ACMA to review data collection laws to combat terrorism

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ACMA to review data collection laws to combat terrorism


The current collection of pre-paid mobile customer data is insufficient to be of use by Government according to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

The regulatory body has just announced a review of the way in which telcos collect customer identity information, which can subsequently be used by Government to prosecute people.

With the review, the body has released a discussion paper, Identity Checks for Pre-paid Mobile Services, which claims that data being produced by current processes is of insufficient quality and consistency.

The paper calls for comment from the telco industry on proposed new ways to also cut data collection costs and provide a simpler process for consumers.

The ACMA has made suggestions of its own around the data collection process. These include removing the identity checking process from retail outlets and requiring telcos to collect and verify identifying information at the time the pre-paid mobile service is activated.

ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman said in a statement that the collection of accurate information about customers of pre-paid mobile telephones was becoming increasingly important.

“The information ... can help emergency service organisations respond quickly to time-critical emergencies and also identify people who make hoax calls to the emergency services,” he said. “The identifying information can also be used to prosecute people who make life-threatening calls and assist law enforcement and national security agencies in their investigations of serious crime.”

The discussion paper is available on the ACMA website: www.acma.gov.au or on (03) 9963 6725.
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