It is annual report season. And each year, technology journalists await the release of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (‘ACMA’) annual report which includes details on the number of disclosures of telecommunications data.
The controversial data retention laws passed in March this year amended the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act (‘the TIA Act’). Under this Act, an authorised officer of an enforcement agency can authorise the disclosure of specified information or documents in relation to the:
- enforcement of a criminal law (s 178);
- enforcement of a law imposing a pecuniary penalty or protection of the public revenue (s 179).
Access to telecommunications data is not limited to cases involving a serious crime or contravention of the law.