Telecommunications outfits and ISPs that have been granted an exemption from Australia’s data retention legislation are being warned to keep quiet – or risk having it overturned.

The data retention laws – under which telcos and ISPs will be required to store customer metadata for two years to aid law enforcement – is set to come into effect on October 13, after which providers are required to either be compliant with the scheme or have submitted an implementation plan for compliance to the Attorney-General’s Department.

However, the department has said it could revoke exemptions if an ISP fails to keep them confidential. “Public knowledge of an exemption application adversely affects law enforcement and national security interests,” a departmental document advises.

“These are interests that [the department] is required to take into account when granting or revoking exemptions and variations. Failure to maintain confidentiality regarding the existence of an approved exemption may result in the exemption being revoked.”
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