news Communications Alliance, Australia’s primary telecoms industry body with membership drawn from across the industry, has urged the Federal Government to “exercise regulatory restraint” if some telecoms service providers are unable to comply fully with mandatory data retention rules by the April 2017 deadline.
The data retention legislation – the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Act 2015 – was passed by the Government in March, while full compliance must be reached by April 2017.
The act means that telecommunications providers must keep customers’ call records, locations, IP addresses, billing information, and other data for two years.
Communications Alliance CEO John Stanton welcomed this weeks announcement of $128.4 million in grants to the industry under the Data Retention Industry Grants Program (DRIGP), saying:
“The Government appears to have done a reasonable job of apportioning the limited funds available, particularly among smaller providers, although some of the larger players face heavy unfunded expenses to meet their compliance requirements.”
However, he added that the “lengthy delay” in finalising the grants process has put many service providers under “immense pressure” to complete the work on time and enable them to comply with the regime.
“The Government should acknowledge that these delays have made compliance more difficult to achieve within the prescribed timeframe,” Stanton said.
He further called for the Attorney-General to publicly commit that “no action will be taken, come April next year, against any service provider that is genuinely working to comply with the regime, but has been disadvantaged by the slow pace of decision-making”.
The Government’s $128.4 million grants programme was set up to assist firms with the added costs of complying with the new regime.
The programme sees 180 service providers receiving support of up to 80% of their implementation costs in most cases.
The Government released a list (pdf) of which companies will receive grants and the level of funding being received.
The document reveals that, among the larger payouts, Telstra is receiving the largest amount with $39,915,538, while Vodafone Australia gets $28,848,519 and Optus $14,763,859.
Most of the grants, however, are below $1 million and some smaller firms will receive as little as $10,000.
Image credit: Parliamentary broadcasting