Data retention: 'A couple of issues which do require more work' says Shorten

Protections for press, storage of data need to be worked out

Labor leader Bill Shorten today told journalists there were some issues with the government's proposed data retention legislation but none of them "are too hard to work out".

Issues to be resolved include where the data kept by telcos and ISPs under the scheme is stored and the ability of journalists to protect the confidentiality of their sources.

"We want to make sure that the press are able to do their jobs and they’re able to maintain the confidentiality of their sources, this is an important issue and I don’t think the matter is resolved and there is not agreement quite where that lands," Shorten said today during a doorstop interview in Canberra.

The bipartisan report of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security on the data retention bill included among its recommendations that "the question of how to deal with the authorisation of a disclosure or use of telecommunications data for the purpose of determining the identity of a journalist’s source be the subject of a separate review by this Committee".

The PJCIS would report back to parliament within three months, states the Advisory report on the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill 2014, which was released last week.

"There's also been some issues raised about where the data is stored in the cloud; is it stored onshore, it is stored offshore?" Shorten said.

The PJCIS report did not make any specific recommendations in relation to mandating on-shore storage of metadata, although it did recommend the data retention bill "be amended to require service providers to encrypt telecommunications data that has been retained for the purposes of the mandatory data retention regime".

"None of these issues are issues which are too hard to work out, but they're not issues which can be sorted out by, you know, a statement or a press release in a matter of minutes," Shorten said today.

"But I would submit our record. We've stood up on all the matters that I think are important to Australians and we've managed to work with the government and navigate them to a better place and we'll keep doing that work."

Follow Rohan on Twitter: @rohan_p

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