Tuesday, 21 April 2015 20:44

ISOC-AU chief warns data retention policy risks ‘hurting’ Internet users Featured

Laurie Patton, ISOC-AU CEO Laurie Patton, ISOC-AU CEO

The chief of the Internet Society of Australia (ISOC-AU) has again criticised the federal government’s data retention legislation, raising concerns that the legislation risks “unintended consequences” that will hurt Internet users.

ISOC-AU CEO Laurie Patton describes the government’s actions in introducing the legislation as “use of blunt legislative instruments” that have limited chances of overall success but risk unintended consequences that will hurt Internet users.

At a Sydney industry conference today, Patton was also was critical of the "highly problematic" copyright amendments proposed by the government.

Today’s criticism of the “flawed” data retention legislation follows Patton’s comments just last week when he told iTWire that in introducing its legislation on cybersecurity, “Both the Government and Opposition have been bought and sold by the security forces.”

“There were many backbenchers on both sides that were concerned about the bill but they were taken to with baseball bats and told to shut up by the leadership. Many more people are going to die on the roads than be killed by terrorists in this country,” Patton told iTWire.

In his comments today, Patton says that "any legislation that causes people to lose their trust in an open and accessible Internet is not in Australia's best interest”.

"The last minute amendments agreed to by the Government and the Opposition might have improved the situation, but we are still introducing at a costly scheme that hasn't been proven to deliver the goods overseas.

“The Internet Society is working with the Government to ensure that the legislation causes the least interruption and inconvenience to Internet users. We will be monitoring the introduction of the data retention scheme and will make further recommendations for amendments when and if necessary."

On the Copyright Bill, Patton is equally critical of the proposed legislation.

As he said today: "Apparently the overseas rights holders want access to site blocking to be more affordable. Well Australian consumers want access to overseas content to be more affordable."

Patton said the Government should look at using the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations to “seek a ban on geoblocking and insist on the timely release of content at fair and reasonable prices."

"Using legislation to try to stop people from acquiring overseas content is not only questionable technically it is not acting in the best interests of Australian Internet users.

"The Internet Society's members have significant concerns about the legislation affecting their costs of operation. These costs will come on top of the expenses to be incurred in complying with the Data Retention Bill."


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).



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