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Help Australia's PM and attorney-general to define metadata

Oz politicians want to collect it, but don't know what it is, so let's 'help' them out

Parliament House Canberra by Flickr user OzMark17 used under CC Share and Share alike licence

POLL Australia's prime minister Tony Abbott and attorney-general George Brandis on Tuesday announced that Australia will collect telecommunications metadata.

Yesterday, they contradicted each other, and themselves, when attempting to define metadata and exactly what they propose to collect.

Both failed to offer a consistent definition. Brandis' efforts on Sky News were widely held to be a laughable failure.

The debate has descended into farce after the two said web sites visited won't be collected, but IP addresses of sites you visit could well be. Then there's the matter of scope creep: the metadata retention plan was announced as an anti-terror measure. Prime minister Abbott has since said it will be used to fight garden-variety crime.

Australians are bemused by this void, so if clever Reg readers could help the PM and A-G out, it will go down well in Vulture South.

We're therefore asking you to take the poll below, which asks you to define metadata, suggest where it be stored and how to ensure Australia's limited resources aren't wasted on trivia.

We'll be sure to forward your comments to Brandis and Abbott.

Once we do, bask in the knowledge that you've contributed your expertise to an important policy debate!

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How did it feel getting that off your chest? We thought it might be cathartic. Feel free to vent more - and offer deeper policy suggestions - in the comments. ®

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