A newly proposed law in Australia will bar law enforcement agencies in the country from gaining access to customer information currently held in international companies. Under the proposed legislation, data stored in companies such as Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL), Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) and Twitter Inc. (NYSE:TWTR) is to be kept under lock and key, under the mandatory data retention scheme according to ZDNET.
The legislation is currently before Parliament awaiting approval and if approved, will compel Australian telecommunication companies to retain customer data within their reach for a minimum of two years. Data to be stored includes call records as well as assigned IP addresses, email source, and other such information.
Not covered by the proposed legislation are third party providers such as internet cafes universities and organizations that offer direct internet access to customers. Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) and Twitter Inc. (NYSE:TWTR) will also not be required to store customer data for a minimum of two years.
Intelligence and security agencies maintain that stored data will be crucial for solving crimes. According to the Attorney General, Anna Harmer, if a telecommunication company in any way provides over-the-top services such as email, then the data retention scheme will apply.
Data stored by telecommunication companies is to be accessed in instances of civil litigation such as lawsuits involving content owners who may be chasing online content infringers. The legislation has already elicited uproar and scrutiny from the public with some people of the opinion that the government will be infringing on their rights by requesting the Telco companies to store their data.
The data retention plan also remains disarrayed after the Attorney General refused to hand over costing’s for the proposed scheme. The department has failed to guarantee that the parliamentary group will be able to know how much the scheme costs when the bill gets debated sometime this year. At the moment, it is good news for Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) and Twitter Inc. (NYSE:TWTR), which have huge data banks for their users as they will not be forced to hand over any data without warrants.
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