“Everything is hackable”, whistle blower Edward Snowden said of the newly introduced Australian meta-data retention laws, “So you hope the government agency or the third party provider has very high security standards”. If you’re not exactly sure what the meta-data retention laws are, they require telco companies to store records of phone and internet activity for two years and grant access to security and law enforcement agencies without a warrant. This includes the phone number of people you called or sent SMS messages to, time and date of calls and SMS, length of calls, the location of the nearest phone tower when you sent or received a call or SMS; and for internet activity: the time, date, size, sender and recipients of emails, time and duration of your web connections, your IP address, the volume of your uploads and downloads, location and geographical data.
According to the Australian government these laws have been introduced in an effort to enhance Australia’s security against terrorism and criminals. However it would appear that these new laws could actually reduce Australia’s cyber security. While the meta-data won’t record the content of your communications, there is still a lot of information that, if found in the wrong hands, could put Australians and businesses in a vulnerable position. Continue reading