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.
ZDNet Australia staff reported from Sydney.