Law enforcement (Telecommunications) | ACMA

Law enforcement (Telecommunications)

Carriers and service providers, including Internet service providers, have legislative obligations under Part 14 of the Telecommunications Act 1997 to provide assistance to law enforcement and national security agencies. Amongst other things, carriers and service providers are required to assist such agencies to carry out their duties, maintain lawful interception obligations, and try to ensure that telecommunications facilities and networks are not used in the commission of offences.

For those carriage service providers that offer prepaid mobile services, there are additional obligations relating to the identity verification.

Internet service providers

Internet service providers are carriage service providers and are therefore subject to the obligations outlined above. This includes the obligation to install and maintain interception capabilities.

Interception obligations

The Telecommunications Act 1997 imposes obligations on carriers and carriage service providers, including Internet service providers, in regard to the provision of interception facilities. The Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979 sets out the conditions under which a service may be intercepted and the actions required of the various parties involved. The Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act is administered by the Attorney-General's-Department.

In general terms, unless exempted, all carriers and carriage service providers (including Internet service providers) must provide facilities which enable them to execute a warrant for interception and to provide special assistance to law enforcement and national security agencies. All carriers and certain nominated carriage service providers are also required to submit an annual Interception Capability Plan outlining the carrier's or carriage service provider's policies in relation to interception and their strategies for complying with their obligations to the Communications Access Co-ordinator (the CAC). The CAC is an officer of the Attorney-General’s Department, as outlined in section 6R of the TIA Act. The CAC acts on behalf of all the national security and enforcement agencies Attorney-General's Department.

Identity verification in relation to pre-paid mobile services

The Telecommunications (Service Provider – Identity Checks for Prepaid Mobile Carriage Services) Determination 2017 places identity verification obligations on carriage service providers that offer prepaid mobile carriage services. The Determination is a service provider rule made under section 99 of the Telecommunications Act 1997.


Last updated: 21 December 2017