Telstra handles 246 law enforcement data requests a day

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Telstra handles 246 law enforcement data requests a day

Latest transparency report shows increase in requests for user data.

Telstra received an average of 246 customer data requests from law enforcement every day in 2014-15 according to its latest transparency report, an increase of six percent on the previous year.

The telco today revealed it responded to a total of 90,106 telecommunications data requests in the 12-month period, showing that the rate at which law enforcement is demanding access to customer information is increasing.

The 2014-15 figure is six percent higher than the 84,949 requests Telstra received during the previous financial year.

The vast majority of the requests, or 79,188 in total, were for customer information, carriage service records and pre-warrant checks - up from 75,448 recorded in 2013-14.

Telstra's chief risk officer, Kate Hughes, confirmed on the telco's blog that it would continue to issue the annual statements now that the government's data retention legislation had been passed, a change that is expected to increase the rate of law enforcement requests even further.

“We are currently working through the implementation process for this new obligation but when it is in place we plan to subject it to the same transparency arrangements as our other obligations,” she said.

Electronic Frontiers Australia executive officer Jon Lawrence suggested to iTnews the number of individual customers whose details were handed over to law enforcement could surpass the number of requests if more than one account was included in a single application.

He added that Australians remain in the dark about how many of the requests actually proved useful in the course of an investigation.

“It could be that seven out of 10 times it’s not relevant, but we just don’t know," he said.

Warrants for phone call interception or access to the full content of communications increased to 2846, up from 2701 a year earlier.

However, there was a slight decline in requests based on court orders, which fell to 587, down slightly from 598 year on year.

Also included in the combined total were 7485 requests to identify the source of emergency triple zero calls.

The Integrated Public Number Database (IPND) - which holds the phone number and address of every phone account holder in Australia - was accessed by agencies approximately 104,000 times.

The telco received less than 100 requests from international law enforcement agencies for customer information over the year. Requests from national security agencies are not included in the figures because the TIA Act prohibits the reporting of such requests.

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