The New Data Retention Laws: What You Need To Know

The New Data Retention Laws: What You Need To Know
SHARE
THIS



The new data retention law came into effect yesterday, meaning mobile and telecommunications companies must keep customer metadata for up to two years.

We at B&T spent the better part of our morning pulling together what you need to know about the new law.

What is the new law?

The new law was passed in March this year. It was first introduced in October 2014 as a further commitment from the Government to tackle possible terrorist threats and security. The changes mean government agencies and the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation can have access to the data without a warrant. However, if the law is trying to find a journalist’s source, they are required to obtain a Journalist Information Warrant first.

The law requires telecommunications companies, such as Telstra, Optus, Vodafone and the like, to retain customer metadata records for two years. The legislation also requires the telcos to encrypt the data and not provide unauthorised access.

Metadata is the information about who you are communicating with, not what the content of the message is. So the metadata of a text message or email would be who is sending it, who is the recipient, the time and the place. But would not include the actual message inside the message.

The Government is not asking internet service providers to keep data on a person’s web browsing history.

Why was the new law needed?

Per the Government’s data retention hub, metadata is used in a number of criminal cases, to either rule out suspects, identifying people, as evidence and so on.

“Australia needs a data retention scheme because telecommunications companies are retaining less data and keeping it for a shorter time,” the website said.

“This is degrading the investigative capabilities of law enforcement and security agencies and, in some cases, has prevented serious criminals from being brought to justice.”

The data retention scheme was apparently needed in Australia because the constant explosions of technology mean some telcos aren’t keeping all types of metadata, which could be hindering criminal cases.

Cost

The scheme was estimated by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to cost all businesses between $188.8 million and $319.1 million each year.

The Government’s data retention site put this at less than one per cent of the $43 billion generated in revenue by the telco industry each year.

In February this year, before the law had been officially passed, the then Prime Minster Tony Abbott said it would not cost consumers and businesses more than $400 million.

“There are a range of figures which have been taken to the joint standing committee, but even at the highest estimate it’s less than one per cent of this $40 billion a year and growing sector,” he told the ABC.

“It seems like a small price to pay to give ourselves the kind of safety and the kind of freedom that people in a country like Australia deserve.”

Privacy

While the issue of privacy has been raised multiple times, the Government is insistent the data retention scheme is protected as personal information under the Privacy Act and the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs).

The APPs were updated in March last year. The sixth principle underlines the requirements for use or disclosure of personal information, stating the entity (whoever collected the information) must not use or disclose the information for another purpose unless the individual has consented, or it’s required by law. The principles go into more depth, which you can read about here if you would like.

However, many have called into question online privacy.

Contrubuting editor to the Sydney Morning Herald, Quentin Dempster, penned a piece saying it was the end of digital privacy in Australia.

“People are being asked by the Federal Parliament to accept that this regime of agency access is vitally necessary for national security at a time of geo-political tension, jihadi recruitment and the war on terror,” he wrote.

“But in a country where the biggest terrorism threat comes from lone wolves and random acts of terror, it’s a system that appears singularly ill-equipped to catch terrorists. What it does is render privacy a thing of Australia’s past.”

The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA), the organisation for the media and journalists, recently condemned the move, saying it put journalists’ sources at risk. Read more about that here.

What’s happening with the telcos?

Scott Ludlam, Australian Greens deputy leader and communications spokesperson senator, yesterday said many internet service providers (ISP) hadn’t received a response about implementing the new changes from the Attorney-General’s Department.

“Instead of reinvesting in their businesses to meet the growing digital demands of Australians, ISPs are paying lawyers to try to decipher the data retention scheme and ensure their compliance with legislation that is vague and unclear,” he said in a statement on the Greens’ website.

“Smaller ISPs that serve regional communities may be forced out of business due to the expense that complying with this legislation has forced upon them. This implementation is Attorney-General George Brandis’ latest disaster.”

A Vodafone spokesperson said: “Vodafone is working with the Federal Government to agree the detail of our data retention implementation plan. We expect to complete all of the system upgrades and be compliant with our plan obligations by April 2017.

“Industry is still seeking clarification from government about how funding is to be allocated to offset the significant cost of systems changes and the on-going data retention obligations.

“The privacy of our customers and protection of their information is our highest priority and all customer personal information is handled in accordance with Australian privacy laws.”

An Optus spokesperson said: “Optus has established a significant compliance program and is on track to meet its meta-data retention obligations.

“We are working closely with the Attorney-General’s Department on a range of issues including administrative processes associated with compliance plans, and capital funding arrangements.”

A Telstra spokesperson said the company now has 18 months to become compliant after the approval of its implementation plan:  “Telstra has submitted a Data Retention Implementation Plan (DRIP) to the Attorney-General’s Department,” the spokesperson said.

“The Department has approved this plan, and we now have 18 months to become fully compliant.

“We continue to discuss the funding for this program with the Government and other stakeholders and we are hopeful that there will be a sensible solution that does not impact on our customers or shareholders.”

What the media is saying

Much of the coverage is similar articles detailing what you need to know, however some publications such as Mashable, New Matilda and SBS have pinpointed ways the act can be circumvent.

New Matilda spoke to Ludlam from the Greens, where he was encouraging Aussies to know adapt to an environment where their data is held.

His tips include not using the same password for everything, using online messaging systems instead of text messages, and start using a VPN. Read more about his tips here.

Journalist Asher Wolf wrote about her menstrual cycle on SBS, and why the data retention laws newly introduced will mean that for two years, the telco will know when she called her doctor, how many times etc. It’s  information the government doesn’t need, she argued, and can be a loss of dignity.

