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The commonwealth ombudsman has released a scathing report into the Australian Federal Police’s use of powers to access metadata, focusing specifically on location-based services.
The ombudsman launched the inquiry after revelations the ACT Policing unit of the AFP had engaged in widespread unlawful access of metadata. The report concluded that between 13 October 2015 and 2019 ACT Policing accessed location information on 1,713 occasions and the ombudsman was only confident that nine were fully compliant.
Firstly, if access was unlawful and the information relied on in prosecutions, there may be consequences for people convicted of an offence. While initial advice provided by the AFP to my Office was that the LBS obtained by ACT Policing was only used to locate someone to arrest them, we were unable to rule out the possibility that unlawfully obtained evidence, the LBS, may have been used for prosecutorial purposes. Secondly, the privacy of individuals may have been breached.
We could not be satisfied that the scope of the breaches has been fully identified by the AFP nor the potential consequences and consider it is possible breaches have occurred in parts of the AFP other than ACT Policing.
A reporter has asked if Labor believes NT Stolen Generation survivors launching a legal case with the courts deserve compensation from the Commonwealth.
Linda Burney has taken this answer:
The Labor Party took to the last election, and it’s not changed – a commitment to compensate members of the Stolen Generation from capital territories, including the Northern Territory.
Shine Lawyers is launching a class action today and there is about 800 people attached to that class action. But the commitment of our party is to compensate those where there has been no compensation scheme in place. And they are from the capital territories.