RoLIA has made a submission to the Senate Inquiry into the Telecommunications Amendment (Get a Warrant) Bill 2013.

The Bill is a private senator’s bill which is intended to require investigative agencies to obtain a warrant to access telecommunications data. RoLIA is concerned that appropriate safeguards need to be put into place to regulate the privacy of individuals and the community in the light of the expansion of surveillance by government agencies over individuals and ongoing use and storage of that date by governments. Currently, no warrant is required.

In a recent article in The Global Mail, disturbing figures were given of the rate of access by government agencies to this ‘metadata’ which The Global Mail describes as including ‘telephone details (as in the numbers a person has called, how long they spoke, and where they were when they placed the call) and email information (such as who they’ve emailed and when, and the IP addresses used)’. Tasmania tops the list of the states in which this metadata about individuals has been obtained, accounting for over 500,000 records of the nearly 1.3 million records accessed over the past five years.

However, RoLIA is also concerned that piecemeal reform of this area may lead to further confusion and complexity and recommends that a coordinated approach to the provision of regulatory powers to government agencies be adopted.