Authorities incl WorkSafe Vic are increasinly accessing private data

accessing-private-data-workcover

Australian law enforcement and government agencies, including WorkSafe vic (Victoria), have sharply increased their access without warrant to vast quantities of private telephone and internet data, prompting new calls for tighter controls on surveillance powers.

Government agencies accessed private telecommunications data and internet logs more than 300,000 times during criminal and revenue investigations in 2011-12, a 20 per cent increase on the level of surveillance activity in the year before.

Figures from the federal Attorney-General’s Department show that on average, these agencies obtained private data from telecommunications and internet service providers 5800 times every week.

The data available to government agencies under federal  law includes phone and internet account information, outwards and inwards call details, phone and internet access location data, and details of Internet Protocol addresses visited (though not the actual content of communications).

Data access is authorised by senior police officers or officials, rather than by a judicial warrant.

New South Wales Police were the biggest users of telecommunications data, with 103,824 access authorisations in 2011-12. Victoria Police accessed data 67,173 times in the same period, while the Australian Federal Police did so 23,001 times.

Victoria Police has said that the increased data access could be attributed to ‘‘investigator knowledge becom[ing] more widely known, technology changes and auto processing [that has] simplified the process’’.

Federal government agencies using telecommunications data include the Australian Crime Commission, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, the Australian Tax Office, numerous government departments, Medicare, Centrelink and Australia Post.

It is also used by all state police and anti-corruption bodies and a growing number of state government departments and  agencies,  including the Victorian Department of Primary Industries, the Victorian Taxi Directorate …

and WorkSafe Victoria.  

Data is also accessed by the RSPCA in Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania, and by local governments, including Wyndham City Council in Melbourne’s west. The RSPCA has investigative powers in respect of animal cruelty.

‘‘This is the personal data of hundreds of thousands, indeed millions of Australians, and it seems that just about anyone in government can get it,’’ said Australian Greens senator Scott Ludlam.

He said the increase in access authorisations demonstrated the current data access regime was ‘‘out of control’’ and amounted to the framework for a ‘‘surveillance state’’.

‘‘There can’t be much in the way of working checks and balances if we have a 20 per cent surge in activity in one year, and more than 300,000 authorisations.’’

Statistics for access by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation are security classified and not published.

The federal government’s proposals for a further expansion of law enforcement access to telecommunications data, including a minimum two-year data retention standard for phone and internet providers, have generated public debate and controversy.

However, Attorney-General Nicola Roxon did not issue any media release to accompany her department’s report, which was tabled in Parliament without debate on Thursday, the final parliamentary sitting day for the year.

A spokesperson for Ms Roxon said ‘‘these new statistics show telephone interception and surveillance powers are playing an even greater role for police so they can successfully pursue kidnappers, murderers and organised criminals’’.

‘‘Parliament’s intelligence committee is currently reviewing telephone interception and surveillance powers to ensure police can stay one step in front of criminals, while also having have the right checks and balances to ensure that those who enforce our national security laws do so responsibly.’’ Senator Ludlam called for tighter controls on access to personal data, including a requirement for warrants to be issued by an independent authority.

‘‘It’s incumbent on the Parliament’s national security inquiry to recommend some form of warrant authorisation be introduced, and that there be a review and reduction of the government agencies that can access the personal communications data of millions of Australians.’’

However, the latest statistics also show a 7.7per cent jump in the number of telecommunications interception warrants issued to law enforcement agencies, with 3755 phone taps being authorised in 2011-12.

AGENCIES GETTING DATA WITHOUT WARRANTS 2011-12

FEDERAL
■ Australian Crime Commission
■ Government departments including the Tax Office, Medicare, Centrelink, Australia Post
■ Statistics for access by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation are security classified and not published

STATE
■ State police and anti-corruption bodies
■ Government departments including the Victorian Taxi Directorate, Worksafe
■ RSPCA in Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania
■ Local governments including Wyndham City Council in Melbourne’s west

Source: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/political-news/sharp-increase-in-authorities-accessing-private-data-20121130-2amsm.html#ixzz2DkHcpapH

 



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13 Responses to “Authorities incl WorkSafe Vic are increasinly accessing private data”

  1. Does this mean we (Vic injured folks) also have our PHONES tapped? For f*ck’s sake! It is no wonder injured workers suffer from severe secondary psych illnesses once on “workcover” – I mean would YOU not become totally paranoid? Depressed? Angry? Frustrated?

    Can’t help but wonder how employees of workcover would feel if we were to do the same on them?! Spying, filming their every move and taping their private calls… mhhh…

     

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    workcovervictim December 1, 2012 at 9:15 am
  2. Nice to know injured workers are up there with kidnappers, murderers and organised criminals’’.

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    • You can add sex offenders too, injured workers were bullied at work then they’re bullied by the Government.

      So tell me, what is our fault, what is wrong with injured workers???

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      Xchangingvictim December 1, 2012 at 6:24 pm
  3. All this surveillance linked up with a complete disrespect for human rights sees us poised to become a fascist state in the true meaning of the words – where corporations and maniacal would-be demi-gods rule supreme. Imagine having to raise your arm to salute the likes of Gina Mineheart or Twiggy Forrest or Abbott. I suspect injured workers will be offered early euthanasia cause we’re too far gone to be of any use in the workcamps.

