Social Media Blog

Data Retention Laws in the Context of Metadata – What does it mean for you?

Posted by on 22 May 2015

What is metadata?
If you’re using a smart phone, PC, laptop, tablet and other forms of technology you’re creating metadata. Essentially, it’s your cyber ‘footprint’ - the information that can identify you and what you’re doing.

Recently Australia passed new laws whereby Internet Service Providers and telecommunications companies must keep your metadata for a minimum period of two years.

What does this mean for you?
Details such as the time, date and location of your calls are being tracked, as well as details about internet usage, email addresses and online chat times, dates and identities of those on the chat.

It does not include the content you are communicating about – for example, the body of an SMS, subject and body of emails, Facebook posts and web browsing history.

Why have the laws been introduced?
Similar laws have been introduced in the UK and aim to address increased security threats. Despite this, many people have raised concerns surrounding the invasion of privacy.

Many of us don’t realise that metadata could already be accessed by law enforcement agencies – if telecommunications companies had retained it, which was not mandatory. Under the new laws retention is mandatory.

What happens next?
Telecommunications companies are now putting systems in place for data retention. Along with any privacy concerns, there are additional concerns that bills will be hiked with a view to passing on the set up costs to the consumer.

If you would like further information on metadata or the data retention laws please contact our Digital Media & Technology team in Parramatta and Norwest.