Surveillance and Data Retention

Whenever your computer makes a connection online it makes a copy of the information you are accessing, which can be a negative thing because this connection becomes data that stays online forever (Mitew 2014). This data is stored in an aggregate for the purpose of surveillance, and as our lives become more permeated by the internet, we create even more data that can be extracted and aggregated (Mitew 2014).

This aggregation of data is terrifying to think about because it is stored in centralised and controlled databases. This idea is becoming more pertinent to the Australian public as the new Data Retention Law became active on 13 October 2015, which says your phone and internet communications – only to whom, when, where, and how you communicate will be recorded, the content of your communications are safe, for now – and must be retained for the next two years by service providers.

In an article by Max Chalmers, embedded tweets from Edward Snowden tell us that “surveillance is not about safety, it’s about power. It’s about control.” This may well be true, as an article by Robin Doherty lists a series of agencies that will be able to access our data without seeking warrants. Although not listed, should we be worried about the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), a member of the ‘Five Eyes,’ being later included?

Doherty’s article also provides some useful links to technology that will allow the public to protect their phone and internet communications. Some examples include: TextSecure, RedPhone, and IPVanish.


Mitew, T 2014, Dark Fiber: Hackers, Botnets, Cyberwar [Part 1], Online Video, YouTube, viewed 14 October 2015,

SamsungTomorrow 2014, Samsung Introduces the Galaxy K zoom, a New Camera Specialized-Smartphone, Image, Flickr, viewed and modified 14 October 2015,