3.16 The Telecommunications Act 1997 (Cth) (Telecommunications Act)prohibits the disclosure of certain information by telecommunications providers. Contravention of these prohibitions is an offence punishable by up to two years imprisonment.
3.17 There are a number of exceptions, for example, for disclosures to ASIO or the Australian Federal Police, under the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979 (Cth) (TIA Act). Exceptions also exist for disclosure under the authority of an ‘authorised officer’ of an enforcement agency, but this does not permit the disclosure of the contents or substance of a communication. An authorised officer must consider the privacy of any person before making an authorisation.
3.18 The TIA Act prohibits the unauthorised access of communications, subject to various exceptions, unless a warrant is obtained. Those who issue warrants must consider, among other things, the privacy of persons affected by the access.
3.19 The TIA Act also prohibits the unauthorised interception of communications over a telecommunications system, again, subject to various exceptions, unless a warrant is obtained. Those who issue an interception warrant must consider, among other things, the privacy of persons affected by the interception.
Telecommunications Act 1997 (Cth) pt 13.
Ibid s 276(3).
Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979 (Cth) ss 171–182.
Ibid s 172. A disclosure under these provisions is therefore limited to telecommunications data (‘metadata’).
Ibid s 180F.
Ibid s 108.
Ibid ss 110–132.
Ibid s 116(2).
Ibid s 7.
Ibid ss 9–18, 34–61A.
Ibid ss 46(2), 46A(2).