Telstra reveals volume of data requests from law enforcement

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Telstra reveals volume of data requests from law enforcement

First transparency report.

Telstra has released its first ever transparency report, taking the lead from the likes of Google, Apple and Facebook to detail the volume and nature of requests for customer data it receives from Australian law enforcement and regulators.

The telco's first transparency report revealed a total of 40,644 requests for information from law enforcement agencies in the six months to December 2013.

Of that, 2871 requests related to life threatening situations and Triple Zero calls, 1450 related to warrants to interception or access to stored communications, and 270 requests related to court orders.

The majority of the requests - 36,053 - related to customer information, carriage service records and pre-warrant checks.

Telstra has an active retail base of around 26 million services.

Customer information include a user’s name, address, service number and connection dates, and can also include date of birth and previous address. Carriage service records refer to call, SMS and internet records - including time, date and duration of a call, duration of internet sessions and email logs from BigPond addresses. 

Law enforcement agencies conduct pre-warrant checks to confirm telecommunications services of interest are still active, Telstra said.

The requests all came from law enforcement, emergency services and regulatory agencies, Telstra said. It did not disclose the number of requests from Australia's intelligence agencies, as such an action would be in breach of the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act.

“We only disclose customer information in accordance with the law. We assess any request for information we receive from government agencies to make sure it complies with the law,” Telstra said in the report.

“As digital technologies continue to evolve, community discussion around issues of law enforcement and national security are likely to continue. We hope our report makes a meaningful contribution to these discussions.”

Telstra confirmed that all the agencies having requested access to data were Australian. 

“We are prevented by Australian law from acting on any direct requests from overseas authorities.”

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