Australia’s Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) has called for journalists to be exempt from government access to phone and web data, warning that the government’s data retention proposal risks making it impossible for a free press to function.
The plan to retain web and phone data will mean that a range of telecommunications and service providers will need to keep an as-yet-unspecified set of data.
The bill does not limit the range of offences that can be investigated, which means that phone and web metadata may be used to investigate confidential sources and whistleblowers who provide information to journalists without the approval of the government.
German domestic security service has pressed charges of treason against Netzpolitik.org, one of Germany’s most influential digital rights blogs, as a result of two articles it posted earlier this year. The articles reported on leaked documents regarding the German government’s mass surveillance plans. The German criminal code considers the leaking of state secrets to a foreign power, or to anyone else with the intention of damaging the Republic, to be treason.