Tony Abbott says data retention will help catch paedophiles

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Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott says the Government’s data retention plans will play a vital role in protecting children against abuse.

Ahead of a major national security address next Monday, the Government is applying additional pressure to get its metadata laws through Parliament.

“We know that access to metadata has played a role in preventing and investigating terrorism offences, but it’s also vital to investigating major crimes that destroy lives in this country — and no crime is more abhorrent than crimes against children,” Abbott said.

“The cost of losing this data is an explosion in unsolved crime.”

The PM revisited his envelope metaphor to describe the way metadata works.

“We are not seeking content, we are seeking metadata,” Abbott said. “Metadata is the material on the front of the envelope… the contents of the letter will remain private.”

He said a warrant would be needed to access the “contents of the letter”.

Earlier this month, Abbott renewed his push for the proposed data retention laws, saying it was necessary to keep up with developments in technology.

“There are very few crimes these days that don’t require access to metadata,” Abbott told reporters on Queensland’s Gold Coast this morning.

The Opposition says it will work with the Government to forward the legislation but is seeking details on the specifics of the proposed scheme.