Australia’s new data retention laws take effect on Tuesday, October 13th. In the wake of this happening, a few groups are asking the Australian government to revisit these rules. One of these groups is one that represents all of the ISPs, Internet Australia. There are several complaints from the group, one of which is the amount of data that must be stored on each internet user for the length of time.
To prevent ISPs from having to store vast amounts of data, the IA is requesting the government change the policy from 24 months to 6 months. Not only would that mean that Australia would be more in line with other countries that retain data, but it would also lessen the storage costs on those companies. Additionally, it would minimize the chances of unlawful disclosure of sensitive data.
Secondly, the IA is concerned about safeguards in place. They remain skeptical about the data collected, and want make sure that the proper checks and balances are available. As we know from surveillance in other countries, there are privacy issues to be addressed in such blanket coverage from ISPs. That is one of the reasons the other counties have cut back on their data retention policies.
Another factor the IA wants to address is funding. Rather than having the ISPs incur all of the cost, the IA wants to see the Australian government increase the budget for this program. The Initial budget for this project is set at $128 million AUD, but Internet Australia wants to see the budget more inline with the actual costs.
The last part of this equation has to deal with where and how the data will be stored. The IA wants to make sure it is stored properly to ensure maximum privacy and security for the user. They feel that storing the information locally instead of offshore adds an unnecessary risk, and state it depends on what the government will be happy with. At a point in history where it seems that some countries are moving more towards the privacy of their citizens, it is sad to see such a major country like Australia take a step backwards.
Whether or not the new legislation will be revisited, remains to be seen. If the IA has their way, users in Australia could have some measure of protection, with a decreased risk of abuse. We are sure the citizens feel the same way. It is nice to know that someone is looking out for their rights, instead of always trying to take them away in the name of national security.