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Home Affairs cannot be bothered listing all agencies with access to metadata

December 21, 2018 / Chris Duckett

The Department of Home Affairs says it would take "considerable time and resources" for it to determine how many agencies across Australia's three tiers of government have accessed metadata held under the nation's data retention laws. Responding to Questions on Notice, Home Affairs pointed out another of the loopholes that gives agencies, not on the list of 21 enforcement agencies, the ability to access metadata. "Section 280(1)(b) of the Telecommunications Act 1997 creates an exemption to the general prohibition against the disclosure of metadata for Commonwealth, state, or territory entities that are not enforcement agencies," Home Affairs said. "The authorities that can utilise this exemption are not specified." Agencies that have the power to order the disclosure of information could force the issue with a court order or notice to produce powers, the department said.