Accessing Telecommunications Data for National Security and Law Enforcement Purposes

44 Pages Posted: 11 Apr 2011

See all articles by Sharon Rodrick

Sharon Rodrick

Monash University - Faculty of Law

Date Written: 2009


The purpose of this paper is to outline the circumstances in which telecommunications data can be lawfully accessed for national security and law enforcement purposes, and to consider whether this access regime sacrifices individual privacy to an unacceptable extent. Since privacy is the primary public interest against which the telecommunications data regime must be evaluated, this paper will begin with a brief exploration of the importance of privacy in the telecommunications context.

The paper outlines the provisions of Part 13 of the Telecommunications Act before proceeding to describe and critique both structural and operational aspects of the telecommunications data regime, primarily from a privacy perspective. Many of the deficiencies of the regime were identified in submissions made to the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs (the 'Senate Committee' or 'Committee') which conducted an inquiry into the provisions of the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment Bill 2007 (Cth). This paper draws on those submissions and make suggestions for reform across a number of areas. While not directly concerned with the interception and stored communications regimes, some tentative comments as to whether the divergence in protections between these regimes and the telecommunications data regime is justified will be interspersed throughout the paper.

Keywords: technology, national security, law enforcement, individual privacy, telecommunications content

JEL Classification: K00, K10, K19, K30, K39, K42, K49

Suggested Citation

Rodrick, Sharon, Accessing Telecommunications Data for National Security and Law Enforcement Purposes (2009). Federal Law Review, Vol. 37, p. 375, 2009 ; Monash University Faculty of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2010/24. Available at SSRN:

Sharon Rodrick (Contact Author)

Monash University - Faculty of Law ( email )

Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3800

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