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The Attorney-General's ofce has been a bit busy this morning, so to assist

here is a copy of the AG's interview on Sky yesterday afternoon eplaining

what metadata is!
"ootage of the interview is available here!
E&OE Transcript
Sky News PM Agenda
Interview with David Speers and George Brandis
ednesday! " A#g#st $%&'
DA(ID SPEE)S* #ell, as we have $ust been discussing there's been some
concern and some confusion about elements of the new anti-terror laws the
Government has proposed $ust yesterday! %oining me now is the Attorney-
General George &randis, welcome to the program!
GEO)GE B)ANDIS* 'i (avid!
SPEE)S* )et's start with this plan for mandatory retention of metadata!
#hat is metadata in your view*
B)ANDIS* #ell metadata is, the best metaphor + can give you is take,
imagine a letter, right, the metadata is the name and address on the
envelope, not the content of the letter, so ,
SPEE)S* #hat if +'m online though*
B)ANDIS* #ell, + was going to give you the eample of mobile phone
communication which is the most commonly used device by the security
agencies! They can't access the content of calls, the content of course isn't
retained, but the metadata is - the phone number from which the call is
initiated, the phone number to which the call is made, the identity of the
owners of those numbers, the location from which the call is made and the
location of the recipient of the call!
SPEE)S* The time, the duration!
B)ANDIS* The time, the duration! That's metadata!
SPEE)S* +t gets more complicated when you talk about online, internet use!
B)ANDIS* +t does a little, but essentially it's the same principle! +t's not
content, it-s the details of the call! #hat basically has until now been
maintained by the telcos for billing purposes, so we are not really asking the
telcos to do anything other than they already do, but the difculty here, +
think +'ve eplained it!!!
SPEE)S* #ell do they all do this*
B)ANDIS* #ell this is the point!
SPEE)S* + mean does (odo for eample, do they hold this stu.*
B)ANDIS* + don-t know, + don-t want to talk about particular companies, but
the general industry standard or practice has been that they-ve maintained
this data for billing purposes because people used to be billed on a call by
call basis, for eample, in the case of phone calls, but now of course the
phone companies sell blocks of time, and they bill according to blocks of
time, so it hasn-t - so increasingly it won't be necessary for the companies for
their own purposes to keep these as business records!
SPEE)S* /kay, the 0rime 1inister said today it's not what you are doing on
the internet it's the sites you're visiting! So will it be the sites you are
B)ANDIS* +t wouldn't etend for eample to web sur2ng, so what people are
viewing on the internet is not going to be caught!
SPEE)S* +t-s not the sites you're visiting*
B)ANDIS* #ell, what people are viewing on the internet when they web surf
is not going to be caught! #hat will be caught is the web address they
communicate to!
SPEE)S* /kay, so it's only - sorry, the web address, if + go to an internet
site, that will be recorded and available*
B)ANDIS* The web address is part of the metadata!
SPEE)S* The website!
B)ANDIS* The web address! The electronic address of the website!
SPEE)S* /kay but if + go to the Sky 3ews website, the Australian website, a
more 4uestionable website, is that what we are talking about here*
B)ANDIS* #ell, 5stammering6 the, what you're viewing on the internet is not
what we-re interested in and that not what we regard as ,
SPEE)S* 7ou'll be able to see whether +'ve been to that website, or that
website or that website*
B)ANDIS* #hat we-ll be able, what the security agencies want to know, to
be retained is the electronic address of the website that the web user is
SPEE)S* +t does tell you the website!
B)ANDIS* +t tells you will the address of the website!
SPEE)S* That's the website, isn't it! +t tells you what website you've been to!
B)ANDIS* #ell when you visit a website people brows from one thing to the
net! That browsing history won8t be retained or there won't be any capacity
to access that!
SPEE)S* 9cuse my confusion here, but if you are retaining the web
address, you are retaining the website, aren-t you*
B)ANDIS* #ell, every website has an electronic address, right*
SPEE)S* 7ep and that's recorded!
