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Metadata definition ‘contestable’

Media Release
Scott Ludlam 3 Dec 2013

Australian Greens Communications spokesperson Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam. 3 December 2013.

Today in Senate Question Time, Senator Ludlam asked the Attorney General whether he would assist the Prime Minister to understanding what meant by the term metadata.

"His answer could be construed as a deliberate attempt to ensure that the general public ends up as confused as the Liberal Party," said Australian Greens Communications spokesperson Senator Ludlam.

"Yesterday the Prime Minister displayed his misunderstanding of the term metadata by describing it as simply billing data. In fact metadata can include mobile and landline phone records, a person's location, their entire social network, the source and destination of electronic mail and a person's web history," Senator Ludlam said.

"The response of the Attorney that, "the term metadata means different things to different people", stands in stark contrast to the definition provided by the Attorney General's Department to Senate Estimates and several Senate Inquiries.

"It remains unclear whether the Attorney intends to replace his Department's one page definition with the Prime Minister's two word version, given he believes the Prime Minister's statement was "a perfectly accurate shorthand description of a contestable concept," Senator Ludlam concluded.

Senator Ludlam's Question to the Attorney General:
The Attorney General's Department Definition of Telecommunications Data - tabled in Senate Estimates during 2012 and provided to the PJCIS Inquiry:



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