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A principle of privacy

Telstra News

Posted on March 6, 2015

3 min read

Millions of Australians place trust in Telstra every day to protect your privacy and keep your data secure. As part of honouring this trust, we are introducing new transparency measures that mean you will have more access to the data we hold than ever before.

In a first for the Australian telecommunications industry, we will be giving you access to the metadata* related to you that we would provide in response to a lawful request without a warrant from a law enforcement agency.  We believe that if the police can ask for information relating to you, you should be able to as well.

With digital technology increasingly central to our lives, we are generating more data than ever before. With this trend has come some community concerns about who has access to this data.  

Protecting citizens is one of the Government’s most fundamental roles and providing assistance to the police and security agencies is a profound responsibility for Telstra.  In living up to our legal responsibilities we believe being open and upfront with you – our customers – is the best way to earning your confidence and trust.

In a recent post on how we work with law enforcement agencies, we explained the types of requests we receive from law enforcement agencies and how we respond to them. This initiative builds on the greater transparency we are offering in this area, including being the first telco in Australia to publish a Transparency Report.

We already make a lot of data available to customers, such as call records and service details, through our bills and Telstra MyAccount. We will build on this with our new principle of offering the same access to a customer’s own metadata as we are required to offer to law enforcement agencies.

This new approach is all about giving you a clearer picture of the data we provide in response to lawful requests today.  As new technologies evolve and data management practices change (including potentially through the introduction of a data retention regime), we see this principle as continuing to apply. 

The new option to request additional information that we hold on you will be available from 1 April 2015, through a web form on our privacy portal.

Requests for data beyond what is available on MyAccount will be subject to a cost recovery fee when a request is actioned. This fee will depend on how far back into Telstra records you request. Simple requests are expected to cost around $25, while detailed requests covering multiple services across several years will be charged at an hourly rate. This is the same practice of cost recovery that is applied to requests from law enforcement agencies.

The data provided will be limited to information associated with your account. Information about another party will not be provided, such as who called you.

  Metadata is the data generated when you use a telecommunications service – information such as the number you called, when you called and how long you spoke for. It does not include the content of a communication, such as the detail of what you said or wrote in an email or SMS. The police and other enforcement agencies can access metadata under law without a warrant. 

Tags: Security,