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Australian Telco’s Question The Exemption Of Facebook Inc (FB) And Skype On Proposed Data Retention Plans

Telecommunications providers in Australia continue to raise concerns about the proposed $400 million data retention laws, which they feel suppress local communication businesses. The service providers are especially taking issue with the fact that the new laws will not in any way affect overseas services of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), Gmail and Skype.

Facebook, is FB a good stock to buy, economic impact, Landon Dowdy, Roger Noll

Other service exempted from the proposed data laws include services offered within corporate and university networks as well as Wi-Fi in public. The laws, on the other hand, comes as a relief for the likes of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), which have been spearheading campaigns for protecting user privacy as they will not be under any scrutiny.  The retention laws according to Australian Prime Minister remain crucial in fighting crime.

Under the newly proposed laws that are to be discussed next month in Parliament, internet service providers as well as Telco’s will be required to store customer records for a minimum of two years. Some of the records to be stored include senders of messages as well as recipients, time of emails and phone calls.

Australian ISP’s that offer email or web mail services will be required to keep information about emails sent and received.  But won’t be required to record interactions using ‘over the top’ services that they don’t directly offer.

John Stanton, representing an alliance of telecommunication companies in the country argues that the laws are unfair as offshore operators led by the likes of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and Skype won’t incur any costs yet they compete hand in hand. Stanton also believes that there are ample opportunities for customers to avoid their communications being captured by the proposed scheme by essentially using overseas services.

Greens Senator, Scott Ludlam, has aired his strong views that the poorly proposed laws could be headed to the scrapheap based on the fact that customers will now shift to using the likes of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), which are not covered. A joint parliamentary community of Intelligence and Security is to complete report on the laws before being tabled in Parliament in March.

Some details on the proposed laws remain unclear especially with regards to the amount of costs that the government will be paying for the implementation of the scheme and on the final data set on what is to be stored.

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