Telstra offers customers access to metadata for $25

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Telstra offers customers access to metadata for $25

Follows recommendation by data retention committee.

Telstra will allow its customers to access the metadata the telco stores on them for a fee ranging upwards from $25.

Telstra's announcement follows a recommendation made last Friday by the parliamentary committee tasked with investigating the Government's data retention scheme.

In the committee's final report on the data retention bill last week, it said individuals should be able to access their own metadata retained under the scheme.

Telecommunications companies and internet service providers should also charge individuals for such access in order to recover their costs - the same approach taken to requests for metadata made by law enforcement agencies, the committee said.

Australia's Privacy Principle 12 states organisations governed by the Privacy Act holding personal information about an individual must, on request, hand over that information to the individual.

Telstra today said it would allow customers the same access to their metadata that the telco would provide to law enforcement agencies.

"We believe that if the police can ask for information relating to you, you should be able to as well," chief risk officer Kate Hughes said in a blog post.

"This new approach is all about giving you a clearer picture of the data we provide in response to lawful requests today."

Telstra said customers would be able to make the requests through a new form on its privacy portal from the 1st of April.

"Simple" requests will cost around $25, while detailed requests that ask for data spanning several services over a number of years will be charged at an hourly rate, Telstra said.

"This is the same practice of cost recovery that is applied to requests from law enforcement agencies," Hughes wrote.

"The data provided will be limited to information associated with your account. Information about another party will not be provided, such as who called you."

Telstra said the type of metadata available to customers would include:

  • subscriber details - name, address, date of birth
  • call and SMS records - outgoing numbers called and messaged
  • device identifier
  • cell tower connected to when placing a call
  • data session details - time, duration

Optus, Vodafone and iiNet have been contacted for comment on whether they will offer similar access.

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