A bipartisan parliamentary committee says 38 changes are needed to the government’s proposed data retention laws before the bill is allowed to pass.
The laws would force telecommunications companies to retain customer metadata for two years, to allow police and intelligence agents to be better able to investigate terrorism and organised crime.
The joint intelligence and security committee report says the proposed set of data to be retained should be included in the legislation and not simply as an attachment.
It should also be made clear in writing that telcos are not required to keep web-browsing histories or other destination information.
The committee backed the two-year period, despite concerns from civil liberties lawyers that it was too long.
The government should make a “substantial contribution” to the upfront capital costs of service providers, the committee says.
The question of protecting journalist’s sources should be referred to a separate inquiry to report to parliament within three months.