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.
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]