On 5 August 2014, the Federal government announced a range of counter-terrorism measures including updates to the telecommunication interception law. Details of the proposed mandatory data retention regime including how much it would cost and who would pay for it have not yet been released although it is suggested that the regime would require telecommunications providers to retain customer data for up to two years and grant access to government agencies to the customer data without a warrant. The Attorney General has indicated that his department would develop the scheme in consultation with stakeholders and released a confidential industry consultation paper to a select group of telecommunications industry members on 22 August 2014. Despite being identified as confidential, the paper appears to have been leaked and widely circulated.

The consultation paper proposes that all entities that provide communications services available in Australia would be subject to the data retention scheme and would be  required to retain a data set of "telecommunications data", including information necessary to:

  • identify the subscriber or user of a service;
  • trace and identify the source of a communication;
  • identify the destination of a communication;
  • accurately identify the date, time of start and end or duration of a communication;
  • identify the type of communication;
  • identify users' communication equipment; and
  • identify the location of communications equipment.

The paper clarifies that nothing in the proposed data set applies to or requires the retention of destination web address identifiers, such as destination IP addresses or URLs.

The government has announced it intends to introduce legislation in the current sitting of parliament.

The media release can be found here.