Warrantless requests for customer data dominate in Telstra Transparency Report

In the 12 months to 30 June 2014, Telstra received close to 85,000 requests from government agencies for customer information . Of these, the overwhelming majority did not involve warrants, a report issued by the telco has revealed.

Telstra's first Transparency Report was issued in March and covered the second half of 2013.

The full year report reveals that the telco received 2701 warrant-based requests for "interception or access to stored communications".

The largest category of information, however, was warrantless — "Telstra customer information, carriage service records and pre-warrant checks". There were 75,448 such requests in the 12-month period covered by the report.

Customer information can include personal and financial details about the customer such as name, address, service number, date of birth. "Carriage service records" includes much of the metadata that is likely to be covered by a mandatory detention retention regime such as call and SMS records, including the parties involved and the date, time and duration of calls.

It also includes "Internet session information", such as "the date, time and duration of internet sessions as well as email logs from Bigpond addresses". It does not include URLs, the report states.

There were 6202 requests related to emergency situations and 598 relating to court orders (which typically involve civil disputes, according to the telco).

The report's figures include requests from police, regulatory bodies and emergency services organisations, the report states. Requests from national security agencies such as ASIO are not included.

Other types of information provided to law enforcement agencies include a phone directory database (the Integrated Public Number Database), which was accessed 104,000 times by agencies. The telco said that it also received fewer than 100 requests from law enforcement organisations in other countries it operates in.

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Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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