Well, this is awkward.
In the interview, Brandis clumsily attempts to explain details of the Federal government’s controversial “data retention” policy, which would force telcos to log their customers’ ‘metadata’ for up to two years.
Take a look at this extract. We promise that, 14 seconds in, you’ll be chuckling and cringing at the same time:
Look, metadata is confusing. It’s kind of like the cloud – everybody’s heard of it in some round about way, but nobody really knows what it is.
In a very basic nutshell, metadata is information about people’s online and telephone behaviour. People are concerned about metadata because it obviously affects their privacy online. It’s not entirely clear which parts of our online behaviour are considered metadata, and that’s where everybody seems to be confused. So – if you buy some shoes on ASOS, is the style and size of the shoes you bought stored as metadata, or just the fact that you went to the website?
Nobody seems to know any details.
Which is fine, if you’re an average person on the street with a Facebook account, but it’s pretty bloody concerning when the people who are responsible for creating legislation to manage metadata don’t seem to able to provide a straight answer as to what it actually is.
Brandis not being able to explain metadata is kind of Mark Zuckerberg not being able to use a computer.
And it doesn’t just stop at Brandis.
“It’s not the content of the letter, it’s what’s on the envelope,” Mr Abbott said.
“It’s not what you’re doing on the internet, it’s the sites you’re visiting… It’s not the content, it’s just where you’ve been so to speak,” he said.
There was some confusion over Mr Abbott’s statement that the policy would capture ‘the sites you’re visiting’, with Fairfax reporting that his office later clarified that this would require a warrant.
What do you think of the data retention policy?