Image: Ruth Suehle. CC-BY-SA
Image: Ruth Suehle. CC-BY-SA

This page relates to public policy issues concerning privacy and surveillance. EFA’s Privacy Policy is available here.

Census 2016

For more information, see our Census 2016 page

Telecommunications data (‘metadata’) retention

For more information, see our Mandatory data retention page

Privacy Laws in Australia

Information about Australian privacy protection legislation relevant to online privacy, and related government proposals, inquiries, reports, etc.

Calling Number Display

Information about the ongoing issues and debate surrounding Calling Number Display (“CND”) and Calling Line Identification (“CLI”) in Australia, including information about threats to, and invasion of, the privacy of Internet users and other telephone service subscribers resulting from the practices of some carriers and ISPs, and proposals by industry organisations and government agencies, in 2002 and 2003. See EFA’s Calling Number Display and Calling Line Identification Page.


ENUM is a protocol for translating telephone numbers into Internet Domain Names and mapping telephone numbers to other means of communication such as email, fax and mobile numbers. ENUM poses risks to individuals’ privacy. See EFA’s ENUM Page.

Identification Cards

See EFA’s Smart Cards and RFID Page and EFA’s pages about the so-called Access Card.

Integrated Public Number Database (IPND)

On 19 October 2006, a Bill was introduced into Federal Parliament to improve privacy protection for telephone subscriber information stored in the IPND. See the IPND section of EFA’s Use of Telecommunications Customer Information Page.

Search and Seizure Powers

EFA has serious concerns about the search and seizure provisions of several Acts & Bills, particularly in relation to search/seizure of information from computers without a search warrant including under Anton Piller orders. See EFA’s Submission to the Inquiry into Entry, Search and Seizure Provisions in C’th Legislation conducted by the Senate Scrutiny of Bills Committee, 30 Jul 2004. (Although the Committee’s inquiry commenced in 2004, as at 18 January 2006 the Committee had not issued a report on its inquiry.)

Security / Cybercrime

Increasingly laws are being proposed and/or enacted that, while intended to protect security or deal with “cybercrime” and other computer-related crime, unreasonably infringe or threaten Internet users’ privacy and/or other civil liberties. This section contains information about such laws, regulatory proposals, parliamentary and government inquiries, etc. See EFA’s Security / Cybercrime Page.

Smart Cards and RFID

Information about Australian governments’ proposals to introduce smart cards and/or RFID technology for identification purposes, some of which include proposals for identifying individuals online and/or facilitating access via the Internet to personal information in government databases. See EFA’s Smart Cards and RFID Page and EFA’s pages about the so-called Access Card.


The Australian Spam Act 2003 and the Spam (Consequential Amendments) Act 2003 became operative on 11 April 2004. This section provides information about the spam laws and their passage through the Parliament in late 2003. A review of this legislation was commenced by the Government in December 2004. See EFA’s Australian Spam Law Page.


EFA’s submission to the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts public consultation on Spyware, 29 June 2005.

Surveillance Laws and Powers

Information about laws regulating the use of surveillance devices relevant to online privacy and granting law enforcement authorities rights to use such devices under specified conditions. See EFA’s Surveillance Laws and Powers Page.

Surveillance Systems

Brief information about surveillance systems such as Echelon and Carnivore.

Telecommunications Interception and Access Powers

See EFA’s Telecommunications Privacy Laws Page which includes information about the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979.


Do Not Call Register:
A Discussion Paper titled Introduction of an Australian Do Not Call Register was issued for public consultation by the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts in October 2005. Subsequently in June 2006, the Do Not Call Register Bill 2006 was passed by Parliament. See EFA’s Use of Telecommunications Customer Information Page.

Unauthorised Personal Photographs on the Internet

The Standing Committee of Attorneys-General issued a Discussion Paper titled Unauthorised Photographs on the Internet and Ancillary Privacy Issues for public comment in 2005. EFA does not support the use of the criminal law to deal with the type of photos taken in public places that led to the issue of the Discussion Paper. However, EFA is of the view that new offences should be created to prohibit the taking and publication of photographs of an intimate private nature, without consent, in circumstances in which a reasonable person would reasonably expect to be afforded privacy. See EFA’s submission in response to the Unauthorised Photographs Discussion Paper, 14 Oct 2005.

Use of Telecommunications Customer Information

Information about regulatory proposals and related inquiries concerning restricting the use (without consent) of telecommunications customer information (e.g. telephone numbers and addresses) including information contained in the mandatory Integrated Public Number Database. See EFA’s Use of Telecommunications Customer Information Page.

Workplace Privacy & Surveillance

Information about Australian laws regarding monitoring by employers of employees’ use of the Internet. Includes EFA’s Model Acceptable Use Policy for Employee Use of the Internet. See EFA’s Workplace Privacy & Surveillance Page.
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