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Politics

Apr 28, 2017

AFP admits to data breach involving journalist's phone records

The Australian Federal Police has admitted they illegally accessed the call records of a journalist in seeking to chase down a source.

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11 thoughts on “AFP admits to data breach involving journalist’s phone records 

  1. paddy

    Surreal stuff. We really have slipped through the looking glass, when Colvin can spout that nonsense.

  2. Zeke

    So the AFP can break the law without penalty and then dump the news on a Friday afternoon in an attempt to hide the violation of privacy, as well as a violation of journalistic freedom? SNAFU.

    1. Kevin_T

      So the AFP can break the law without penalty and then … say that the cops who saw any identifying information can’t unsee it, but just have to find another way of pursuing that the person who may have been identified as the leaker.

      In America, if shows like Law and Order are fairly accurate, this information would be deemed to be fruit from the poisoned tree, and effectively close down that line of investigation. In Australia it appears to be deemed to be a way of getting a lead in an ongoing investigation….

  3. Whodathunkit

    And we are supposed to trust these bastards!

  4. Laurie Patton

    Internet Australia, the NFP peak body representing Internet users, has called for a new parliamentary inquiry into the Data Retention Act. It was reacting to news that the AFP has admitted illegally accessing a journalist’s metadata.

    IA wants a fresh inquiry into the entire scheme, noting that board director and former CEO Laurie Patton warned the original inquiry by the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on Intelligence and Security that the legislation was “fundamentally flawed”. Patton told the PJCIS it had “clearly been drafted by lawyers who don’t understand how the Internet actually works”.

    “It is a mess,” Patton told the ABC’s 7.30 program earlier this year, when Attorney General George Brandis floated the idea of expanding the scheme to include civil litigation. “The only way out of it now is to go back to the beginning, back to the parliamentary inquiry that looked into it in the first place and get them to run the ruler over it.”

    Appearing before the PJCIS two years ago IA highlighted the lack of judicial oversight as one of the major flaws in the scheme.

    “Our submission pointed to the potential for misuse and supported calls for more rigorous controls on who could access our data and under what circumstances”, said IA’s executive chair Anne Hurley today.

    Like many other concerned civil society groups and individuals IA argues the scheme will not achieve the Government’s stated aims in relation to national security.

    Since early this month (April, 2017) ISP’s are required to have systems in place to retain their customers’ metadata for a two-year period. However, IA points out that only a minority of ISP’s are known to be compliant and this makes the whole scheme of dubious benefit. The Attorney General’s Department received applications from 210 ISP‘s seeking funding to help them meet the costs of compliance, of which 180 were approved. However, industry estimates of the total number of Australian ISP’s ranges from 250 to more than 400.

    “This means there are potentially hundreds of ISPs not known to the security agencies”, Ms Hurley commented. “They will not necessarily even be collecting the metadata they are required to keep. And even if they are how will the authorities know where to go to get it?”

    IA has also warned that the costs of the data retention scheme will inevitably be passed onto consumers. PricewaterhouseCoopers estimated the cost of compliance to the industry at $738m over the first 10 years. IA believes that this underestimates the likely total given that the figure was based on an incomplete list of ISP’s.
    Internet Australia, the NFP peak body representing Internet users, has called for a new parliamentary inquiry into the Data Retention Act. It was reacting to news that the AFP has admitted illegally accessing a journalist’s metadata.

    IA wants a fresh inquiry into the entire scheme, noting that board director and former CEO Laurie Patton warned the original inquiry by the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on Intelligence and Security that the legislation was “fundamentally flawed”. Patton told the PJCIS it had “clearly been drafted by lawyers who don’t understand how the Internet actually works”.

    “It is a mess,” Patton told the ABC’s 7.30 program earlier this year, when Attorney General George Brandis floated the idea of expanding the scheme to include civil litigation. “The only way out of it now is to go back to the beginning, back to the parliamentary inquiry that looked into it in the first place and get them to run the ruler over it.”

    Appearing before the PJCIS two years ago IA highlighted the lack of judicial oversight as one of the major flaws in the scheme.

    “Our submission pointed to the potential for misuse and supported calls for more rigorous controls on who could access our data and under what circumstances”, said IA’s executive chair Anne Hurley today.

    Like many other concerned civil society groups and individuals IA argues the scheme will not achieve the Government’s stated aims in relation to national security.

    Since early this month (April, 2017) ISP’s are required to have systems in place to retain their customers’ metadata for a two-year period. However, IA points out that only a minority of ISP’s are known to be compliant and this makes the whole scheme of dubious benefit. The Attorney General’s Department received applications from 210 ISP‘s seeking funding to help them meet the costs of compliance, of which 180 were approved. However, industry estimates of the total number of Australian ISP’s ranges from 250 to more than 400.

    “This means there are potentially hundreds of ISPs not known to the security agencies”, Ms Hurley commented. “They will not necessarily even be collecting the metadata they are required to keep. And even if they are how will the authorities know where to go to get it?”

    IA has also warned that the costs of the data retention scheme will inevitably be passed onto consumers. PricewaterhouseCoopers estimated the cost of compliance to the industry at $738m over the first 10 years. IA believes that this underestimates the likely total given that the figure was based on an incomplete list of ISP’s.

    “The Government’s funding is already nowhere near enough. ISP’s are out of pocket and they’re unhappy. This exercise has been a disaster from the start and it’s becoming clear that the scheme is only going to become more controversial”, Ms Hurley concluded.
    “The Government’s funding is already nowhere near enough. ISP’s are out of pocket and they’re unhappy. This exercise has been a disaster from the start and it’s becoming clear that the scheme is only going to become more controversial”, Ms Hurley concluded.

  5. graybul

    Wherever one looks; whatever one reads or views . . . the inescapable conclusion is that the standard and/or accountability of Australian governance is under fierce attack . . . by public servants and parliamentarians appointed to administer said governance.

    Politicians daily rort the very systems designed to hold them to account. Many are habitual liars. Public servants no longer see a need to account for their actions. Media self interest, suffering from financial constraint; has devolved into a complicit protector of power and privilege. Senior law enforcement ranks compete with one another; failing to notice or be concerned for their primary responsibilities.

    . . . . and we the public point, towards a thunderous horizon; in disgust and fear of our children’s futures.

  6. klewso

    “Human error”? Seems to be what they run on?

  7. bushby jane

    Andrew Bolt comes to mind with his info from Manus Island that no one else has seen. Wouldn’t that be delicious!

  8. Ian Roberts

    This whole thing stinks but I hold my nose and pose a small query: Why did the custodian of the metadata surrender it to the Federal Police without a warrant?

    1. Matt Hardin

      They may not have realised the account belonged to a journalist e.g. if a phone number or MAC address was used as the basis for the request.

  9. AR

    Further to the ‘fruit of the poison tree’ principle, the vast amount of material seized, illegally as subsequently ruled, in the NBN raid was supposed to have been destroyed by the AFP who of course do not have photocopiers or know anyone who does.
    No mention made of the NBN official who went along for the fun..err..raid and photographer the relevant record and sent them back to Ziggy’s Zylons.
    Anyone who ever believed, or claimed to believe that thispower would not be abused should now be very, very ashamed – looking at you, Labor – but, no brain, no pain, no shame.

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