Telstra calls time on Cybercrime Amendments Bill

Requests period of 90 days to undertake technical feasibility studies

Telstra has asked for a feasibility study period of up to 90 days once the <i>Cybercrime Amendments Bill 2011</i> (PDF) has been passed to give time for carriers to design, build and integrate new systems and ensure data that may be requested by law enforcement agencies is secure.

Speaking during Joint Select Committee on Cyber-Safety hearings in Canberra, Telstra's director of government relations, James Shaw, said that the company is supportive of the proposed amendments that will ensure Australia complies with the treaty provisions of the European Convention on Cybercrime,

However, the activities required to comply with these amendments meant carriers and carriage service providers would need to divert a "significant" amount of time and financial resources, Shaw said.

"These activities are also likely to involve significant amendments to our network and IT systems which, in a company as complex as ours, are not straight forward," Shaw said. "We also suspect that this will also involve a reconsideration of capital and business planning programs.

"To facilitate the introduction of these new arrangements and to allow carriers to undertake technical feasibility studies, Telstra suggests that an implementation study period of 90 days following royal assent of the bill be allowed."

Shaw said that there should then be an exemption period for carriers of up to 18 months to enable companies to design, build and integrate the new systems and network upgrades.

The 90 day study period would also be used to investigate new physical security and privacy procedures needed to protect preserved information.

According to Shaw, Telstra also wants time to develop, deploy and test new formatting with its vendor partners that will enable the secure delivery of preserved data.

He said that additional obligations to preserve data beyond Telstra’s business needs should be subject to further discussions with the federal government as the proposed bill amendments would put significant burdens on providers.

"However, we believe that these proposed bill amendments will assist to improve processes and procedures used by carriers and service providers to provide law enforcement agencies with the information they require to deal with cybercrime and safety," Shaw said.

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