The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) wants the power to access phone calls and emails in its fight against white collar crime.
ASIC commissioner Greg Tanzer has told a parliamentary inquiry on Sept 27 its investigations into insider trading and market manipulation are done “with one hand tied behind our back” because ASIC lacks the same intercept powers as agencies like the Australian Federal Police.
The joint parliamentary inquiry into national security legislation is seeking to bring legislation in line with technology advances, as social media and new communication platforms open up wide-ranging ways for criminals to communicate out of ear-shot of investigators.
The inquiry is examining controversial proposals to force internet service providers to store all communications by their customers for up to two years.
Investigators would be able to access this information, possibly without a warrant.
But telecommunications companies like iiNet told the inquiry it could cost hundreds of millions of dollars to store the enormous amounts of data this would involve.
They argue they already cooperate with police by handing over information about specific targets.
Federal Liberal Senator George Brandis said ASIC’s request could be a case of “function creep” and questioned why they should be given powers that are not even available in some murder investigations.
The Epoch Times publishes in 35 countries and in 19 languages. Subscribe to our e-newsletter.