Local councils and taxi commission continued to seek telco metadata: Comms Alliance

The Communications Alliance has detailed a list of agencies that tried to access telco metadata following the introduction of Australia's metadata retention regime.

Following questioning at a Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security hearing last month into the proposed Assistance and Access Bill, the Communications Alliance has released a list of agencies that have sought access to metadata following the introduction of Australia's metadata regime in 2015.

When the metadata laws were passed, access was reduced to 21 enforcement agencies; however, subsequently, 61 agencies that previously had access to metadata looked to be added as declared enforcement agencies.

As reported previously by ZDNet, the Attorney-General's Department (AGD) had been advising agencies and departments to attempt to access metadata through other means.

"On advice from the Attorney-General's Department, the department has considered other methods of obtaining metadata using statutory coercive powers under portfolio legislation, and by engaging the Australian Federal Police (AFP) to obtain metadata," the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources wrote a letter dated June 10, 2016, and published on RightToKnow.

"The department has received preliminary legal advice as to the merits of using coercive powers, which suggests that the approach is problematic due to the construction of portfolio legislation.

"Advice received from the AFP indicates that it does not have the resourcing, compliance, or risk considerations to obtain metadata on behalf of other agencies, including the department."

In a submission [PDF] published on Tuesday, the Communications Alliance has named 81 bodies that have sought access over the years.

"The following list was compiled by Communications Alliance Carrier Members and presents a composite picture across the industry of which agencies/departments have sought metadata from one or more carriers," the Communications Alliance wrote.

"The list might not be complete."

See: Why Australia is quickly developing a technology-based human rights problem (TechRepublic)

The industry group pointed out that a request for metadata does not mean data was disclosed. It was not possible to accurately compile how many requests and disclosures were made.

"We have seen, for example, one carrier that made 132 disclosures in response to 114 requests over a 12-month period, while some other carriers have experienced smaller volumes over similar periods," it said.

"Determining volumes is further complicated by the fact that while responses to some requests are derived from the mandatory data retention store, some requests can also be met by interrogating business systems or databases that hold similar or identical information for commercial use."

The full list is reproduced below.

  1. Australian Crime Commission
  2. Australian Border Force
  3. Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI)
  4. Australian Federal Police (AFP)
  5. AFP Act Policing
  6. AFP Professional Standards
  7. Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA)
  8. Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)
  9. Australian Taxation Office (ATO)
  10. Australia Post Corporate Security Group
  11. Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency
  12. Bankstown City Council
  13. Brisbane City Council
  14. Centrelink
  15. Consumer and Business Affairs Vic
  16. Corrections Intelligence Group NSW
  17. Crime And Misconduct Commission
  18. Customs
  19. Department of Agriculture
  20. Department of Defence
  21. Department of Environment And Conservation Wa
  22. Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources
  23. Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP)
  24. Department of Fair Trading NSW
  25. Department of Fair Trading Brisbane
  26. Department of Commerce WA
  27. Department of Families, Housing Community Services
  28. DIBP Brisbane
  29. DIBP Canberra
  30. DIBP Melbourne
  31. DIBP Qld
  32. DIBP Sydney
  33. Department of Family and Community Services (FACS)
  34. Fairfield City Council
  35. Fair Work Building and Construction
  36. Healthcare Complaints Commissions
  37. Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC)
  38. Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) Sydney
  39. NSW Crime Commission
  40. NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA)
  41. NSW Office of State Revenue
  42. NSW Police
  43. NSW Police Professional Standards
  44. NSW Government Trade, Investment, Resources And Energy
  45. NT Police
  46. NTPOL
  47. Office Of Environment and Heritage
  48. Office Of State Revenue NSW
  49. Police Integrity Commission NSW
  50. Primary Industries And Resources SA
  51. Primary Industries NSW
  52. Primary Industries Qld
  53. Primary Industries Vic
  54. Qld Department Of Fair Trading
  55. Qld Transport
  56. Queensland Police Service
  57. Racing Integrity Vic
  58. Regional Illegal Dumping Squad
  59. Rockdale City Council
  60. SA Fisheries
  61. SA ICAC
  62. SA Police Anti Corruption
  63. SA Police Internal Investigation Branch
  64. SA Police State Intelligence
  65. Tas Police
  66. Tas Police Internal Investigations
  67. Taxi Services Commission
  68. Transport Accident Commission Melbourne
  69. Vic Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport And Resources
  70. Vic Department of Justice
  71. Vic Department of Health And Human Services
  72. Vic Police Ethical Standards
  73. Vic Institute of Teaching
  74. Vic Police
  75. Vic Sheriff's Offices
  76. WA Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC)
  77. WA Department Of Fair Trading
  78. WA Fisheries
  79. WA Police State Intelligence Division
  80. Work Safe Vic
  81. Workplace Health and Safety

Related Coverage

Ombudsman finds Australian Federal Police unaware of journalist metadata requirements

The Ombudsman's report has said AFP officers did not 'fully appreciate their responsibilities' when using metadata powers.

Data retention grants provided too much funding to telcos: ANAO

The data retention grants program covered 100 percent of some providers' compliance costs, and in aggregate 79 percent of reported implementation costs, ANAO has revealed.

AGD advised Dept of Agriculture to skirt metadata laws and rely on coercive powers

A year after metadata retention laws passed Australian Parliament, the Attorney-General's Department was recommending agencies use coercive powers if they were locked out of the scheme.

Almost AU$200m later, data retention most used for chasing drugs, not terror

The Attorney-General's Department has released a report detailing the opening months of Australia's data retention scheme.

Why Australia is quickly developing a technology-based human rights problem (TechRepublic)

Human rights advocates have called on the Australian government to protect the rights of all in an era of change, saying tech should serve humanity, not exclude the most vulnerable members of society.