Give ATO metadata powers: committee

A parliamentary committee wants the Australian Tax Office to be listed as an agency which can access metadata retained from Australians.

The tax office should be given phone interception powers under controversial data retention laws, a parliamentary committee has recommended.

In a report into financial-related crime released on Monday, the law enforcement committee argued the ATO must be able to access information from intercepted phone calls to protect the public purse from major tax fraud.

It wants the ATO listed as a criminal law-enforcement agency under the metadata retention laws passed earlier this year.

The report looked into the growing threat of technology-based financial crime, such as money transfers and identity theft.

More than one million Australians and New Zealanders have their identities stolen each year, but less than six per cent of thieves are arrested or prosecuted.

The committee said it was difficult for victims to prove they've had their identity stolen for the purpose of getting a proof certificate to back up their claims.

It has called for a review into proof criteria after hearing evidence that not one person had succeeded in getting a certificate because of the onerous process.

The committee also wants banks to give customers the option of opting-in or out from "pay-wave" or contactless technology to buy goods under $100.

Victoria Police has blamed the technology for 100 extra credit card deceptions it's receiving each week.

The committee also noted inefficiencies on multi-agency work - especially the central bank and federal police tackling counterfeit bank notes.

It's called for the Reserve Bank to focus on the paper work, and for the federal police to catch the counterfeiters.

2 min read
Published 7 September 2015 at 11:08am
Source: AAP