Divorce lawyers could soon have access to the web, phone and email sessions of every private user in a scheme which has been slammed as “the most intrusive of any developed country”.
Since October 2015, all telephone and internet service providers have been required by law to retain for two years all their clients’ metadata including voice, text and email communications, time, date and device locations and internet sessions. The requirement was said to be needed for national security.
Now the Attorney-General’s department is seeking submissions by January 27 in a review looking to extend access of retained metadata to lawyers acting for clients in civil litigation.
President of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties Stephen Blanks said the move for feuding partners to be allowed to demand internet and phone data history “exposes the inherent problem with the collection of personal information”.
Mr Blanks said the government’s original justification for the laws was that the information could be used to fight serious crime and terrorism but, having got the laws passed, was seeking to open up the use of the data to way beyond those justifications.
“The idea that there is now a data set that can be accessible for any court at all represents the abolition of any privacy,” Mr Blanks said.
“You can’t have an internet or telephone simply for the purpose of browsing online, sending emails or for the purpose of telecommunications — the price of doing those very ordinary things is going to be a traceable data set about everything you’ve done and everywhere you’ve been.
“This kind of permission for using this data generally in litigation represents the complete abolition of the idea that information is gathered and used only for the purpose for which it was really intended.
“Instead it represents the idea that if it exists and can be used for any purpose at all, then it’s legitimate to do so. That is an idea that ought to be rejected.”
The department plans to deliver the findings by April 13.
Source:The Herald Sun