Australia plans overhaul of telecommunications interception rules

The Australian government is planning a radical overhaul of telecommunications interception rules, which has some concerned it may be used to force internet service providers (ISP) to inspect customers’ online activities. The Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment Bill 2009 — Network Protection contains legislation designed to extend interception powers from certain government agencies to any Australian network operator. The Bill is currently scheduled to appear before Parliament for debate prior to mid-December. In late July the Attorney General’s Department (AGD) released its discussion paper outlining the government’s proposed changes to the Act. The government intends to introduce the amendments as a temporary exemption from the Act for some government agencies and will expire on 12 December.

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