It's metadata day! Let's take another look at the Attorney-General's disastrous explanation of data retention

Attorney-General George Brandis. Photo: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

It may have been over a year ago but we haven’t — and we’re sure Brandis hasn’t — forgotten his disastrous attempt to explain metadata on live television.

Now that the day has arrives and the government’s data retention laws are in action, we thought we’d take another look at the cringe-worthy interview Attorney-General George Brandis had with Sky News about the then-proposed legislation.

In the confusing interview Brandis explains that the federal government wants to monitor and retain online data logs for up to two years but says “what you’re viewing on the internet is not what we’re interested in”.

After admitting that the websites people visited would be captured and recorded, Brandis contradicted his statement by saying the policy wouldn’t extend to web surfing.

“What will be caught is the web address people communicate to… the web address is part of the metadata,” Brandis attempted to explain.

“What the security agencies want to know, to be retained, is the electronic address of the website. When a connection is made between one computer terminal and a web address, that fact, the time of the connection, and the duration of the connection is what we mean by metadata in that context.”

Here’s the video:

The original article, published in August last year, is here.

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