In a small step towards recognising the legitimately personal nature of metadata the Australian Privacy Commissioner has ordered telco Telstra to hand over personal metadata to journalist Ben Grubb after a two year dispute. The story is covered by ABC here.
The ruling appears to represent a different point of view to that espoused by the Abbott government which has argued that mandatory data retention laws did not retain personal information because metadata was analogous to no more than the address on an envelope (Abbott’s analogy in August 2014.) Clearly information that records where I was, when and who I contacted is a lot more personal that that. Also clearly, if the AFP posted an officer at my front gate to check what envelopes come into my letter box, I’d be worried.
The issue is briefly covered by Lateline reporter Margot O’Neil in a video here.