Metaphors for Metadata: Brandis’ ‘excruciating’ interview spawns metaphor spoofs


Brandis stumbles through ‘excruciating’ interview on data retention policy<strong style="line-height: 1.


538em;”>Infographic: Metadata and data retention explained Comment: Data retention: protecting us from what, and how? Should the average Australian be worried about metadata laws? 

During an interview on Sky News last week, Senator George Brandis struggled to explain details of the government’s proposed data retention policy, which would require telecommunication companies to record users’ phone and internet activity. 

When Sky News journalist David Speers quizzed Senator Brandis on this explanation of metadata, the attorney general only caused further confusion. 

“Well it wouldn’t be extended to, for example, web surfing,” he said. “What people are viewing on the internet is not going to be caught.” 

Seeking further clarification, Speers asked: “So it’s not the sites you’re visiting?” 

Senator Brandis answered: “Well, um, what people are viewing on the internet when they web surf is not going to be caught, what will be caught is the web address they communicate to.” 

Inspired by these comments, social media users have posted ambiguous, tongue-in-cheek metaphors mocking Senator Brandis’ illogical train of thought. 

@ben_hr It’s the lettuce leaf, not the san/sang choy bow (I am never sure which is correct)

— Angus M-a-c-i-n-n-is (@AequoEtBono) August 9, 2014

@AequoEtBono It’s the pasta not the sauce, it’s the burger not the bun, it’s the basket not the washing… @ben_hr

— Clinton Ducas (@ClintonDucas) August 9, 2014

Under the proposal, the information would be kept for up to two years and be available to law enforcement agencies investigating crimes, without requiring a warrant.

Tony Abbott said in an earlier interview that websites people visited would be recorded but the government was not interested in “content.”

“It’s not what you’re doing on the internet, it’s the sites you’re visiting,” Mr Abbott said.

Do you have a metaphor for metadata that you’d like to share? Tweet @sbsnews or comment below.