Wednesday, 19 November 2014
Australian government agencies and a registered charity trawled letters and parcels 10,002 times in 2013-14
The Age 13 November 2014:
Australia Post disclosed confidential information to law enforcement, security and other government agencies more than 10,000 times in 2013-14, an increase of 25 per cent over the past four years.
According to statistics released by the postal corporation, "specially protected" information, which includes information about letters and parcels and other private client information was provided to government agencies by Australia Post on 5635 occasions – more than twice the number four years ago.
Federal government investigators accessing specially protected information include the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Crime Commission, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, the Australian Customs Service, the Australian Taxation Office, Centrelink, Medicare and the Child Support Agency.
Victorian and Queensland police as well as the NSW Crime Commission and the Western Australian Corruption and Crime Commission also received such private information.
Postal information that is not "specially protected", including names and addresses on the outside of letters and parcels, was disclosed by Australia Post on another 4367 occasions.
Government agencies accessing this postal "metadata" include the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, the Australian Communications and Media Authority, and the federal departments of agriculture, environment, defence, foreign affairs and trade, health and ageing.
State police and anti-corruption agencies, state revenue offices, consumer affairs, workplace and environmental regulators as well as the RSPCA also accessed the information…..
The total of 10,002 disclosures in 2013-14 was 5 per cent higher than in the previous year, despite a 4.8 per cent decline in the volume of letters delivered by Australia Post.
Only 19 disclosures of postal information were made to the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation. This figure for 2013-14 is down from 31 disclosures in the previous year and is the lowest in a decade……