Australia's government looks set to pass an idiotic bill requiring ISPs to retain metadata on customers for two years, because terrorism. This system will be a boondoggle, accomplishing exactly nothing and costing a fortune, so I decided to write my local MP because hey, it's 30 minutes of my time and I had nothing better to do this afternoon anyway:

Good Afternoon Mr Broad,

I'm writing you today with grave concerns about the current government's plan to implement mandatory metadata retention.

Forcing the few companies that provide internet access to a regional city like Horsham to bear the costs[1] of retaining metadata for two years will do much more to disincentivise companies from providing services to marginally profitable markets like rural cities.

The worst part is it won't even do anything. I moved back here a few years ago from the USA, and kept my Netflix account active. I happily watch it via a VPN each and every month, and if I can do it to watch TV, terrorist groups can certainly do it to arrange violence on our shores and abroad.

If not VPNs, there's also TOR[2], I2P[3] among numerous other networks with varying degrees of anonymity, one of which I'm under the impression Malcolm Turnbull is rather fond of[4].

Make no bones about it, metadata retention is wholly and completely ineffective at catching people who utilize any of these services. It will cost between $200M and $400M and do nothing but catch the types of criminals who write about their intended exploits on toilet stall walls. As we've seen already, these types are trivially caught by good old fashion police work. Or not, as in the case of Man Haron Monis, about whom our security hotline apparently received 18 calls[5] and still failed to act.

Terrorists may not have the most common sense or reasoning ability when it comes to theology, but to write them off as all imbeciles does far more damage to our country's national security than a lack of metadata ever could.

I would love to hear if you intend to vote to pass this bill, and if so, what reasoning you have behind your decision.

Thank you very much for your time.

James Fraser

1) http://www.ag.gov.au/dataretention
2) https://www.torproject.org/
3) https://geti2p.net/en/
4) http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/consumer-security/20150303-13tgxy.html
5) http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-31572949

Because he's a member of quite possibly the most useless political party in existence ("Nationals", who pretend to be a country party but are in fact simply Liberal party for people who hate blue and like green), I'm fully expecting to receive a "we've simply got to do something!!1" response, but I really felt like joining in the chorus of complaints.

We'll see what the response, if any, is.

Horsham, VIC fwaggle

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Horsham, VIC

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