The Courier-Mail

PM rejects metadata concerns

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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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