Last year, Australiaas part of the prerequisites to become a party to the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime. While extending the scope of Commonwealth-related computer offences, it also, controversially, required internet service providers (ISPs) to store customer data on persons deemed under suspicion by law-enforcement agencies. This information is stored without warrant, but only handed over once law enforcement obtains one.
At the time, it was generally supported by the Labor and Coalition governments, but the Greens held some reservations about the new legislation. One of thewas that if information was sent overseas, nothing would prevent it from coming back under weaker privacy laws. This would theoretically open a loophole for anyone wanting to circumvent the local Privacy Act.
The Greens' concerns were ultimately voted against in parliament.
Federal Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said that in addition to enabling local law enforcement to access and share information with international counterparts, Australians' privacy protections would be maintained.
"A warrant is always required to access the content of a communication, whether the information is in Australia, or accessed from overseas under the Cybercrime Convention," he said in a statement.
"The Cybercrime Act and the Cybercrime Convention do not impact in any way on the need to have a warrant to access content from a telephone call, SMS, or email."