A review into Australia’s intelligence community has recommended comprehensive reform of electronic surveillance laws, one that would repeal existing powers and combine them to avoid duplication, contradictory definitions, and any further ad hoc amendments to the existing three Acts.
Electronic surveillance powers enable agencies to use electronic or technical means, which would otherwise be unlawful, to covertly listen to a person’s conversations, access a person’s electronic data, observe certain aspects of a person’s behaviour, and track a person’s movements. Currently, these powers are contained within the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979 (TIA Act), the Surveillance Devices Act 2004 (SD Act), and the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1979 (ASIO Act).
Parts of the Telecommunications Act 1997 and the Criminal Code Act 1995 are also directly relevant when considering these powers.
Each Act requires agencies to meet thresholds before accessing these powers and requires external authorities, such as judges, Administrative