Here's Every Australian Government Agency That Wants Your Data

In response to a Freedom of Information request, the Australian government has released a partially-redacted list of Commonwealth agencies that have applied for access to the metadata retained by Australia’s telecommunications providers as part of the Telecommunications Interception and Access Act. There are over five dozen government entities that want to look through your mobile, internet and home phone records, ostensibly to uncover criminal activity.

Metadata image via Shutterstock

Data retention has been in force in Australia since October last year, when the law to enable it passed our Senate by a majority of 43 votes to 16. While telcos are required to store customer data for a minimum of two years for access by registered and sanctioned agencies, there is ongoing confusion over the requirements for that retention.

There are somewhere between 250 and over 500 internet service providers in Australia — the exact number is unknown, as there is no licensing scheme in place or required. Each of those ISPs is required to retain data, but the onus on them to do so is not equal — smaller ISPs bear more financial burden in doing so.

Proper implementation of the data retention scheme even for larger companies is likely at least a year away, according to Internet Australia CEO Laurie Patton. Australia’s largest ISP, Telstra, applied for an 18 month extension on the implementation to work out how to integrate such a broad retention scheme into its existing systems.

Although the precise nature of Australia’s metadata retention is unclear, it’s thought to extend to telecommunications users’ personal details, records of the IP addresses used by their devices, and the broad details of the websites that they access — not the content of the communication itself, but the record that the communication took place. Approved agencies can access stored metadata without having to get a warrant beforehand.

Here’s the full list, including the jurisdiction of those agencies:

1. Australian Financial Security Authority, Commonwealth
2. Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), Commonwealth
3. Australian Postal Corporation, Commonwealth
4. Australian Taxation Office, Commonwealth
5. Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre, Commonwealth
6. Civil Aviation, Safety Authority (CASA), Commonwealth
7. Clean Energy Regulator, Commonwealth
8. Department of Agriculture, Commonwealth
9. Department of Defence (ADFIS and IGD), Commonwealth
10. Department of the Environment, Commonwealth
11. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Commonwealth
12. Department of Health, Commonwealth
13. Department of Human Services, Commonwealth
14. Department of Social Services, Commonwealth
15. Fair Work Building and Construction, Commonwealth
16. National Measurement Institute, Commonwealth
17. ACT Revenue Office, ACT
18. Access Canberra (Department of Treasury and Economic Development), ACT
19. Bankstown City Council, NSW
20. Consumer Affairs, VIC
21. Consumer, Building and Occupational Services (Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading – Department of Justice), TAS
22. Consumer and Business Services, SA
23. Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, QLD
24. Department of Commerce, WA
25. Department of Corrective Services, WA
26. Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, QLD
27. Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport & Resources (Fisheries), VIC
28. Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, VIC
29. Department of Environment Regulation, WA
30. Department of Fisheries, WA
31. Department of Justice and Regulation (Consumer Affairs), VIC
32. Department of Justice and Regulation (Sheriff of Victoria), VIC
33. Department of Mines and Petroleum, WA
34. Department of Primary Industries (Fisheries), NSW
35. Environment Protection Authority, SA
36. Greyhound Racing Victoria, VIC
37. Harness Racing New South Wales, NSW
38. Health Care Complaints Commission, NSW
39. Legal Services Board, VIC
40. NSW Environment Protection Authority, NSW
41. NSW Fair Trading, NSW
42. Office of Environment & Heritage, NSW
43. Office of Fair Trading (Department of Justice And Attorney-General Office of the Director General), QLD
44. Office of State Revenue, NSW
45. Office of State Revenue, QLD
46. Office of the Racing Integrity Commissioner, VIC
47. Primary Industries and Regions South Australia (PIRSA), SA
48. Queensland Building and Construction Commission, QLD
49. Racing and Wagering Western Australia, WA
50. Racing NSW, NSW
51. Racing Queensland, QLD
52. Roads and Maritime Serices NSW, NSW
53. Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), VIC
54. State Revenue Office, VIC
55. Taxi Services Commission, VIC
56. RevenueSA, SA
57. Victorian WorkSafe Authority, VIC

Four agencies have also been redacted from the document under Section 47b as well — their disclosure would be “contrary to the public interest” — for a total of 61 government entities that have applied for ongoing access to the telecommunications data of Australian citizens and residents.

That’s a lot. [Right To Know]

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