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  4. Nice to know THEY KNOW FACTS BUT ARE so Blazingly DISHONEST… They FRAUDULENTLY ACESS correct information THEN HIDE IT AWAY, knowing Injured Workers are simply INCAPABLE of stooping as low as they!

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    • Hey! Stoop and raise my arms! It would never happen! Can’t get down that low and my workplace injury doesn’t permit me to raise my arm that high. I still can use a pen to vote them out.

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  5. “The data available to government agencies under federal  law includes phone and internet account information, outwards and inwards call details, phone and internet access location data, and details of Internet Protocol addresses visited (though not the actual content of communications).”

    Reading this it seems they can’t access or tap anyone’s phones as such, but they would be using this data to know where you’re accessing the internet as well as where you are making phone calls from & to who and when. This information would tie in nicely with their already over zealous surveillance of workcover victims – no point thinking they don’t know where you are anymore :/

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  6. True it’s pointless thinking that a system that violates injured workers at every opportunity would not walk right into your home and invade your privacy via Internet or any other surveillance. It’s threating gesture to say ” we know who you are”. In this time of technology, tell us something we don’t know! The real question is why is surveillance occurring to people who are not malingering. Who have medical support. Maybe because the system sets itself to prey on the defensless. If it can find some small action or conversation that makes the defenseless look like they are cheating the system. Workcover can claim everything back from them. Every cent. Even their home. Yet where’s the defense and compensation against the defamation when a system is out to prove cheating. Secondly, there is some impressive technology used to track and trace people. More than the average person realises. That is an very uneven playing field to be used on people who know vjery little about surviellence and are only concerned with getting better and making ends meet. There are rules to this game. This blog wouldn’t be here if everyone was playing by the rules. Ill bet they’ve tapped into some very distressing conversations. I wonder if they keep the recordings of the injured workers desperately talking to lifeline or anyone else who cares for them.

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  7. Australia post wtf do they need your Internet data and phone calls information for ? Might as well just make it public and let everyone access the information for a fee. Lets see the pollies Internet data and phone calls info bet they would not like it either because it would show they are on the net all the time not doing any work or making so many phone calls the bills are crazy.

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    • I feel so disappointed and alarmed to find out that myself and the members of SIC Club are recognised Australian criminals, we are being spied because we commit robberies, killings, sex assaults and who knows!

      Now I understand my injuries caused by sleeping disorder problems are in fact related to my “sleepwalking” night activity, I must went out and killed or raped someone!

      “A spokesperson for Ms Roxon said: these new statistics show telephone interception and surveillance powers are playing an even greater role for police so they can successfully pursue kidnappers, murderers and organised criminals” http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/sharp-increase-in-authorities-accessing-private-data-20121130-2amsm.html

      Does Roxon even know she “might” have a brain = WTF!!!

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      Xchangingvictim December 2, 2012 at 9:39 am
  8. Follow these instructions to keep your browsing history and email away from the prying eyes of WorkCover

    https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/11/tutorial-how-create-anonymous-email-accounts

    Always use Tor when leaving comments that might be considered to be contentious.

    Leave anonymous feedback on your favourite (and perhaps not so favourite) doctors on http://www.pastebin.com or http://www.pastebay.net but always use Tor when doing so.

    Tor might be a little bit slow, but you’re almost guaranteed anonymity when you use it properly.

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  9. Just a reminder to everybody commenting on this (and other site):We recently received an email accusing us the admins of publishing a name of an injured worker and their email address! This is not the first time.

    Any injured worker- You YOURSELF who writes a comment on our site it is entirely yours and your responsibility  (the content and also your name and email address if you share it within the comment) and as we have repeatedly stated, and in our disclaimer – we urge all people who comment on our site to use a nickname and an alias email (such as a gmail or yahoo email). You are also allowed to use a fake email address such as whatever@whatever.com. We ask this so YOU can protect your identity at ALL times from an extremely retaliatory workcover system.

    aworkcovervictimsdiary never ever deliberately publishes names and emails – however when you write those in a comment then it is your responsibility. Please do not share your real name and real email within a comment!

    The sheer amount of comments we receive on a daily basis would make it virtually impossible for us to “censor” bits and pieces YOU wrote yourself! Take responsibility and, again, be mindful as what you write and (wish to) share on a public internet about YOURSELF.

    Ta

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    • Thanks for that timely reminder workcovervictim. Sometimes it’s easy to think that the people who’ve brought us the site are responsible for every thing that happens there. Truth is this site has been set up to allow us to be as autonomous as possible i.e we get to write and say what we want. when we want. The other side of that is that when we take the actions on site, we are totally responsible for what happens from taking those actions. Protect yourself as much as you are able, if your knowledge is lacking ask a friend to help you ensure you are protected to the extent that you want to be. I don’t bother hiding my identity because my common law compensation claim finished in 2008, but anyone who has a common law claim active should avoid talking about their claim details in public like this..

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