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Australian Law Records your Private Data – How to Protect & Encrypt Phone Calls & Messages

October 13th is the date when the new ‘Metadata Retention Law ‘ is implemented in Australia by its Government. Many of you might not have heard of this right, let me explain in detail. According to Wikipedia, the word Metadata refers to”data about data” which means when you send or receive any data through internet, it also carriers other information like your location, recent activities, time, date and few others.

For example, when you captured an image it also shows the location and settings of the camera. The image is data what you can see from outside, but the information regarding the image settings and location is the metadata which many of internet users in the world may be unaware.

Now with the new Metadata Law, the Government can save every information like the location and duration when you made a call, but it cannot record the conversation. This is the same way how the Indian Government’s Netra work, but there is no law for saving the metadata for two years. Although this is not a new law, starting from October 13th it is mandatory for ISP’s and telcos to save the metadata.

The majority of the people are opposing their Governments stand as a major invasion of privacy while the Government is defending its stand by saying the law is implemented to protect the country against crime and terrorism. In the opinion poll conducted earlier this year, 40% of them have supported the law while 44% of them have opposed it, the other 16% of them had no idea about this law.

The ISP’s and telecom operators need to store your metadata for two years. The initial setup will be costing around AUD 131 and after this, the ISP’s and telcos have to maintain at their own cost, which we can expect them to pass the bills on to their customers. If any of the ISP’s or telcos is failing to the Government’s orders on this new law, a fine of AUD 2 million will be enforced.

The collected data can be accessed from the local police station to all the way upto Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO). If you are thinking this as a good idea, here is the question, How safe is your data stored in the data centers? Even few of data centers are located offshore making it easier for the Hackers. Telstra, Australia’s leading telecom company, quoted it as a “honey pot for hackers.”

snowden

Talking about this new law, Edward Snowden said, “They’re not going to stop the next attacks either. Because they’re not public safety programs. They’re spying programs.” He also added, “But the question that we as a society have to ask — are our collective rights worth a small advantage in our ability to spy?”

Here are the ways to Protect & Encrypt Phone Calls & Messages:

Protecting Phone Data

  • iPhone users can use the iMessage and FaceTime apps for encrypted messaging and calls. Signal is the other iOS app for encrypting both messages and calls.
  • Android users can download the TextSecure and RedPhone apps from PlayStore for encrypting messages and calls.

Protecting Internet Usage

  • Purchase a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service that will be around $5 to $10 per month.

Here you can pledge against the new Metadata Retention Law.

Click here to get the free copy of the new Metadata Retention Law [Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Act 2015]

By Teja Chedalla on Tuesday 13th of Oct 2015


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