cial pro­tec­tion for jour­nal­ists’ meta­data right now. So, we are propos­ing much greater pro­tec­tion for jour­nal­ists’ meta­data than is cur­rently the case,” he said.

He made the com­ments as Par­lia­ment be­gan de­bat­ing laws on data re­ten­tion that will force telcos and in­ter­net ser­vice providers to store “meta­data”, in­clud­ing con­tact de­tails, for two years.

The laws will al­low po­lice and other gov­ern­ment agen­cies to ac­cess the in­for­ma­tion for in­ves­ti­ga­tions into crimes, in­clud­ing ter­ror­ism.

Me­dia or­gan­i­sa­tions in­clud­ing News Corp Australia, pub­lisher of The Courier-Mail, have raised con­cerns that the laws could be used to iden­tify jour­nal­ists’ sources. ED­I­TO­RIAL P28

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