12 Jun 2013

Greens say law agencies need warrant to access data

9:57 am on 12 June 2013

The Australian Greens will try to stop law enforcement agencies accessing people's private data on phones and computers without a warrant.

AAP reports the party will introduce legislation to reduce the surveillance powers of the ASIO and the Australian Federal Police.

Senator Scott Ludlam said these agencies could access private "metadata" without a warrant and use it to track the location of anyone carrying a smartphone.

Senator Ludlam said around 300,000 requests for telecommunications data were made by law enforcement agencies in 2011-2012 without a warrant or any judicial oversight.

His bill, to be introduced in the Senate next week, would require agencies to get legal approval before tapping the data.

AAP reports Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus dismissed the idea, claiming law enforcement would "grind to a halt" if a warrant was needed every time data was accessed.

Australia already had a clear safeguards when it came to this issue, he added.