Our legal obligation to provide information
Who can request my information?
Like all telecommunications companies operating in Australia, we assist certain government agencies who are authorised to request customer information under law for purposes such as enforcing criminal law, imposing financial penalties, protecting public revenue, and safeguarding national security.
We also provide assistance to emergency services organisations in life-threatening and time-critical situations.
We publish figures on how many requests for assistance we receive each year.
What kind of information can be requested?
Agencies may request information like a customer's name, address, phone number, email address, service number, connection date, date of birth, and previous addresses.
Records of communications such as calls, SMSs and emails can also be requested, including the source, the destination, and the date, time and duration of a communication.
Certain information about the location of the equipment you use to communicate can also be requested, such as the residential address associated with your fixed phone service or the location of the cell tower you were connected to when you made a mobile call.
Internet records can be requested, including the date, time and duration of internet sessions as well as email logs from the services we provide.
How are requests made to Telstra?
There are a variety of ways for requests for customer information to be made.
We receive court orders such as subpoenas and coronial requests which require us to provide customer information.
We also receive warrants, which can require us to provide access to the content of stored communications, or real-time access to communications as they are carried over our network.
Some agencies are able to access the Integrated Public Number Database (IPND) which holds information on every phone number from every service provider in Australia, including the service and directory addresses provided by the customer. This database is managed by Telstra as part of our carrier licence issued by the Australia Government.
How are requests for information reviewed?
Under Australian law, the privacy of your personal information is strictly protected. To protect your privacy, Telstra ensures that each request meets legislative requirements and only discloses customer information if the request is required or authorised by law.
An agency requires a warrant to intercept content in real-time. For other information, agencies do not require a warrant but must meet the relevant legislative conditions. In the case of law enforcement agencies investigating a crime, they must be satisfied that the disclosure is reasonably necessary for the enforcement of criminal law, and they must also consider the privacy implications of the disclosure.
When responding to lawful requests for customer information from agencies, we aim never to interfere with our customers’ legitimate use and enjoyment of our services.
All Subpoenas, Court documents and legal notices should be served to The Proper Officer, Telstra Limited, 242 Exhibition Street, Melbourne, Vic 3000 and/or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will accept service electronically and our preference is via email to email@example.com.
Conduct money can be paid by EFT as follows or by cheque or cash:
Telstra (EFT Direct Credits)
Westpac Banking Corporation
BSB: 034 002
ACC: 709 844
Please include a copy of your EFT payment confirmation when serving documents.
Will I be informed if a request has been made for my information?
We are prohibited from providing details of specific requests made by law enforcement or national security agencies. Additionally, Telstra does not want to jeopardise the work of these or other agencies.
Telstra provides annual figures on the total number of requests we receive for customer information. These figures do not include requests by national security agencies, as the reporting of that information is prohibited.
The Australian Attorney-General's Department and the Australian Communications and Media Authority produce annual reports that provide some details of information requests made by agencies at an industry-wide level. Enquiries about the actions of specific agencies should be directed to the agencies themselves.
Protecting our networks and infrastructure
We have a legal obligation to do our best to prevent our network and facilities from being used in the commission of a crime. Government agencies can request that we take action at an infrastructure level to prevent a crime. For example, Telstra blocks the Interpol generated ‘worst of the worst' list of child abuse sites.
Network or infrastructure level requests are infrequent and generally do not involve disclosing customer information.
Telstra also provides managed network services; data, voice and satellite services; and operates submarine cable networks and assets in over twenty countries and territories. In these places our focus is on providing services to large enterprise customers, rather than individual consumers.
Where can I get more information?
- For information on national security, telecommunications interception and access arrangements, contact the Attorney-General’s Department at www.ag.gov.au
- For information on telecommunications service provider data retention obligations, go to the Department of Home Affairs at www.homeaffairs.gov.au
- For information on assistance to agencies under the Telecommunications Act 1997, contact the Department of Communications at www.communications.gov.au
- For information on the IPND and Emergency Services, contact the Australian Communications and Media Authority www.acma.gov.au
- For information about Emergency Alerts go to www.emergencyalert.gov.au
- For information on Australia's privacy regime, contact the Office of Australian Information Commissioner www.oaic.gov.au