'Big Brother' Oz wants to snoop into every citizen's browser

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Melbourne, June 11 (ANI): Companies who provide customers with a connection to the Internet may soon have to retain subscriber's private web browsing history for law enforcement to examine when requested.

Industry insiders, however, have criticized the move.

The Attorney General's Department yesterday confirmed to ZDNet Australia that it had been in discussions with industry on implementing a data retention regime in Australia.

Such a regime would require companies providing Internet access to log and retain customer's private web browsing history for a certain period of time for law enforcement to access when needed.

Currently, companies that provide customers with a connection to the Internet don't retain or log subscriber's private web browsing history unless they are given an interception warrant by law enforcement, usually approved by a judge. It is only then that companies can legally begin tapping a customer's Internet connection.

In March 2006, the European Union formally adopted its data retention directive (PDF), a directive, which the Australian Government said it wished to use as an example if it implemented such a regime.

The EU regime requires that the communications providers from certain EU member states retain necessary data as specified in the Directive for a period of between six and 24 months.

Internet Industry Association (IIA) CEO Peter Coroneos said the industry was having discussions with the Attorney General's Department. (ANI)

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