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Published on January 22nd, 2016 | by Admin

Petition to grant public oversight to Telco metadata access

Brisbane (22 January 2016) – Following the publication of an FOI request revealing that more than 60 agencies have asked for warrantless access to Australian telecommunications metadata, Brisbane based technologist Bruno Watt has begun petitioning the Australian Government.

The petition contains a six point request for open dialog and consultation which aims to ensure protection from government overreach and other risks associated with improper access to the personal and identifying information.

The release has shown the majority of requests for access came from a surprising range of government and non-government agencies including Australia Post, the Victorian Taxi Services Commission and Queensland Racing.

“The Australian data-retention laws allow the nation’s approved law-enforcement agencies to warrantlessly access two years’ worth of customers’ call records, location information, IP addresses, billing information, and other data stored by telcos.” – Chris Puckett ZDNet on access request.

While some of the requests were rejected, the petition aims to formalise methods to ensure all future requests are limited to the correct parties and that use of the data is documented publicly. There are significant privacy and cyber security concerns around who can access our private telecommunications records, which are further outlined in the petition.

We feel that the public requires visibility into the process and assurances from those participating that the IP addresses of our browsing history, our telephone records and the addresses of our email correspondences are not accessed in all but the most critical law-enforcement and national security situations. Situations in which one struggles to see what role RSPCA Victoria could play.


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