Why nothing you do online is private anymore

Under the Australian Federal Government's Metadata Retention Scheme, which passed the Senate in March 2015, telcos and ISPs are required to collect and retain customers' metadata for at least two years.
Under the Australian Federal Government's Metadata Retention Scheme, which passed the Senate in March 2015, telcos and ISPs are required to collect and retain customers' metadata for at least two years. Inga Williams

FOR all the years it dominated headlines across Australia, the Federal Government's data retention laws came into effect with little fanfare.

For some, the laws are Orwellian.

But what do they mean for the average Bundaberg resident browsing the NewsMail's website or making a phone call?

Under the Australian Federal Government's Metadata Retention Scheme, which passed the Senate in March 2015, telcos and ISPs are required to collect and retain customers' metadata for at least two years.

While this bill was passed in 2015, telecommunication service providers were given until April 13 to develop their systems and become compliant.

What is metadata?

Metadata is essentially any information that is generated when we call, text or use the Internet.

So for phone calls the metadata would be the date, time, location and duration of the call but not the content of the call.

The Coalition insists metadata is a crucial weapon in the fight against counter-terrorism and organised crime.

But privacy advocate groups argue the changes inflict on our online privacy.

CQUniversity School of Engineering and Technology senior lecturer Dr Ritesh Chugh said the average Bundaberg resident had nothing to worry about.

"Personally, I think it's something we have to get used to," he said.

"I see more advantages of the data being available to government agencies, whether they use it or not is a different story.

"I don't think they (residents) should worry about it and everyone should just go on with their life."

Digital Rights Watch chairman Tim Singleton Norton disagreed.

"It's important that we mark this date - and pause to remember that a detailed picture of the private lives of Australian citizens is being collected by telecommunication companies on behalf of the government," he said.

The change has seen an increase in interest in virtual private networks but Dr Chugh said there were risks involved.

A VPN encrypts data when it travels through the internet and the service usually costs about $10 a month.

"VPNs provide security, anonymity and protection against surveillance but I think it is an unnecessary trade-off in hiding our digital footprint," Dr Chugh said.

The retention scheme will be reviewed in 2019.

Topics:  cquniversity data retention metadata orwellian telecommunication virtual private network vpn

Brisbane's arts and culture events centre stage

A CITY drenched in culture, Brisbane is again flaunting an arts and culture events calendar fit for a queen.

Homewares stores to fulfil your Instagram dreams

No Caption

You too can become an Insta-star with these fab stores.

Date nights under $50

Nothing is more romantic than a picnic with a cracking view.

NOT every date has to cost you a bomb.

Top 10 Brisbane experiences to cross off your bucket list

Do yourself a favour and get amongst the food truck scene. Eat Street is a great place to start.

A GOOD bucket list doesn’t have to span continents or cost millions.

Six mega sporting events you need to be at this year

Don't miss all the action trackside this season.

IF THERE is one thing Brisbane does damn well, it’s play host.

Insider’s guide to the best rooftop bars

Eleven Rooftop Bar is one to put on your hit list.

SEE the world from a different perspective...

Where to get your hands on the best wings

Try out these bad boys at Buffalo Bar.

IS THERE anything better than a wicked bowl of chicken wings? Nope.

LETTERS: Government will undo our schools' hard work

FUNDING FAIL: The Federal Government's school funding plan is clearly not sector-blind, clearly not needs-based and clearly not Gonski, says a reader.

Gonski 2.0 fails to make the grade

Vape store 'raided by health department'

NEW SIGNS: Shane Kerrigan has changed his signage to comply with health department regulations at his e-cigarette shop, iVape, on Bourbong St.

Business owner says it's a little bit ironic

BEACH REPORT: Great weekend on the cards

SURFING: Jack Candy makes the most of the increase in swell size.

Life's a beach in Bundaberg

Local Partners

Gladstone's MasterChef hero blown away by support

CRANE driver Pete Morgan has been bowled over by the support he has received since making his TV debut on MasterChef.

Lyn's knock-out show gets her to next round on The Voice

ONWARDS AND UPWARDS: Lyn Bowtell is through to the battle rounds on The Voice.

'It was bitter sweet to win like that'

Is this the talent you get when you limit electronics?

Cassidy Kilburn in the Get the Beat International Dance Competition.

Cassidy, 11, preparing for national dance championships

Dreamworld may supersize with 'Disneyland expansion'

Dreamworld could become a “more attractive and entertaining park”.

World’s strongest man reveals incredible 12,000 calorie diet

Brian Shaw won his 4th World's Strongest Man title. Source: Twitter

World’s strongest man reveals incredible 12,000-calorie diet

ABC2 slammed over football exhibition match coverage

Fans weren't too happy with ABC2's coverage of Wednesday night's game.

ABC2 slammed for coverage of soccer exhibition match

'Bulls--t!' Lisa Wilkinson grilled over Karl's pay packet

Join us for a Great Night as we Proudly present Lisa Wilkinson

“And you believe everything you read?”

Report reveals progress on $319m airport upgrade

Aerials of the Sunshine Coast.Jetstar plane in front of the Susnhine Coast terminal, Sunshine Coast Airport.

Approvals still needed, but key dates identified and work rolling on

Lost dough leaves sour taste after company collapse

Kathleen and John Mahoney from Sugar and Spice Bakery were stung after the collapse of Cantro Pty Ltd and are still owed money.

Supermarket operator collapse leaves sour taste for bakery

Open for inspection homes May 25-31

Check out this weekend's homes open for inspection

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

One of Maryborough's most historic homes is still for sale

FULL OF HISTORY: Trisha Moulds is owner of the historic Tinana state known as Rosehill. The beautiful home is currently for sale.

It has been the scene of both joy and tragedies over the years.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!