Australia’s Mandatory Data Retention Scheme Now in Effect
As if we didn’t have it bad enough before with the lack of content and regional restrictions imposed on us by multinational corporations, it seems now even our government has it out for us. Let’s begin with the basics.
What is Metadata?
Metadata is like its name suggests, a type of data that is used to give information about another set of data. It has several types which we are not going to get into at the moment, but it means anything that gives information about another source. For example, a title, an author or keywords, types of files, etc.
What does the mandatory scheme mean to me?
This mandatory data retention scheme went into effect on 13th April 2017. Most people believe that what they do online is between them and their computers, but that is far from the truth. Your Internet service provider can see everything you do.
Every video you like, every picture you download, and of course every website you open. Nothing done on the internet escapes their grasp.
But the good thing was, that mostly, all of this information was kept to the ISP, and only a very small need to know few others.
And even then, if any government agency needed to access your private information, they would have to get a court order or some other kind of proper authority, without which they would not have any access to it.
Because of the Copyright Amendment Bill 2015, telecommunication agencies were required to record a certain type of metadata, to be specific, the users account name, date, time and connection duration against the service they access.
Location data is also logged as well. And all this was done to stop piracy, from all types of media including but not limited to movies, TV shows, music, applications and programs including games, etc.
What this scheme does is it gives ISP’s permission to record all of this data for up to 2 years, including your email, phone, and other internet records.
It’s mass surveillance without any proper oversight. This scheme has allowed a lot of government agencies to have warrantless access to all of your stored data, even the ones that are not even related to law enforcement. Meaning there is no reason they should ever have this data.
Why Using a VPN is More Important than Ever?
Thankfully, we have something called a virtual private network, which can still give us a modicum of privacy against all the odds.
By connecting your computer directly to their network, they act as an intermediary between you and the internet.
Meaning if you connect to a server in the US, all your ISP will see is that you are using a VPN service, but not what kind of content you are accessing.
All of your information will be kept private and protected by encryption. You will also be completely anonymous.