Media Release

19 August 2003

Big Brother ISP Code Condemned

A proposed Cybercrime Code of Practice for ISPs would result in massive invasion of Internet users' privacy, Electronic Frontiers Australia ("EFA") warned today.

The draft Code was recently issued for public consultation by the Internet Industry Association of Australia ("IIA"). It has been developed in secret over the last two years by the IIA and law enforcement agencies.

"The IIA is acting like Big Brother - they want ISPs to log and record everything Internet users do online," said Irene Graham, EFA Executive Director. "It's akin to asking a carrier to record every telephone conversation made over its system and asking Australia Post to photocopy every letter and record the content of every parcel it delivers."

Graham said the data collection and retention provisions of the Code seek to establish a de facto extension of the telecommunications interception regime.

"It would enable access to vastly more communications and personal information without a warrant of any sort, than results from telephone call intercepts that require an interception warrant," she said. "The information would be logged and kept by ISPs solely to comply with a voluntary Industry Code. More disturbingly, the logs could disclosed to law enforcement agencies and private sector organisations, such as those investigating alleged copyright infringements, without the accountability and oversight mechanisms applicable to interception warrants."

EFA also has concerns about numerous other parts of the Code, according to Graham.

"The Code fails to take into sufficient account the existing provisions of the Telecommunications Act 1997 and the Privacy Act 1988. Compliance with various provisions of the Code is likely to place an ISP in breach of one or both of those Acts."

"Since it's taken two years for the IIA and LEAs to develop the Code, it's clear there aren't any compelling problems facing LEAs that warrant the adverse impact on privacy. The Code should be abandoned."

EFA has sent a submission to the IIA detailing the problems with the Code. The submission is available at:

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Below is:
- Background information
- Contact details for media


EFA's submission re IIA draft Cybercrime Code:

IIA's draft Cybercrime Code:

Federal Privacy Commissioner's 'Framework for Assessing Law Enforcement Initiatives where they impact on privacy'

Federal Privacy Commissioner's 'Guidelines to the National Privacy Principles'

About EFA:

Electronic Frontiers Australia Inc. ("EFA") is a non-profit national organisation representing Internet users concerned with on-line rights and freedoms. EFA was established in 1994, is independent of government and commerce, and is funded by membership subscriptions and donations from individuals and organisations with an altruistic interest in promoting online civil liberties.

Media Contact:

Ms Irene Graham
EFA Executive Director
Phone: 07 3424 0201 or 0412 997 163
Email: ed at

Electronic Frontiers Australia Inc --
URL of this release: