Updated 8:47 AM EST, Fri, Mar 05, 2021

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Gmail, Skype And Facebook Excluded from Australia's Data Retention Scheme

Tony Abbott

(Photo : Reuters) Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott at a ministerial meeting with the Chinese at Parliament House.

Australia's mandatory data retention scheme is dropping over-the-top players from international organizations like Facebook, Microsoft and Google.

The new law, set to go into effect later this year, will store data in Australian servers for two years. This data will be provided to Australian authorities, who can perform direct warrantless searches of potential criminals.

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Even though international companies have been left out of the bill, any servers in Australia may come under the scope of retention, similar to Russia's new proposed data laws.

The move to allow international companies a free pass comes after Google and Microsoft revealed concerns that Russia's new plan would censor data. Both tech giants pulled-out of the region shortly thereafter.

Australia might be worried the removal of key internet services could lead to movements against the government, alongside more underground networks the Australian government won't be able to access.

Google, Microsoft and other companies have apparently been ensnared by the NSA's "Five Eyes Defeat" surveillance, giving the NSA back-door entry into various U.S. servers.

This is the first legal move to retain data on servers for a specific amount of time. The five governments involved in the Five Eyes Defeat -- Australia, Canada, UK, U.S. and New Zealand -- look to bring surveillance into law.

The UK has also been trying to get a new snooping bill passed through the House of Lords despite the bill being removed in 2012 and last week. The U.S. has made no such moves, potentially showing the government is OK with this back-door surveillance.

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