Good morning Australia! Welcome to the new era of mandatory data retention! Hooray!
From today, telecommunication companies will be forced to collect and store all your metadata for a period of up to two years.
That means Telstra, Optus, iiNet and the others, will be keeping every record of who you call/message/email, when you call/message/email and where you are when you do it.
They WON'T collect what you say. But all the other details are there.
Several agencies, like the police and government departments, can get access to this metadata by requesting it from the telcos, and they won't need a warrant, meaning there's very little judicial oversight.
Let this guy, former communications minister (now PM) Malcolm Turnbull explain...
Back in March, Turnbull laid out the very simple ways Australians can get around leaving metadata to be collected.
"You now have the ability by using over-the-top applications it might be something straightforward like WhatsApp. It might be a more encrypted over-the-top application to avoid leaving a trail at Telstra or Optus," he said.
Talking through the communications apps that don't leave a trail - WhatsApp, Skype, Viber, Threema, FaceTime or his personal favourite Wickr - he laughed that he knew a lot about ways to avoid metadata collection.
These apps leave a small data signal with Telstra and Optus. But they can't collect the metadata.
"All that the telco can see, insofar as it can see anything, is that my device has had a connection with the Skype server or the WhatsApp server.
"It doesn't see anything happening with you."
Bring it home Turnbull.
"There are always ways for people to get around things, but of course a lot of people don't, and that's why I've always said the data retention laws, the use of metadata, is not a silver bullet.
"It's not a 100% guarantee. It is one tool in many tools."
Watch the perfect explanation here, uploaded by Greens senator Scott Ludlam.
UPDATE 1800 AEST: Snippets from a powerful old speech from Turnbull, calling for online privacy, started circulating on Tuesday.
Mark Di Stefano is a political editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.
Contact Mark Di Stefano at email@example.com.
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