Australia's data retention obligations become law

Australia's data retention obligations become law

Starting date from October 13, 2015

The Attorney-General's Department has announced that from October 13, 2015, telecommunications service providers that use communications infrastructure in Australia to provide any of their services may be required to retain and secure specific telecommunications data for two years.

In formal message, the department advised: "The obligations apply to licensed carriers, carriage service providers and internet service providers. However, some services are specifically excluded—for example, broadcasting services. The data retention obligations apply irrespective of the size of your company and/or customer base.

"This will ensure that Australia’s law enforcement and security agencies continue to have lawful access to data, subject to strict controls.

"The legislation specifies the types of data that must be retained, depending on the nature of the service being offered."

The AG's department said the data set includes information relating to the:

  • Source and destination of a communication
  • Date, time and duration of a communication
  • communication type
  • location of communications equipment

The department further advised: "This data must be kept for two years. The data set also includes subscriber and service-level account information, which must be retained for two years from its creation. Certain types of subscriber information must be retained for the life of the account and for a further two years after the account is closed.

"Service providers are not required to retain data about services offered by other providers. For example, a wholesale-only service provider is only required to retain items in the data set that are relevant to provision of its wholesale service.

"Service providers that cannot fully comply with these obligations by 13 October 2015 should apply to the Communications Access Coordinator (a statutory officer within the Attorney-General’s Department) for:

    An extension of up to 18 months by lodging an Implementation Plan that details how they will achieve compliance in the extended period.
  • An exemption from and/or variation of the data retention obligations in relation to a specific service.

The Australian Government has announced a package of $131.3 million over three years to help the telecommunications industry with the upfront capital costs of data retention.

More information will be available at

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Tags ISPTelcoTelecommunicationsattorney-generaldata retentionInternet Service Provider

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