The new metadata retention law in Australia, due to its vague definition, makes things quite confusing when it comes to defining metadata and what is actually going to be collected. So, an easy way to think about metadata is to describe it as data produced by any electronic machine.
For example, when you make a phone call, the metadata collected from that call would contain things like the name of the person you’re calling, duration of the call and the location from where the call was made. However, your conversation won’t be recorded.
Moreover, metadata could also include the websites you have visited in the last two years, your browsing habits, e-mail address, phone number, online financial transactions, and so on.
The newly introduced metadata law in Australia is, therefore, an invasion of privacy of Australian internet users. According to this law, ISPs have the right to store your data for up totwo years. The collected data could be used by law enforcement and intelligence agencies to help with their investigations. And to make matters worse, the agencies won’t require a warrant to obtain this data.
We've already discussed how destructive and unethical these laws can be for Australian internet users. Now, we'll analyse how these laws affect our everyday lives in the era of IoT.
IoT Metadata Retention
Cisco believes that there may be 50 billion IoT devices connected to the internetby 2020. These devices shall remain connected to the internet at all times and will be incredibly convenient in our daily lives.
An example may be a smart refrigerator emailing you when you’re running out of milk, or a smart alarm clock turning on your coffee maker only when you silence your alarm clock and get out of bed.
For maximum experience, these devices will need to monitor your daily activities and will have to adapt to your daily routine. However, if the current metadata law comes into effect, it would mean that the ISPs could also monitor our activities and store that data.
The cost of storing data
The most worrying thought regarding the IoT metadata retention laws is the cost of storing all this data. IoT devices are already found in every home in the form of smartphones and Tablets. Sooner rather than later, more devices will be included as technology progresses, and the cost of storing all this data would go up.
The government has already allotted funds and doesn’t plan to invest in the cost of storage, so it will naturally pass on to the consumers. This means that on top of the government collecting your personal data, you’ll also have to pay for the storage of that data. In other words, it’s like you’re being robbed by criminals and after the ordeal, they ask you to help pay for the storage of all the stuff they just stole from you.
IoT Metadata Retention Saviour
Since we know that the current metadata retention law will only get complicated in the future due to the introduction of more IoT devices,internet users must employ adequate measures to protect their online privacy and to avoid unnecessary costs that shouldn't be placed on them in the first place.
The best solution, in this case, is to use an Australian VPN service. A VPN is short for Virtual Private Network, and it basically hides your internet activities from your ISP, thus blinding the ISP and leaving no trails behind for them to search and collect. In other words, a VPN creates a safe passage through which all your data passes, and no one can access or collect it.
VPNs employ multiple security features that protect users’ from unnecessary burdens like the ones mentioned above. By using a VPN, Aussies can connect with an IP address from a different country or region, thus allowing them to browse the internet outside the domains of the metadata retention law.
It’s a shame the Australian government is employing such anti-privacy measures in the name of fighting terrorism and crime. Thankfully, we have technologies like VPNs that can prevent third-party agencies and hackers from invading our privacy and stealing our precious data.