[LINK] 9 days to conduct a cost study -- over CHRISTMAS
jwhit at janwhitaker.com
Thu Jan 1 08:08:28 AEDT 2015
I swear, either bureaucrats have lost the plot or the gov is off the planet, or both. If this is the level of public policy determination and budget allocation, we are stuffed.
"not impressive process" is an understatement, Mr Dalby.
Australian telcos in race against time to estimate metadata retention costs
Published: December 31, 2014 - 1:28PM
Australian telcos are racing against the clock to estimate how much it will cost them to implement the federal government's controversial data retention regime.
The regime will require them to store for two years customer internet and phone "metadata" for law-enforcement and intelligence agency access.
On Christmas Eve, telco industry body the Communications Alliance sent its members including Telstra, Optus and Vodafone an email requesting they fill out a survey with a deadline of January 9 on how much it will cost them to implement the scheme, giving them only nine business days to respond.
The deadline was set by consultancy firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers, hired by the Attorney-General's Department in September to come up with a cost estimate for the government. The government has previously said it would "make a substantial contribution" towards the scheme's establishment and running costs.
After telcos complained they hadn't been given enough time to respond, the deadline was extended to January 16.
"I received a request on the afternoon of Christmas Eve to distribute a request to our members to provide some input on costs," Communications Alliance chef executive officer John Stanton said. "After member concern, we requested an extension to the deadline and were given a week."
Mr Stanton said "several" members had expressed concern with the deadline. In addition to this, he received a number of "out of office" email responses when he sent the survey, indicating some members were unlikely to respond in time.
Despite the extension, some telcos, such as iiNet, remain unhappy.
"Until we get certainty about what our obligations are, it is difficult to estimate the costs," iiNet chief regulatory officer Steve Dalby said.
"[This is] not an impressive process from this government."
Mr Stanton said the "bizarre timeframe" was partly due to the fact a federal parliamentary committee examining the data retention legislation the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill 2014 was due to report back its recommendations of any changes to the legislation by February 27 and had requested more information about the cost impact from government.
Previous industry estimates have pegged the scheme at anywhere between $100 million and $400 million depending on what data is required to be retained. The UK government's estimate for its scheme was £1.8 billion ($A3.4 billion) over 10 years.
While the government has released what it says it an "advanced" proposed data set, there are still concerns among some telcos about whether they will need to store metadata for parking meters, lifelogging services, telehealth services, IP TV and other internet-connected devices on their network.
In a recently released report produced by the Attorney-General's Department with industry, such services were nominated as "possible candidates for full or partial exemptions from data retention obligations", although the government hasn't said whether this will be written into law.
Also of concern among consumer, privacy and civil liberties groups is the fact the data set required to be stored can be changed at any time by regulation, allowing the Attorney-General of the day to make changes, not parliament.
Another concern is the fact accessing metadata doesn't require a judge's approval, only a senior officer's signature.
The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights and the Communications Alliance have also recommended the proposed two-year retention period be re-examined. Both have suggested six months might be more appropriate.
Spy agency ASIO, said this would be unworkable as 10 per cent of its metadata requests were for data that was 12 months or older.
Australia's telecommunications companies made more than 500,000 metadata disclosures to law-enforcement agencies in the last financial year. The figure excludes ASIO's access as it isn't required to report figures. ASIO has said the system would "grind to a halt" if it was required to obtain warrants.
This story was found at: http://www.theage.com.au/digital-life/consumer-security/australian-telcos-in-race-against-time-to-estimate-metadata-retention-costs-20141231-12fv57.html
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