by Rebecca Merrett

Data retention laws come into effect but most ISPs not ready

Oct 13, 2015

The Data Retention Act has come into effect today, but 84 per cent of ISPs are not prepared to start encrypting and storing their customers’ metadata, according to a new survey from Communications Alliance.

The telecommunications industry body surveyed 63 ISPs and also found 90 per cent of those who lodged a data retention implementation plan are still waiting for it to be approved.

ISPs had to submit their plan by 13 August, with about 58 per cent of most survey respondents having lodged a plan. For those ISPs that haven’t yet submitted their plan, they are required to produce an implementation plan that details how they will comply with the law within 18 months from today.

The survey also found 36.5 per cent of ISPs are not at all confident that they fully understand the kind of data they need to encrypt and store for 24 months.

When it comes to cost, about 32 per cent of survey respondents estimated a one-off setup will cost between $10,000 and $50,000 with 25 per cent believing it would be between $50,000 and $250,000. A further 12 per cent expected to pay between $250,000 and $1 million, 7 per cent said between $1 million and $10 million and 5 per cent would pay more than $10 million.

Only about 9 per cent are estimating the one-off setup cost of between $1,000 and $10,000 with 10 per cent estimating a cost of less than $10,000.

“All providers are still waiting to hear from government as to how it will apportion the $131.3 million that has been pledged in assistance to partially meet the set-up costs that service providers – and ultimately their customers – are facing as a result of the regime,” said Communications Alliance’s CEO, John Stanton,

“The Government has indicated it will consult with industry in coming weeks on how to apportion the subsidy and this remains an urgent task, as service providers are now having to commit to investment decisions without knowing how much of that spending will remain unfunded.”