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National security

The Australian Government's first priority is to keep our community safe from people who seek to do us harm

Telecommunications interception and surveillance

The Department of Home Affairs administers the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979 (TIA Act) and the Surveillances Devices Act 2004 (SD Act).

The TIA Act protects the privacy of Australians by prohibiting interception of communications and access to stored communications. The privacy of Australians is also protected by the Telecommunications Act 1997, which prohibits telecommunications service providers from disclosing information about their customers' use of telecommunications services.

The TIA Act sets out certain exceptions to these prohibitions to permit eligible Australian law enforcement and security agencies (agencies) to:

  • obtain warrants to intercept communications
  • obtain warrants to access stored communications
  • authorise the disclosure of data

Agencies can only obtain warrants or give authorisations for national security or law enforcement purposes set out in the TIA Act.

The SD Act governs the use of surveillance devices by agencies. Under the SD Act, an eligible agency can apply for a warrant to use a surveillance device to investigate a relevant offence.

Although the Department of Home Affairs administers the TIA Act and SD Act, the department does not investigate crimes. If you think that your communications are being illegally intercepted or recorded you should report the matter to your local police.

Contact details

Call: 02 8622 2103
Outside Australia: +61 2 8622 2103