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With the implementation of the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Act 2015 (Cth) [“the Act”] in Australia, telecommunications and internet service providers [“Service Providers”] must be aware of their obligations in respect of retaining their customers’ data.
The new obligations under the Act require Service Providers to retain their customers’ metadata for a minimum of 2 years. The Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) [“the Privacy Act”] defines metadata as protected personal information and relates to the following information which must be retained:
The Privacy Act also imposed the following obligations upon Service Providers:
The Federal Government has indicated that it will contribute around $131 million to assist service providers with the implementation costs involved to ensure compliance with the Act. The Act allows for grants of this type to be awarded to Service Providers where it is deemed to be necessary.
The substantive provisions of the Act came into effect on 13 October 2015 and the deadline for Service Providers to comply with the mandated requirements of the Act is 13 April 2017 [“the Deadline”]. Strict and expensive penalties may apply to Service Providers that fail to comply by the Deadline.
Failure to comply with the retention obligations under the Act may result in service providers facing infringement notices and penalties of up to $10,800 per contravention and up to $10 million if the Federal Court views that the Service Provider has breached their licence conditions.
Important matters to consider when preparing data retention plans include: