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Qld throws $14m at phone tapping

The Queensland Government has given the state's Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) funding to run an independent phone-tapping unit from 1 July.

The Queensland Government has given the state's Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) funding to run an independent phone-tapping unit from 1 July.

The state government allocated $14 million over five years to the CMC for telecommunications interception, including $605,000 this financial year to implement the system.

The phone surveillance system will be established in co-operation with the Australian Crime Commission.

The funding will allow the CMC to use telephone interception powers in three main operational areas: corruption and serious misconduct; organised crime such as drug trafficking, extortion and fraud; and pedophilia and child sex offences.

Last year, state parliament passed the Telecommunications Interception Act 2009 (PDF), which meant the state's crime-fighting bodies can intercept telephone calls within a framework that also has strict civil liberties and compliance safeguards.

With these laws, Queensland's crime-fighting bodies can independently apply for telecommunications interception warrants when investigating serious crime and corruption.

Since the laws were passed last year, the CMC has been operating an interim system, but it will have a fully operational system from 1 July.

The Federal Government has also been tinkering with interception laws, passing a Bill this year to allow network operators such as internet service providers to intercept traffic as part of network protection activities.