Ever heard of the term Metadata?
Well Local Councils, the RSPCA and even Racing Queensland have, because they have put in along with others over 10,000 requests last year, to find out “who you called, where you were and they were, when you called, who you text-ed, who you emailed and the subject line.
By the way – they don’t need a search warrant or even need to tell you they have.
And your Truck GPS tracking data is also a metadata source
Currently before Federal Parliament a bill is being debated asking all Telco’s and ISP (people that host your internet, to store this information for two years.
National Security but Barking Dogs?
The use of Metadata for National security and for criminal investigations by Police is logical.
However – allowing Councils, the RSPCA, Racing Organisations or any Organisation with a rough belief that they need it – to access your personal information without a warrant is not just ludicrous it’s fundamentally a breach of our right to privacy.
Even a Doctors group, accessed Metadata to check is a Doctor was having an affair wit a client, whilst Local councils are accessing it to chase up pet issues!!!!
One local council used Metadata, to find out who was illegally dumping. Ok, it’s bad a bad thing, but we have a Police Force to investigate such things, trained and sworn. The idea of having unknown, untrained people, without constraints accessing people’s personal information is not just bizarre its a breach of basic civil liberties and a major risk to Commercial Confidentiality.
Impact on Chain of Responsibility
Our article this month discussed the growing threat of Civil Litigation in CoR, not just Criminal prosecution by the Enforcement Authorities.
The question becomes could a Civil Litigation lawyer access the Metadata for your company? Information such as the email, mobile phone, texts records and locations of people at the time. Would you know about it, if they did? Would it not only assist them in prosecuting their case, could it also disclose commercial sensitivities?
Note the metadata does not contain the content of your calls or emails, but it does disclose who, where and when?
What to Do About It?
If you are concerned then we suggest you write to your local member or transport association.
Alternative, contact us and we can put you in touch with Australia’s leading academic on the subject, and he can discuss with you the ramifications.