back to article Metadata retention to cost AU$3.98 a year per customer

The PricewaterhouseCoopers report provided to Australia's attorney general on the likely cost of metadata retention has suggested a median figure of AU$3.98 per subscriber, per year. So said no less a personage than Australia's attorney-general George Brandis, in no less a forum than the Australian Senate. Brandis' remarks …

  1. dan1980

    What's all this about 'Government' contributing to costs? That's still my fucking money you mealy-mouthed dicks.


    How much of my tax dollars, that I pay to fund education and health and essential services will be siphoned off to pay for a system to spy on me - a system I am vehemently opposed to?

    Don't worry - it won't increase your ADSL bill; we'll just take it out of science research funding. Problem solved, right?

    All that aside, I don't care if it's magically free - the cost is far from the most objectionable thing about this legislation.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The customers pays more for a draconian government intrusion into their affairs. It's a win-win.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Pure hypocrisy - regulatory burden

      So $1bn of regulatory burden across all sectors is significant in terms of "strangling Australia‟s economic prosperity and development."

      While hitting one sector with $400m (40% of that total) of burden is insignificant, can't wait to see the regulatory impact statement:

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Only keeping what they already keep

    Brandis and co keep telling us that the new law dictates that telcos/ISPs need only to retain the data they are already keeping for internal purposes. If this is the case then surely the additional cost would be about $0/year/subscriber.

    If there is an additional cost then the telcos/ISPs are being forced to retain stuff they didn't used to keep.

    A government minister telling lies? Surely not.

    1. dan1980

      Re: Only keeping what they already keep


      With the disclaimer that I am far from a supporter of this legislation, I need to correct you here because it's important that we focus on what the issues are.

      The fact that there is extra cost is consistent with what Brandis et al have claimed, which is that no different types of data will be collected, just that those things currently collected will be stored for a longer period.

      It is reasonable to expect that this will incur extra costs, most obviously in storage but likely also in providing the extra indexing and searching capabilities that such a vastly increased data set depth will require.

      Think more rows in the table, not more columns.

      Of course, that is simply what Brandis is telling us - I am making no assertions that he is actually telling the truth, just that the extra cost is consistent with his claims.

      1. AndyDent

        Re: Only keeping what they already keep

        Has Brandis actually gone on the record to say that they just need to start keeping things for longer that they "already keep"?

        That will simplify things - there's a ton of stuff in the list I've seen which telco's definitely do NOT keep and all that bollocks about being able to store chat details is a large part of that.

        Another point - do the KEEP it or keep it and make it queryable? Those are two very different things.

        Given the history of major IT projects in this country it is possible that he's being genuinely misinformed rather than being deliberately misleading.

        Maybe they will do what they did with the outsourcing of employment and hide a lot of the costs in other budgets (hint, look at the cost of compliance auditing for providers and see if that ever gets sheeted home as a part of the "successful" outsourcing of CentreLink).

    2. Tim Bates

      Re: Only keeping what they already keep

      "Brandis and co keep telling us that the new law dictates that telcos/ISPs need only to retain the data they are already keeping for internal purposes."

      They do keep bring that up. I do wonder if George and Malcolm know the difference between storing 1 number (bytes used), and storing the names, addresses, bytes used, time it started and stopped, etc.

      Something tells me these clowns last looked at a phone bill about 20 years ago.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We know who will pick up the rest of the costs

    Like most politicians and bureaucrats, the Attorney-General has no clue about the actual running costs of a data centre. I would almost guarantee that the ignorant public servant (is there any other kind?) preparing the numbers looked at the 3 cheapest prices of data storage (just storage), took the average and made an underestimate at the amount of data to be stored. And violà! That is the cost.

    This capability will come with the usual arrangement that government makes with carriers: that the service providers are required to pay for the setting up of the capability and the government for their use of it. This proposal will mean that service providers will pay a fortune to set it up, and pass those costs onto the consumers.

    I would expect that the average person's connectivity bill will increase at least $200/year per person.

    Typical dishonest nonsense from this pack of bandits.

    1. dan1980

      Re: We know who will pick up the rest of the costs


      To be fair, some public servants are very good at their job and very thorough. These, however, are generally among the non-party-affiliated groups like the Treasury.

      Sure, the Treasury is not completely independent as it is at the direction of the government of the day but it's work and costings and reviews are independent and should be considered accurate within the scope.

      Of course, the problem is that the government is under no obligation to accept the results and what tends to happen is that those findings and costings that support whatever the government wants to do are released are championed while those that tell the government something they don't want to hear are ignored. Perhaps another report is commissioned with a different (usually reduced) scope to try and get something that better aligns with their claims.

      So there are public servants who are thorough and honest but they tend to be ignored by the government unless, miraculously, the government claims actually accord with reality.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: We know who will pick up the rest of the costs

        Let me guess dan1980 - this is where you work?

        1. dan1980

          Re: We know who will pick up the rest of the costs

          Ahhh . . . no.

          I am merely pointing out that public servants are not all bad eggs mooching off the public money. There are those who are smart, hard-working people more dedicated to their jobs and chosen fields than they are to power.

          Thus, none of them are politicians.

          I am replying to the: "I would almost guarantee that the ignorant public servant (is there any other kind?)" Statement/question. My answer to that is: yes, there is another kind; they just don't have any kind of power.

  4. Urh

    i wonder... much do I have to pay so that the government *won't* invade my privacy? Maybe I should slip my ISP a fiver under the table and they can 'accidentally' delete my metadata.

  5. Winkypop Silver badge

    Don't mind the quality - feel the width

    Data retention: Just the latest security theatre scare. Perfect grist for the mill. The gullible public will be suitably impressed as they read about it in their shitty Murdoch tabloids.

    But wait....just think of the dozens of terror acts that this will help prevent!!

    About the same as before: 0

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