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Law Council says data retention plan needs rethink

ONE of the legal profession's top bodies has urged the Senate to go back to the drawing board on the Abbott Government's data retention laws.

A submission from the Law Council of Australia to a joint committee of inquiry into the controversial national security legislation has urged the proposed laws be dropped or major changes be made to protect privacy.

The Law Council is one of several groups urging changes to the proposed laws as the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security prepares for hearings later this week.

Council president Duncan McConnel said it supported efforts to improve the telecommunications interception laws, but the government's response "must be necessary and proportionate".

The government has not yet detailed what information would be held by internet service providers under the changes or how much it would cost taxpayers.

Mr McConnel said the proposed scheme was not defined enough for people to "know the extent of interference with their privacy" or for the industry to know their own legal obligations.

"The Law Council also has concerns about the proportionality of the data retention regime, security of the retained data and the impact on privacy and confidential communications," he said.

He urged the committee to ensure the definition of retained data be defined in the legislation, conflicting with the intelligence agencies' push for it to be put in regulations that are more easily changed.

The council will be among several organisations to speak to the committee during two days of hearings this week.


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