B)ANDIS* #hen a connection is made between a one commuter terminal
and a web address that fact and the time of the connection and the duration
of the connection is what we mean by metadata in that contet!
SPEE)S* &ut that is telling you where +-ve been on the web*
B)ANDIS* +t records what web - what electronic web address has been
SPEE)S* + don't see the di.erence between that and the website ,
B)ANDIS* #hen you go to a website commonly you will go from one web
page to another, from one link to another and another within that website!
That's not what we are interested in!
SPEE)S* The overarching, if + go to the Sky 3ews website it will tell that but
not necessarily the links within that that + go to!
B)ANDIS* 7es!
SPEE)S* /kay, what about social media*
B)ANDIS* That's been developed - please understand, (avid, what is being
decided is an in principle decision, and the etent to which social media will
be involved in this is something is under discussion at the moment!
SPEE)S* #hat is your position on this* #ould you like to see ,
B)ANDIS* + don't want to pre-empt the discussions, + think we are going
down, as it were, the wrong path here, because what the agencies are - the
security agencies are in fact primarily interested in at the moment is mobile
phone trafc!
SPEE)S* The what if + had a Skype conversation with someone, a Google
:hat and a "ace Time conversation!
B)ANDIS* Those are the things we are in discussion with the
SPEE)S* 7ou'd like to be able to see who +'m talking to, wouldn't you*
B)ANDIS* 3ot necessarily ,
SPEE)S* That's the same as a phone call!
B)ANDIS* #e want to maintain the sharp distinction between metadata and
content! "or reasons for eample you adverted to in our previous discussion,
sometimes that distinction is blurred and that's why ,
SPEE)S* That's a problem, though*
B)ANDIS* That's why we are developing protocols to try and ensure that the
integrity of that distinction is maintained!
SPEE)S* +f terrorists are talking on Skype that may not be caught*
B)ANDIS* #e want it to be caught, but in terms of data retention, + mean,
not all Skype conversations are going to correspond to the description of
SPEE)S* Alright, let me ask you this, is the information that is kept going to
be used $ust for investigating terrorism or for other criminal acts*
B)ANDIS* /ur primary focus is terrorism, but the fact is that access to
metadata is an etremely useful criminal investigative tool! + understand for
eample that when %ill 1eagher was murdered in ;ictoria, a little while ago it
was access to metadata that assisted ;ictoria police to track down the killer
SPEE)S* #ith a warrant!
B)ANDIS* #ith a warrant! + have discussed this matter with my counterpart
of the <nited =ingdom recently who tells me that this is also used to track
down paedophile )inks!
SPEE)S* #hat about downloading illegal content* #ould ti be sued for that*
B)ANDIS* #e're not interested in that!
SPEE)S* There is some point ,
B)ANDIS* This is at its heart a counterterrorism measure!
SPEE)S* + have to ask you 2nally about the >acial (iscrimination Act
changes, you were, even the night before the cabinet meeting here on Sky
3ews eplaining why ?@ : needed to go! 3et day Tony Abbott has
announced they are being kept! #ere you rolled on this*
B)ANDIS* #ell, you know what this business is like (avid, you win a few,
you lose a few! At the end of the day as the 0rime 1inister himself said, he
made a leader's call! /ne of the observations that a number of
commentators have been making about our government they have said well
your agenda is too cluttered, you are 2ghting on too many fronts! /ur
biggest task at the moment is to get the budget under control! That means
getting the budget through the Senate! There are other important agenda
items as well!
SPEE)S* +s this gone for good*
B)ANDIS* + can understand the 0rime 1inister's view, and + accept the
0rime 1inister's view, that the Government needs to focus on a smaller
number of core priorities and that was the reason for his decision!
SPEE)S* #e will have to leave it there! Attorney-General George &randis,
thanks for $oining us this afternoon!
B)ANDIS* Thanks (avid!