The controversial Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill 2014 passed both houses of Parliament on 26 March 2015, the last sitting day before the budget.
This Act introduces a mandatory data retention scheme for certain carriers and carriage service providers such as Telstra, Optus, Vodafone and over 400-odd Australian internet service providers. The laws do not commence operation immediately but, as at 13 April 2015, a service provider must not reduce the period for which it keeps any data it will be required to be keep under the new laws.
The laws will impact on all Australians, unless you don’t use a telephone or the internet. Currently, the type of telecommunications data (or ‘metadata’) kept varied between service providers as did the length of time each type of data was retained. The data retention laws include an express requirement on service providers to ‘create’ data that falls within the data set to be retained even if they do not currently collect or capture that data.