news 61 separate departments and agencies around Australia have petitioned the Attorney-General’s Department to gain unwarranted access to Australians’ metadata under the Government’s Data Retention scheme, including minor organisations such as Bankstown City Council and the National Measurement Institute.
The Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill 2015 passed the Federal Parliament in March 2015. For the first time, it forces Australian telcos and Internet service providers to retain comprehensive records on their customers’ Internet and telephone habits for a period of two years.
Even for major telcos such as Telstra, which were already retaining large amounts of data about their customers, the scheme significantly expands the amount and type of data which will be held compared to the telcos’ previous records.
However, the bill also limits the types of government departments and agencies which are able to access metadata under the scheme. A number of agencies less concerned with serious crime are now no longer to access telecommunications data without warrants, unless the Attorney-General of the day approves their application.
Today, Freedom of Information requests filed by activist Geordie Guy and ZDNet returned a comprehensive list of agencies which had applied to receive accreditation as enforcement agencies under the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act, which will give them access to make metadata requests.
The list (available in full in PDF format) contains a number of agencies which were already believed to have applied for the metadata access powers, such as the Australian Taxation Office and the Department of Human Services.
However, it also included a number of government authorities which most would believe had no cause to access telecommunications metadata, such as the National Measurement Institute, Access Canberra (the Department of Treasury and Economic Development), Bankstown City Council, Greyhound Racing Victoria, Harness Racing New South Wales, and the RSPCA.
Four agencies were redacted from the list, as the Attorney-General’s Department believes, ZDNet has reported, that disclosing the names of those agencies would be contrary to the public interest.
Delimiter has contacted Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus, to ask whether Labor will support any of the agencies gaining data retention powers, and what next steps Labor will take with respect to the issue.
The full list is as follows:
Australian Financial Security Authority
Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency
Australian Postal Corporation
Australian Taxation Office
Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre
Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Clean Energy Regulator
Department of Agriculture
Department of Defence (ADFIS and IGD)
Department of the Environment
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Department of Health
Department of Human Services
Department of Social Services
Fair Work Building and Construction
National Measurement Institute
ACT Revenue Office
Access Canberra (Department of Treasury and Economic Development)
Bankstown City Council
Consumer Affairs Victoria
Consumer, Building and Occupational Services Tasmania (Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading — Department of Justice)
Consumer and Business Services (South Australia)
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (Queensland)
Department of Commerce (WA)
Department of Corrective Services (WA)
Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (Qld)
Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport & Resources (Fisheries)
Department of Environment Regulation (WA)
Department of Fisheries (WA)
Department of Justice and Regulation (Sheriff of Victoria)
Department of Mines and Petroleum (WA)
Department of Primary Industries (Fisheries) (NSW)
Environment Protection Authority (SA)
Greyhound Racing Victoria
Harness Racing New South Wales
Health Care Complaints Commission (NSW)
Legal Services Board (Vic)
NSW Environment Protection Authority
NSW Fair Trading
Office of Environment & Heritage
Office of Fair Trading (Department of Justice and Attorney-General Office of the Director-General) (Qld)
Office of State Revenue (NSW)
Office of the Racing Integrity Commissioner (Victoria)
Primary Industries and Regions South Australia
Queensland Building and Construction Commission
Racing and Wagering Western Australia
Roads and Maritime Services NSW
State Revenue Office (Victoria)
Taxi Services Commission (Victoria)
RevenueSA (South Australia)
Victorian WorkSafe Authority
Image credit: Parliamentary Broadcasting