Metadata: most Australian police forces can’t say how many times it has been used to prevent crime

Most of Australia’s law enforcement agencies are unable to say how many times phone and web data has been used to prevent serious crimes or terrorist attacks, or how many convictions resulted from requests.

A joint parliamentary committee is examining the federal government’s bill to retain Australians’ phone and web data – commonly known as metadata – for two years. Many of Australia’s law enforcement agencies have argued strongly in favour of the scheme.

Under the plan, access to metadata would be warrantless and without prior oversight from independent agencies or judges.

But in response to questions from the parliamentary committee, few could provide accurate information about how they had used metadata in criminal investigations.

The agencies were asked in how many cases over the past five years metadata requests had been used to prevent serious crimes, how many times they were used to prevent a terrorist attack and how many convictions had occurred as a result of telecommunications data requests.

Western Australian, Northern Territory and Victorian police could not provide figures for these questions. The Australian federal police said intercepted material had been used in 203 convictions but could not answer the other questions and could not calculate some types of historical data requests.

Read the Full Article: Source – The Guardian

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