METADATA (what’s that again?) and how it may be used in Family Law matters

Posted on Mar 19, 2017 by Rebecca Furner   |   Categories: Family Law

Since 2015, the Government has been collecting and tracking Metadata in an effort to protect Australia against organised crime and terrorism.

What is metadata? The footprint created by sending a text, making a phone call or forwarding an email. We’re talking about phone numbers, IP addresses, geographical locations, duration of call, but not the content of those communications.

So far, only Government agencies have had access to the metadata. But what if metadata could be used in family law matters? A recent ABC News article recently wrote about this very issue http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-05/telco-industry-pushes-for-metadata-collection-changes/8162896

The article sets out that “The Government has launched a review into whether to allow the information collected to be used in civil cases, not just terrorism-related investigations.

This could potentially mean the data could be used in divorce cases.”

While it appears the review committee intend to issue a general prohibition of Court’s allowing access to metadata in civil matters, the committee seems open to allowing access in family law matters involving violence or international child abduction.

The outcome of the review will be hotly awaited by legal practitioners Australia-wide.