Australian Independents leader Patricia Petersen.
Australian Independents leader Patricia Petersen.

Using metadata to prosecute illegal sign usage is "overkill"

COUNCILLOR Andrew Antoniolli has assured residents that Ipswich City Council is not using requests for individuals' telecommunications records for nefarious purposes.

But Australian Independents leader Patricia Petersen said council's recent actions were "overkill" and that residents should be concerned at the ease with which their telecommunications records could be accessed.

As revealed in today's QT, Ipswich City Council made six legal requests under the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979 for metadata to successfully prosecute four individuals for illegal sign usage.

Cr Antoniolli said that "with respect to the metadata, it gives us the evidence that a phone number belongs to a particular person or business".

"That is all we are after. We are not interested in anything else on the person's mobile phone," he said.

"This is a last resort situation where we have a proliferation of illegal signage and we can't contact the owner of the mobile phone number associated with that signage.

"It is not a system we use all that much. There has to be a valid reason, and our valid reason is to initiate enforcement action over the proliferation of illegal signage…that creates an absolute eyesore on our city and proliferate in our streets."

Ms Petersen said the council's reason for accessing metadata was "lame".

"You don't make phone calls, and then if someone doesn't pick up go and access information about them. It is overkill," she said.

"I think residents would be mortified at the idea of Ipswich City Council monitoring...who they have been calling over something as lame as signage.

"In terms of privacy, we as residents have a right to know for what purpose our local council is monitoring us."



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