Victoria seeks 'metadata' access for Racing Integrity Commissioner

Victoria's government is pushing for the state's Office of the Racing Integrity Commissioner to gain warrant-free access to the so-called 'metadata' retained under the data retention scheme.

In a letter to the attorney-general, George Brandis, Victorian attorney-general and racing minister Martin Pakula revealed that the racing commissioner has been seeking authorisation to access retained telecommunications data.

The commissioner, Sal Perna, has not had the authority to access telecommunications data since the data retention regime kicked in on 13 October, the letter states.

The office approached the Attorney-General's Department in June seeking to retain access to metadata.

"I wish to lend my support to the request from Mr Perna," Pakula wrote.

"The Office of the Racing Integrity Commissioner has been established for the purpose of monitoring integrity in the Victorian racing industry and investigating integrity-related matters that have the potential to undermine public confidence in the industry.

"I can confirm that his previous access to historical telecommunications data has been critical in the effective conduct of his functions under the Racing Act 1958 (Vic) and I would respectfully request that you give urgent consideration to reinstating access as was authorised prior to 13 October 2015."

Under the data retention legislation, which was passed earlier this year, access to data kept by telcos and ISPs to comply with the regime was restricted to the Australian Federal Police, state police forces and anti-corruption commissions, customs, the Australian Crime Commission, the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

The legislation creating the Australian Border Force added it to the list of authorised agencies.

The Attorney-General can declare new criminal law-enforcement agencies; however, the declaration is temporary and would only last until 40 sitting days of the lower house or Senate after the declaration comes into force.

A bill to amend the list of authorised enforcement agencies would need to be referred to the PJCIS for review.

A parliamentary inquiry earlier this year recommended that the Australian Taxation Office be given access to data retained to comply with the scheme.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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