Regulatory Restraint Needed on Eve of Data Retention Deadline

Sydney, 12 April 2017 – The Federal Government must exercise regulatory restraint as telecommunications service providers scramble to meet 13 April 2017 deadline to fully comply with the mandatory two-year Data Retention regime.

Communications Alliance CEO, John Stanton the complexity of the compliance task – combined with lengthy delays by Government in distributing grants to subsidise the cost of new systems – meant that many service providers had faced challenges in meeting the deadline.

The apportionment of the $128.4 million in grants to industry under the Data Retention Industry Grants Program (DRIGP) was not finalised until September 2016 – 18 months after the Data Retention legislation was passed by Federal Parliament.

Mr Stanton said that service providers then faced additional delays while completing grant agreements, before actually receiving funds.

“The resulting timeframe put many service providers under immense pressure to complete the work to enable them to comply with this onerous regime within the deadline.

“The Government should acknowledge that these delays have made timely compliance more difficult to achieve.

“The Attorney-General’s Department has been writing to service providers to remind them that they must be fully compliant by tomorrow.

“The Attorney-General should publicly commit that no action will be taken post-deadline, against any service provider that is genuinely working to comply with the regime, but has been disadvantaged by the slow pace of decision-making.“

“Government should focus in the short term on a cooperative approach to helping service providers meet their compliance obligation – rather than purely on enforcement. This should extend also to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (the ‘Privacy Commissioner’) which will be monitoring compliance with the Australian Privacy Principles.” 

ABOUT COMMUNICATIONS ALLIANCE Communications Alliance is the primary telecommunications industry body  in Australia. Its membership is drawn from a wide cross-section of the  communications industry, including carriers, carriage and internet  service providers, content providers, search engines, equipment vendors, IT companies, consultants and business groups.

Its vision is to  provide a unified voice for the telecommunications industry and to lead  it into the next generation of converging networks, technologies and  services. The prime mission of Communications Alliance is to promote the growth of the Australian communications industry and the protection of  consumer interests by fostering the highest standards of business ethics and behaviour through industry self-governance. For more details about  Communications Alliance, see www.commsalliance.com.au.

Media information contact:
Sefiani Communications
Kurt Graham kgraham@sefiani.com.au
0431 478 558