Monday 1 July 2013

Once Every Two Minutes, 24/7.


Peter Martin (SMH economics correspondent) has a report on telecommunications surveillance in Australia: a must read.

Martin links to The Global Mail's Clare Blumer:
"It happens all the time - roughly 800 times a day, on last year's records.
"Somewhere in Australia, a government bureaucrat - no-one especially senior; say, a Centrelink agent - fills in a form, gets a signature from someone else in the department, and becomes authorised to check out a member of the public's phone records (which numbers that person has called, how long they spoke, and where they were when they placed the call), and then their email history (who they've emailed, and when, and the IP addresses used). No warrant required, no notice given."
Which organizations in Australia have access to the public's communications metadata? From Centrelink, down to the NSW Department of Primary Industries, passing through Australia Post (yes, Australia Post!):
"Among those organisations authorised to collect details of citizen telecommunications, you'll find the scandal-ridden Bankstown Council, in Sydney's southwest, and the Queensland Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals."
And that only on matters related to revenue!

In crime related investigations, since 2007, the NSW Police Force has requested metadata about 450 thousand times!


To paraphrase William Shatner: is this madness or what?

Image Credits:
[A] Original photo shot by Derek Jensen (Tysto), 2005-September-29. Improved by Althepal. Public domain; Althepal grants anyone the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law. Wikipedia.


  1. Well if they used it to do something useful like foiling the tax avoidance schemes of the rich and powerful it would be marginally less evil.

  2. Andrew,

    Have a look at the previous post:

    Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?

    And remember, the shadow treasurer already promised a parliamentary inquiry on the "overzealous" ATO: the ATO must show some respect...