By Sean Bates, Secretarty, ITPA

Monday, 10 February, 2020

In a surprise to no one, the commonwealth ombudsman recently revealed that data that was specifically excluded from collection under the mandatory data retention laws, has in fact been collected and provided to numerous government agencies.

The recent revelation from the commonwealth ombudsman is reason for considerable alarm, both for IT Professionals and Australian citizens as a whole.

It paints a grim picture whereby many ISP’s are providing personal data regarding privateAustralian’s browsing habits that the mandatory data retention laws seek to specifically exclude.

Further, the ombudsman states that the definition of ‘metadata’ is extremely grey and that data of this nature has been provided 295,691 times in the past year.

The implications for all of this is that it has now been clearly demonstrated that the mandatory data retention laws results in ISPs collecting and distributing private Australian citizens’ data to law enforcement agency without any legal justification.

Australian citizens justifiably have an expectation of privacy and of government agencies acting within their legal bounds. This alarming turn of events clearly demonstrates that these expectations are already being eroded away.

As IT professionals, we are in a privileged position as we often have a deep insight into technology related matters, which we can leverage to advocate for reasonable outcomes. It is our responsibility to educate, advise and advocate wherever we can in order to ensure our lawmakers pass laws that are logical and in the best interests of our country as a collective

As Australian citizens, it is incumbent on us to take an interest and understand the implications of laws such as this. Apathy leads to continued poor outcomes and potentially erosion of rights and freedoms that have been hard fought.


“ITPA will continue to monitor and advocate for increased scrutiny and amendments to this and other legislation where it believes the full implications have not been duly considered.”