Telcos to track all your calls

Telcos and ISPs will store information about everyone's email, internet and phone use for up to two years.
Telcos and ISPs will store information about everyone's email, internet and phone use for up to two years. FILE

INFORMATION about every telephone call you make and email you send will be held on file for two years from now.

As data retention laws aimed at thwarting terrorists, organised crime gangs and child pornographers started yesterday, Federal Attorney-General George Brandis was forced to defend the system.

The change in law requires companies such as Optus and Telstra to keep information from their customers' email, internet, mobile and landline phone use for 24 months.

This data can be used by police and national security agencies investigating terrorism, espionage, organised and major crime, child abuse and child porno- graphy.

Authorities will not need a warrant to access your data.

Mr Brandis deflected criticism of the laws despite a survey showing most operators were confused by what they should be collecting and most needed more time to get ready.

Research by industry group Communications Alliance found many small ISPs were struggling to comply with the new laws.

"The way that the legislation is drafted doesn't provide us with all of the detail about what exactly is required in all of their services," Alliance chief executive John Stanton said.

Mr Brandis rejected the criticisms, saying he gave business extra time and a pool of $131 million to get their acts together.

"We are working closely with industry to ensure that there is full compliance with the obligation," Mr Brandis told the ABC's AM program.

"There is an 18-month period commencing from today during which companies which are not compliant as of today, which is the six months after the legislation came into force, are able to apply for an extension.

"Our objective here is to ensure that there is compliance but ... we are more concerned with implementation than law enforcement."


  • Telcos and ISPs will store information about everyone's email, internet and phone use for up to two years.
  • Some of this data is collected already, but the new laws provide uniformity across the industry and tighten up who can legally access records.
  • Information kept includes the identity of a subscriber and the source, destination, date, time, duration and type of communication. It does not include the content of messages and phone calls.
  • Your web browsing history will not be kept, but the IP address allocated to your modem will be.
  • Civil liberties and internet groups opposed the law.

Topics:  tracking

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