ACT police found to have illegally accessed private location data an estimated 1,704 times


As a result of the investigation, police in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), AFP’s community policing arm, used “secret intrusion” authority on an estimated 1,704 individual occasions between October 2015 and 2019. It became clear that personal location information was illegally obtained.

Report (pdf) Federal Ombudsman Michael Manthorpe accessed location-based services (LBS) after the Australian Federal Police (AFP) self-reported a number of records that were not submitted to regular compliance inspections, Manthorpe investigated in 1,713 1979. Only nine times were fully compliant with the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act (TIA Act).

“When AFP identified records indicating that ACT Policing (AFP’s Community Policing Division) had access to LBS and those records had not previously been provided to my office, I found that my office was unique. We have decided that it is appropriate to conduct an investigation, “Manthorpe said.

Police can access LBS data by requesting a telecommunications carrier. This includes historical or real-time data. LBS requests can only be legally made for investigations into serious crimes or imprisonment for a minimum of three years (murder, kidnapping, drug trafficking, terrorism, etc.).

Prior to this, in January 2020, AFP disclosed to the Ombudsman that ACT Policing had requested 800 access to LBS data since 2007, but its legitimacy could not be verified.

The report states that not only did ACT police actions infringe on personal privacy, but the consequences of using illegally accessed data as part of a conviction could be exacerbated if access is illegal. I warned that there is.

“The results of a prosecution that relies on illegally obtained LBS can be very serious,” the report said.

The report believes that some of the non-compliance is due to improper casual attitudes, especially given the personal privacy issues of Australian residents.

“The internal procedures of ACT policing and the cavalier approach to exercising authority have created a culture that does not facilitate compliance with TIA law.”

AFP responded to the report as follows: Media release, He said he had accepted all eight recommendations proposed by the report to correct the breach.

“ACT Policing has taken a number of steps to prevent the recurrence of the identified problem,” said ACT Neil Gauguin’s Supreme Police Officer.

Epoch Times Photo
AFP Commissioner Neil Gauguin will speak to the media in Canberra, Australia on June 6, 2019. (Photo by Getty Images)

“As police officers, we have access to special powers for investigative purposes to ensure the safety of the entire community,” said Gauguin. “We take this responsibility seriously and accept and apologize for the past violations outlined in the Ombudsman report.”

Gaughan said that in the future, one of the methods adopted to mitigate the potential misuse of personal location data will include channelizing all LBS data requests through a controlled centralized system. Said.

“All location requests on mobile devices are centralized through the AFP Covert Analysis and Assurance business area,” says Gaughan.

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