The Government’s new data retention policy will help our security agencies keep the Australian community safe
The Government has enacted legislation to require telecommunications service providers to keep for two years certain information (‘metadata’) generated by their users.
Helping our agencies
Retaining metadata is a vital step in keeping us safe from rapidly evolving threats.
Access to metadata is essential to most counter-terrorism investigations and helps our security agencies prevent terrorist acts and prosecute those who seek to commit them.
It also plays a key role in detecting and prosecuting other serious crimes, including crimes against children. These changes are in line with the recommendations of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security.
Only approved officers in law enforcement agencies will be able to access metadata.
The Commonwealth Ombudsman will have responsibility for providing oversight in relation to enforcement agencies’ access to and use of telecommunications data to ensure this information is not mishandled or used inappropriately. There are also specific protections in place to protect journalists and their sources.
Investment in security
The $131 million provided by the Government for metadata retention represents 50 per cent of the capital costs to be borne by industry, as estimated by PwC.
In addition, $23 million will go to relevant agencies such as the Attorney-General’s Department and the Australian Crime Commission to cover ongoing costs relating to the implementation and oversight of the data retention scheme.