The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) has condemned the passing of the law, saying it poses a threat to journalists and their sources. Read more about that here.

Twitter reactions


http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2015/10/13/comment-nothing-hide-data-retention-dignity-and-tampons

Latest News

Mobiddiction Wins Innovation Award At IABCA 2018
  • Media

Mobiddiction Wins Innovation Award At IABCA 2018

Sydney based tech consultants, Mobiddiction, has been crowned with the  Excellence in Innovation Award at the 2018 India Australia Business & Community Awards. Held at Brisbane  City Hall for the second consecutive year, the awards celebrate the Australia India relationship while honouring migrant entrepreneurship and community leadership and aims to raise awareness of Indians in […]

Indie Agency Edge Up Creative Recruits After A Series Of Wins
  • Media

Indie Agency Edge Up Creative Recruits After A Series Of Wins

Following recent new business wins including WW (formerly Weight Watchers), NGS Super and BASF, indie creative and content agency Edge has hired creative duo Peter Mountford (left in photo) and Salvatore Cavallaro (right). Copywriter Mountford was previously at Leo Burnett and R/GA, having worked on clients such as Telstra and McDonald’s, while art director Cavallaro was […]

Luminoso Launches Of Revolutionary Business Model
  • Media

Luminoso Launches Of Revolutionary Business Model

Marketing, technology and creative recruitment firm Luminoso is disrupting the recruitment industry with the launch of a new business model that puts its customers’ interests above short-term revenue. Under the new business model, Luminoso will no longer bill its clients on the first day a successful candidate starts work. Instead, it will share the risk […]

Former Dentsu Exec Kym Pfitzner Joins Six O’Clock Advisory As Chairman
  • Marketing

Former Dentsu Exec Kym Pfitzner Joins Six O’Clock Advisory As Chairman

Australian-owned strategic communication firm Six O’Clock Advisory has announced the appointment of Kym Pfitzner as chairman. The 25-year media and marketing veteran will take up the non-executive post at the company from 14 January 2019. Pfitzner joins Six O’Clock Advisory as a highly-regarded adviser and director who has held senior leadership roles in the Asia […]

Sydney Airport Lands Massive Advertising Partnership
  • Advertising

Sydney Airport Lands Massive Advertising Partnership

Sydney Airport has partnered with large-format outdoor innovators, Wideopen Platform, to unveil one of Australia’s largest advertising building wraps across the Western face of the T1 International multi-storey car park. Sydney Airport general manager of retail Glyn Williams said the new wrap spanning 1,957sqm delivers another significant media opportunity for advertisers at Australia’s gateway, beyond the existing portfolio. “We’re excited […]

Sunday TV Wrap: A Resurgent 60 Minutes Gives Nine A Big Win
  • Media

Sunday TV Wrap: A Resurgent 60 Minutes Gives Nine A Big Win

An emotional tell-all interview with NRL player Johnathan Thurston has delivered big numbers for Nine’s 60 Minutes last night. Thurston – who retired at the end of this season to become a Nine commentator – opened up about alleged rape allegations that have dogged his career way back when be played for Canterbury Bankstown in 2002. […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
APN Outdoor Brings The Invictus Games To XtrackTV
  • Campaigns
  • Media

APN Outdoor Brings The Invictus Games To XtrackTV

APN Outdoor, the official Outdoor Media Partner of the Invictus Games Sydney 2018, has revealed the next phase of its partnership with the Games, launching coverage through its XtrackTV national digital rail network. The industry-leading XtrackTV network operated by APN Outdoor is delivering content from the games in Sydney to rail commuters, direct from the official broadcast partner, […]

Japanese Cosmetic Firm Unveils Surreal Ad With Cool LGBTQI+ Twist
  • Campaigns

Japanese Cosmetic Firm Unveils Surreal Ad With Cool LGBTQI+ Twist

Japanese cosmetic firm Shiseido has unveiled its latest campaign that’s epic as it is stunning. The three-and-a-half minute spot is called “The Party Bus” and goes from the surreal to the bizarre all while highlighting the power of make-up. It follows a young Japanese girl who falls for what appears to be a samurai, before ending with a […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Engaging.io Appoints Blockchain Specialist To Lead Business Development
  • Media

Engaging.io Appoints Blockchain Specialist To Lead Business Development

Technology and digital agency Engaging.io has appointed Siva Gounder as senior business development manager as the independent agency continues to invest in technology. Gounder joins Engaging.io from CRDZ, a decentralised platform addressing issues preventing widespread adoption of blockchain and cryptocurrencies. For more than two years he was charged with developing blockchain partnerships and marketing. Prior to […]

Ten Pictures That Will Make You Feel Good About Living Down Under
  • Co-Lab
  • Media

Ten Pictures That Will Make You Feel Good About Living Down Under

The photo aficionados at Getty Images Sydney have curated some of their favourite images from the ‘This is Australia’ collection, capturing all that is great about our lifestyle Down Under. We could be every one of these people. The photo aficionados at Getty Images Sydney have curated some of their favourite images from the ‘This […]

Partner Content

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Study: Sydney FC Most Popular A-League Club, As Support For The Phoenix Plummets
  • Marketing

Study: Sydney FC Most Popular A-League Club, As Support For The Phoenix Plummets

A-League Premiers Sydney FC have topped the Roy Morgan A-League supporter ladder for 2018 with 613,000 supporters an increase of 11.7 per cent over a year ago following the clubs back-to-back wins as A-League Premiers in 2016/17 and 2017/18. Defending A-League grand final champions Melbourne Victory were second with 526,000 supporters, down 8.7 per cent on a […]