More than three quarters of Australian internet service providers (ISPs) are not ready to collect and store metadata the industry has claimed, despite the laws coming into effect on Tuesday.
ISPs were given the past six months to plan for compliance, but 84 per cent of the industry claimed they were unable to begin storing metadata on time, according to a survey conducted by an industry body.
Communications Alliance CEO John Stanton said the industry body’s members were unready — and still confused as to what exactly they needed to retain for the required two years.
“There are a thousand different nuances that I’ve seen flying around as to what needs to be retained in respect of a particular service,” Mr Stanton told the ABC.
ISPs are allowed to work to full compliance within 18 months of the legislation becoming law, if they submit a compliance plan to the government.
Around 80 per cent of ISPs have taken this option, according to Communications Alliance. Only 10 per cent have been approved so far.
Attorney-General George Brandis told ABC Radio on Tuesday morning the 18-month extension applications would be treated “generously”.
Fairfax Media reported the “biggest players” in Australian telecommunications were among the ISPs to take the extension option — including Optus, Telstra and Vodafone.
Under the laws, ISPs are required to store details such as numbers used to make and receive phone calls, as well as their locations, durations and internet session details.
The government announced it would provide $130 million of funding to assist with the implementation of the laws, mainly including storing the data, however it has not announced how the money will be handed out.
The Abbott government introduced the controversial metadata legislation into parliament almost one year ago.
Mr Brandis and then communications Minister, now Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the powers were important for the public’s security.
Under the laws the government will be able to track who you call, who calls you and how long the call went for.
This also applies to emails, but not to which websites people access.
The IP address allocated to each internet modem by each internet provider will be stored.
Internet Australia, an body that represents internet users and smaller ISPs, called for an instantaneous appraisal of the metadata laws.
Under the legislation, a review of the data retention scheme by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security is mandatory within three years.
But Internet Australia’s Laurie Patton said a review must take place now.
“Nobody is anywhere near ready,” he told ABC.
– with ABC