Victoria's Wyndham council has gone to the extraordinary length of intercepting residents' mobile phone and email data 31 times in the past three years to catch "litterbugs and owners of unregistered pets".
The Wyndam Weekly revealed the council was the only in the state to monitor resident's phone and email data, according to figures from the Attorney General's Department.
The metadata interceptions were made from 2010 to 2012.
A further 18 interception authorisations were made over the last year for the same reasons, the council’s acting chief executive Kelly Grigsby told the Weekly.
She said metadata was accessed in a small number of cases where needed.
“Retrieving a telephone subscriber’s name and address for an investigation into an offence is an important tool," she said.
The news comes amid ongoing revelations from former National Security Agency (NSA) staffer Ed Snowden about the extensive surveillance activities of the US and other nation states, including Australia.
Outspoken privacy advocate, Greens Senator Scott Ludlam has been contacted for comment.