The Abbott Government is to provide telecommunication companies and internet service providers with $131 million in order to help cover the cost of storing customer metadata over the next two years.
The $131 million is part of the $450 million injection by the Government to strengthen national security, an anti-terrorism venture that will be included in today’s Budget. The $450 million addition follows on from the $630 million put forward last year.
“To help combat terrorism at home and deter Australians from committing terrorist acts abroad, we need to ensure our security agencies are resourced properly and have the powers to respond to evolving threats and technological change,” Prime Minister Tony Abbott said.
“New legislation requires telecommunications companies to retain metadata for two years. The budget will provide $131 million to assist the telecommunications industry to upgrade systems to implement the policy.”
When discussing metadata retention legislation in February 2015, Minister for Justice Michael Keenan said it was imperative police be able to use metadata “as an investigative tool.”
“If we were to remove the ability of police to know that they can access that metadata within a prescribed period, in this case two years, we would really be tying one hand behind their back in the fight against serious crime and in the fight against all crime types,” Mr Keenan said.