Thursday, 30 March 2006
Telecommunications (Interception) Amendment Bill 2006
Labor does not support the position that Senate Stott Despoja is putting in respect of this amendment. We think equipment based interception warrants will be an effective tool to assist with the investigation of criminal activity. It escaped me originally when we were looking at this particular area during the committee process, but it became plain, that the legislation provides that they can use them where there is a unique identifier. My understanding is that, if there is not a unique identifier, they cannot use them, so the confusion is removed. We were operating at that time under a misunderstanding of how the provision would work. Blunn at 3.2.5 says that of course there should be work done to develop a unique identifier so that there are not multiple identifiers. He then said in the text that people who use—I am summarising—multiple SIMs and multiple handsets can and do evade the law in their criminal activities and there should be a way of dealing with that.
This provision seeks to do that. Whilst investigators can identify a unique number, they cannot pick up all circumstances. There will be circumstances they miss where there is more than one identifier. Therefore, I suspect they will also be supporting work and research into developing a unique identifier. In the interim this provision deserves support. It will fight crime. It will be an effective tool for investigators to use in this area, especially against criminals who are intent on evading law enforcement agencies by using multiple handsets, multiple SIMs and other sophisticated technologies in their criminal pursuits.