Australian Attorney General Philip Ruddock has introduced amendments to
federal parliament that would ease police access in the country to stored voice
mails, e-mails and text messages.
Ruddock said the Telecommunications (Interception) Amendment (Stored
Communications) Bill would allow police to gain access to stored communications
without a telecommunications interception warrant, as well as allowing access
under "other forms of lawful authority such as a search warrant."
He said existing legislation was designed only to cover voice telephony and
did not encompass additional technologies.
The bill is designed as a temporary solution while Ruddock's department
conducts a more full investigation of interception laws.
He said new communication technologies that may involve storage, but which
are similar to standard voice telephony, remain protected in the same way as
telephone calls under the new legislation. Voice
over Internet Protocol and comparable communications are specifically
excluded from the amendments.
Australia staff reported from Sydney.