Jan 18, 2016

Over 60 agencies apply to snoop into your metadata

Why does the National Measurement Institute want to get its hands on your metadata?

Josh Taylor — Journalist

Josh Taylor


Bankstown City Council, the National Measurement Institute and Australia Post are among 61 government agencies that have applied to be able to access telecommunications data without a warrant.

Under legislation passed last year, which came into effect in October, telecommunications companies are required to store so-called metadata such as call records, assigned IP addresses, contact information and location information for a minimum of two years. This data can then be accessed by just 22 government agencies, including the Australian Federal Police, ASIO, state police agencies and Border Force. This is down from the 83 agencies that had access to the data in the financial year prior to the legislation passing, and was a gesture from the government to show commitment to keeping use of metadata purely for law enforcement purposes.

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9 thoughts on “Over 60 agencies apply to snoop into your metadata

  1. En Quiry

    This spate of applications has been caused by the latest in management trends to rear its head in the public service – banning office email. The theory being to encourage collaboration, which is coincidentally (or not) an appropriate term in the circumstances, given its historical flavour typically associated with WWII. The drive towards metadata also comes after access from work computers to e-bay, realestate.com, allhomes.com, gumtree, etc. was restricted, a large proportion of working hours having been spent on these and vast amounts of download data used up. Canberra neighbours in particular can now spy with alacrity on each other. Workplace harassers and stalkers can have a field day. The community will grow a lot closer. And time at work will be most amusingly filled in.

  2. AR

    Gotta wonder who redactions #23, 24, 36 & 5 are.

  3. Stuart Hamilton

    With AR, I think the 4 names ‘redacted’ are the most interesting thing about this list, but I was reminded by the use of that word of how it has crept into the language over the last few years with a brand new meaning of ‘censored’ or ‘covered up’. These words are far too blunt for public or private bureaucracies of course so have to be themselves censored, so the inoffensive little word ‘redacted’, which used to mean simply ‘edited’ or ‘collated’ has been pressed into service. It makes the whole process of censorship seem so harmless and prosaic. There’s a nice piece about it in the UK Daily Telegraph – http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/emmahartley/10100897/Redaction_the_meaning_of_that_word_in_full/
    Perhaps fully(sic) might take an interest in this euphemistic imperative.

  4. Stuart Coyle

    I assume that two of the redacted entries are ASIO and ASIS.

  5. AR

    StuC – unlikely as they are specifically entitled in the Act itself.
    The list is those wanting in on the fun & frolic.

  6. Norman Hanscombe

    Where else but with Joshua and his acolytes would one look for enthusuastic low quality conspiracy theorists.

  7. Tim Senior

    As a doctor, I’m very curious as to why AHPRA, the Department of Health and the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission want access to the metadata. Any thoughts?

  8. Mark Stapleton

    Laughing like a drain – this list includes ‘redacted’ agencies? so we ae not allowed to know who has even ASKED? Ha Ha Ha!

  9. Vince Bagusauskas

    Read why the RSPCA Victoria (not even a government organisation) thinks it is important to have these powers:
    Try finding in their Annual Reports how many successful prosecutions they have had against the number of complaints for “serious crimes”.

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