ASIC pushes for telco data interception powers

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ASIC pushes for telco data interception powers

NBN will make traditional sources 'of very little use'.

Financial regulator ASIC has lobbied the Government to expand the agency's powers so it can receive telecommunications data from law enforcement bodies to aid in its efforts to combat financial crime.

In a recently published submission to a parliamentary committee investigating financial-related crime, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission argued that the national broadband network would render existing sources of data - such as call records - obsolete.

The agency said it would therefore need to receive intercepted data from the Australian Federal Police and other law enforcement agencies to continue to do its job effectively.

Market misconduct is being carried out through phone or text "opportunistically and with rapidity" rather than through written records, ASIC argued.

“Given the increasing prevalence of the use of voice over ­internet protocol (VoIP) for telephones and social media applications such as Skype and Facebook for calls and instant messaging, we expect that traditional sources of telecommunications information, such as call charge records, will be of very little use in the near future, particularly with the advent of the national broadband network."

- ASIC submission 

ASIC is not one of the entities listed as "interception agencies" under the TIA Act, meaning it is unable to obtain warrants for telecommunications data interception, and is similarly restricted from receiving lawfully intercepted telco data from other TIA Act-listed agencies.

Its lack of powers in the area is "seriously hindering our ability to enforce the law in a modern corporate world", the agency argued.

"This can lead, for example, to situations where other agencies detect possible market misconduct offences through intercepted information, but cannot pass this on to ASIC."

It urged the Government to list ASIC as an "interception agency" under the Act, and therefore allow it to receive intercepted telecommunications information from other listed agencies.

The issue of the collection of telecommunication data is currently being discussed within industry as the Government consults on its plan to introduce mandatory data retention for the non-content or "metadata" information on Australian citizens for up to two years.

The legislation is expected to be introduced into Parliament in the coming weeks.

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