malcolm turnbull
Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull signs an official note during a ceremony with the Australian Governor General Peter Cosgrove for the swearing in of the federal government in Canberra, Australia, July 19, 2016. Reuters/David Gray

The Australian government has called for public comment as the government wants to use metadata for civil lawsuits. It would be helpful in producing evidence that would assist criminal and terrorism investigations.

Metadata is described as the data of a data. It may include the name, source of communication, duration and time of communication. Privacy experts said that it can provide accurate user profiles as well as track their activities. The information that can be retrieved will be useful for police and security agencies in their investigations.

If it will be allowed for use as reference, a corporation can take a person to court for a copyright infringement case. It can also use the metadata the ISP collected as evidence.

In October 2015, the data retention law first came into effect in Australia. The law requires telcos to store customer data for a minimum of two years for access by registered and sanctioned agencies.

The retrieval of the data would affect the privacy of a normal Australian. The attempt to avoid the laws may not be easy but possible, according to Philip Branch of Swinburne University of Technology.

A third party protection can be a solution by using several communication applications. Some of the applications are encrypted, meaning that the content it produced is indecipherable. However, there are still loopholes as the metadata produced during communication exchange can trace the identities of the participants.

There was also a suggestion to use Wickr to avoid the retrieval of metadata. It is a messaging application favoured by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. It does not have a metadata linking the recipient and the sender. However, the investigator can easily access the metadata by finding a correlation between the one who sent messages to the application's server just before the recipient received them.

The Attorney-General's Department (AGD) calls the public to comment on the issue. The public can submit at the AGD website until Jan.27.