Data retention: the case for

Data retention: the case for

Several companies and organisations have now appeared at four public hearings into intelligence and security reform proposals.

South Australia Police; NSW Police Force; Australian Federal Police (AFP)

Andrew Scipione, commissioner of police, NSW Police Force: “Reform of the TIA is strongly welcomed. The NSW Police Force suggests that to achieve this effectively the legislation perhaps needs to be rewritten almost from scratch, with broad law enforcement consultation and engagement.”

Scipione: “I would suggest that the need for this committee alone shows the inherent difficulties with the current legislation that is largely incomprehensible, inconsistent and, at times, almost unworkable.”

Scipione: “…it is the agencies that readily use this legislation that I think are best placed to assist in its reform and the New South Wales Police Force is in an excellent position to provide further input from an operational perspective.”

What we are talking about here is not necessarily going to be used against people; it will be used to protect people

Andrew Scipione, NSW Police Force

Scipione: “Simply put, without telecommunications interception law reform, the capacity of law enforcement agencies to engage in effective telecommunications intercept will continue its current rapid decline. We will go dark.”

Tony Negus, commissioner, AFP: “Firstly, we are not seeking additional powers in this regard. We simply seek to maintain the current interception capability and current access to non-content data telecommunications as a significant tool for law enforcement in the investigation of serious crimes.”

Gary Burns, commissioner of police, South Australia Police: “Unless data is retained by carriers, potential evidence is lost. The longer the data is retained the greater the likelihood the potential evidence will be available. All Australian businesses are currently required to retain financial records for between five and seven years. We see that telecommunications carriers should also be able to manage similar requirements to the banking industry.”

Scipione: “My concern in the day-to-day is as much about stopping somebody who may be a crazed armed robbery merchant who suffers from a drug addiction and goes out on a nightly basis and holds up corner stores with guns. To ensure that we can get the evidence to take that person out of circulation is just as important to us as dealing with a potential weapon of mass destruction event that may happen in the future.”

Scipione: “The longer you keep [data], the more it grows, particularly in terms of importance. It is a bit like a bank deposit – the longer you leave it in, the more interest you gain.”

Negus: “If we had our druthers, we would have the material held indefinitely.”

Scipione: “We want to make sure that we are doing absolutely everything we can to safeguard what we hold jealously, and that is a safe and free Australia.”

Scipione: “If you look at the number of telephone interceptions in Australia last year, the total number was 3495, and New South Wales police applied for and were issued with well over a third of them. We made applications for 1282 and were granted 1279.”

Scipione: “We think that the technology has just sprinted away from the legislation and that if we keep going and going with incremental change, as we go forward one metre with the legislation the technology goes forward one kilometre.”

Scipione: “…what we are talking about here is not necessarily going to be used against people – it will be used to protect people.”

Follow Stephanie McDonald on Twitter: @stephmcdonald0

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