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Wednesday, 22 August 2012
Page: 6035

Senator LUDWIG (QueenslandMinister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and Minister Assisting on Queensland Floods Recovery) (10:51): It does seem to go to the difference in the phrases between the T(IA) Act, which sets out information or documents that relate to communication, and the phrase in the convention, which, if you will bear with me, seems to relate more to technology. It says:

… any computer data relating to a communication by means of a computer system, generated by a computer system that formed a part in the chain of communication, indicating the communication’s origin, destination, route, time, date, size, duration, or type of underlying service.

I do not see a substantive difference, other than one tries to relate more broadly to a type of technologies, whereas if you note the definition of 'traffic data' in the convention, it is inclusive rather than exhaustive. Ultimately, I think the technologically neutral way that we have phrased it captures all of the essence of what they describe. In Australia, as you well know, legislation is typically drafted to ensure it is technologically neutral so that law can apply to new and emerging technologies without the need for amendment.

So I accept that we do use slightly different phrases to refer to the concept of communications data. I do note that rather than ours being exhaustive, theirs is inclusive. But, ultimately, I do not see a substantive difference between the phrases in the legislation.