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  • Access to and retention of internet 'metadata'

    Posted 18/08/2014 by Jaan Murphy

    On 5 August 2014, the Government announced its intention to update Australia’s telecommunication interception laws. This is part of broader efforts to enhance powers available to security agencies ‘to combat home-grown terrorism and Australians who participate in terrorist activities overseas’. This includes developing a mandatory ‘metadata’ retention system.

    Whilst having a period of mandatory metadata retention would be new, the collection of metadata by telecommunications companies and government access to it is not new and is governed by the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979 (TIA).  Whilst the need for such a scheme was linked to combating terrorism, it is worth noting that Australian and European experience suggests that the most common law enforcement use of metadata will be in non-terrorism criminal cases.

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    TAGS: ASIO, Law Enforcement, Australian Federal Police, Australian Secret Intelligence Service, intelligence community

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  • Latest Illicit Drugs Data Report highlights

    Posted 1/05/2014 by Cat Barker
    The Australian Crime Commission’s annual Illicit Drug Data Report (IDDR) provides a statistical overview of illicit drug arrests and seizures and details the current situation, national impact and emerging trends related to illicit drugs in Australia and internationally. Outlined below is a brief snapshot of some of the key findings of the Illicit Drug Data Report 2012–13, with a focus on amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) other than MDMA (‘ecstasy’). Read more...

    TAGS: illicit drugs, law enforcement

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  • Law enforcement access to telecommunications data: neither secret nor new

    Posted 14/06/2013 by Nigel Brew
    In the wake of the furore over the leaking of details of the US Government’s electronic surveillance program, PRISM, reports emerged in the Australian media ‘revealing’ that the Australian Federal Police (AFP) are accessing phone and Internet records without a warrant. In response, the Australian Greens announced on 11 June their intention to introduce a Bill to ‘strengthen the regulation of data collection on Australians’ by requiring law enforcement agencies to obtain a warrant to access such ... Read more...

    TAGS: Australian Federal Police, law enforcement

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  • Australian gun laws

    Posted 21/12/2012 by Jonathan Curtis
    Image source: Wikimedia Commons
    The recent mass shooting in Connecticut in the United States has led to commentators to again consider Australia’s approach to firearms controls following, in particular, the 1996 Port Arthur Massacre which involved the use of several assault rifles, and also the 2002 Monash shootings perpetrated with a semi-automatic pistol.National agreements by Australian governments after each incident formed the basis of current regulatory controls.Responsibility for the regulation of firearms in Australia ... Read more...

    TAGS: firearms, law enforcement

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  • Ombudsman’s report on covert operations

    Posted 21/03/2012 by Cat Barker
    Image source: Australian Crime Commission
    A report by the Commonwealth Ombudsman on the records of controlled operations held by Commonwealth law enforcement agencies, tabled on 13 March 2012, reveals the Ombudsman has continuing concerns that the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) is bypassing a review mechanism intended to provide appropriate external scrutiny of longer operations.Controlled operations are covert law enforcement operations in which one or more persons are authorised to engage in otherwise unlawful conduct in order to o... Read more...

    TAGS: Australian Crime Commission, law enforcement

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  • Independent Review of the Intelligence Community—interoperability still an issue?

    Posted 6/02/2012 by Cat Barker
    Image source: Department of Defence
    The findings of the recently released public version of the 2011 Independent Review of the Intelligence Community Report are largely positive. The report cites significantly greater access to information from overseas, improved capability, and increased performance among the variety of developments in the operations of Australia’s intelligence agencies in the ten years since 2001, and concludes that the significant investment in the agencies over that period has paid off. However, while the publ... Read more...

    TAGS: Australian Federal Police, Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, intelligence community, law enforcement

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