back to article Telstra wins AU$39 million for data retention costs as grants revealed

Australia's attorney-general The Hon Senator George Brandis has announcedAU$128m in grants to telcos to fund their data retention efforts. The announcement says “One hundred and eighty service providers will receive support through the programme.” “Most providers will receive a grant of 80% of their implementation costs,” …

  1. P. Lee


    And they reckon that's 80% of the cost?


    If I were a telco, I think I'd opt for microfiche as the storage medium with rotating unicode character sets written out in morse-code.

    And I'd send a readable copy to my subscribers every month, saying, "this data is what the government is forcing us to store about you this month. It will be kept for x years in case you are a criminal. Here is a list of VPN providers and instructions on how to configure your PC to use them."

    1. Oengus

      Re: A$128m?

      I think I'd opt for microfiche as the storage medium with rotating unicode character sets written out in morse-code.

      I like the basic idea but I aould also encrypt it with a 4096 byte key that changes daily. The key would be stored separately, spelt out in words not numbers by a doctor (or any other usually illegible handwriting), on tissue paper using felt tipped markers.

      The problem with sending the data to the subscribers is that the authorities would change the rules to insist that you keep a copy of the message in "clear text" and send it to them.

  2. Winkypop Silver badge

    George Brandis knows all about expensive storage

  3. Adam 1 Silver badge

    makes no sense

    If the government really want ISPs to do this, they should do one of two things.

    1. Cover the entire cost out of general revenue; or

    2. Permit ISPs to charge a specific data retention fee to their customers every month.

    The *last* thing you want is for ISPs to try to monetise that datastore in some way to recover costs.

    1. Oengus

      Re: makes no sense

      I want to upvote part of this but downvote another part.

      Permit ISPs to charge a specific data retention fee to their customers every month. This should never be an option. I should never be charged for something I don't want and have no control over.

      1. hughca

        Re: makes no sense

        Perhaps getting a bill for it every month would make Aussies question the value of such an exercise... or at least make those less savvy aware that it exists...?

  4. Oengus

    Same old catch phrase

    “Communications data is used in nearly every counter-terrorism, counter-espionage and major crime investigation. It is also essential for the investigation of child abuse and child pornography offences, which are frequently carried out online.”

    As always with the mass surveillance tools/legislation the world over the mantra is "Protect us from Terrorism" and "Protect the children"

    1. LaeMing Silver badge

      Re: Same old catch phrase

      It's what the dumb masses want. The rest of us get encrypted VPNs.

  5. Phil Kingston Silver badge

    Let's hope the ISPs use some of that tax-payer cash to properly protect whatever storage they put in place to comply with this nonsense of a policy.

    1. GrumpyOldBloke

      Properly protect? Not a chance. If DoD was successfully hacked what hope is there for the rest. This is another Canberra policy disaster Arrogance with ignorance - thanks Bill and Tony. TPG's grant is interesting (only 1.4M) despite being the countries 2nd largest ISP. While I understand the top 3 have a multi technology mix of networks and applications and these are more expensive to support (eh Malcolm) what is a small company like Exetel (1.8M) doing that TPG is not. 1.4M suggests that TPG is off shoring and or dumping to tape at major network aggregation points. If the former - give up on the idea of security. If the later then there is some hope as access beyond the tape online storage boundary will require a physical presence at wherever the tapes will be stored.

    2. GrumpyOldBloke

      Unless telco mandatory data retention is just smoke and mirrors and the real action is happening with the hidden servers per the Confidential Commodities List (rept in el Reg) and the ASIO/DSD/AFP business collaboration centres being opened in our state capitals are really about receiving the live feeds. The AFP and the spooks are not bound by the 2 year retention limit. We then have a clear case of win-lose which is how our bought and paid for government works. Canberra can claim that they only approach the telco's a small number of times for the very worst drug dealing child pornographing terrorist cases and the spooks get to throw proportionality and targeting out the window with the rest of their 5-eyes (+1) rabble. I just can't see 1.4M covering the costs this legislation is imposing. The 600+M that Abbott gave to the security services during his rein of terror seems closer to the number required to sell out a nation of this size.

  6. Frank Oz

    Well, it's good to see ...

    ... Somebody getting some joy out of the government's snooping on its citizens, invading our privacy, and diminishing oru standard of life in ways that the terrorists could never hope to ... all in pursuit of an unattainable perfect security.

    Of course, the fact that taxpayers (the 'snoopees') are paying for the government (the 'snoopers') to compensate third party rent-seekers for keeping the metadata and other info ('snooping') may be of concern to some ...

    But it's good to see some joy being spread around.

  7. trashsilo

    That list has only the top 9 recipients - the other carrier in the top 10, will get a total grant based on the number of govt emails/pics/documents that are 'failed' to be retained. Something Hillary C suggested.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm doing my bit to help

    I use a VPN, that lessens the amount of data they have to store!


  9. stalle

    When its abused?

    I still haven't seen much about accountability when these metadata archives are hacked and resold for advertising and black market uses - so far what I can see is, it ends with your data gone and lots of shrugging and comments of "ah well, thats life"

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