Metadata has long been considered a source of information desired by those in power. Metadata is the information recorded by the cell phone service provider when you make a call or use the internet. It can include information such as where you are, whom you called or texted, how long you talked for, how frequently you called or texted someone, what services you used, what websites you visited and when, and much more. Under the Australian Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979, only agencies tasked with enforcing criminal law are entitled to access metadata from telecommunications companies. This disconcerting news came to us from Tech Xplore in their article, “Think your metadata is only visible to national security agencies? Think again.

Before legislation was tightened around the definition of an enforcement agency in 2015, an estimated 80 different agencies were covered by the previous laws. They included not only criminal and national security investigators, but a wide range of agencies pursuing financial matters such as unpaid fines or taxes. Reports show requests for data are already coming in from agencies of questionable interest.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Data Harmony, a unit of Access Innovations, the world leader in indexing and making content findable.