Nearly all of the government agencies which last year snooped on citizens' phone and internet records without warrants have reapplied to access the data following the introduction of legislation which was meant to reduce the scope of access.
Sixty-one non-law enforcement federal and state agencies, including organisations such as Australia Post and Sydney's Bankstown City Council, have applied to access citizens' metadata for pursuing criminal activity or protecting public revenue.
The telecommunications data may include information such as phone numbers and addresses of people who called each other, or email addresses and the times messages were sent.
By comparison, the latest official government report on metadata access, covering a period before new mandatory data retention legislation came into effect in October last year, showed 69 agencies accessed metadata. At that time they were automatically authorised to access this data, however following the legislation, non-law enforcement agencies must now apply directly to federal Attorney-General George Brandis for temporary approval to access metadata for up to 40 parliamentary sitting days.
No warrant is required to access the data.
A spokesperson for the Attorney-General's department said Mr Brandis had not temporarily approved metadata access to any agencies who requested access.
The list of agencies was revealed in a Freedom of Information request filed by former Electronic Frontiers Australia vice chair Geordie Guy, and released to the public on Monday.
More agencies may have requested metadata access since Mr Guy's FOI request was filed in November last year.
Digital rights group Electronic Frontiers Australia has called on Mr Brandis to reject most of the agencies' applications.
EFA executive director Jon Lawrence said "only two or three" agencies would have legitimate reasons to access the private information.
"If the Attorney-General is serious about the integrity of his legislation and about protecting the civil liberties of all Australians, then he must act swiftly to reject the majority of these applications," Mr Lawrence said.
In previous years local city councils have come under fire for using information gleaned from residents' metadata to chase small-time infringers and recoup fines.
Melbourne's Knox City Council last year accessed call charge records, and name and address details, to prosecute people who damaged property or were guilty of cruelty against animals or illegal signage, a council spokesperson said.
Bankstown City Council in Sydney appears to be the only council so far to have reapplied for access under the new regime.
A Bankstown spokesperson previously told Fairfax media the council used data to catch residents who dumped waste illegally. The agency made 13 information requests in the year to June 2015.
EFA's Mr Lawrence said such matters were "hardly a national security issue" which might have justified its access to private information.
Other government agencies which have reapplied to access private communication records include Australia Post — which made 625 information requests last year — state racing bodies, the RSPCA and the Tax Office.
Australia Post has previously said that it requests phone records from telecommunication companies so it can chase people who steal phones or SIM cards from its stores, or pursue people who make "serious threats" to staff or engage in corruption and fraud.
The frequency of metadata requests from non-law enforcement agencies grew 9 per cent last year.
Below is the full list of agencies that applied for access to the data, except for four that were redacted in the FOI documents as their disclosure would be "contrary to the public interest".
1. Australian Financial Security Authority, Commonwealth
2. Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), Commonwealth
3. Australian Postal Corporation, Commonwealth
4. Australian Taxation Office, Commonwealth
5. Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre, Commonwealth
6. Civil Aviation, Safety Authority (CASA), Commonwealth
7. Clean Energy Regulator, Commonwealth
8. Department of Agriculture, Commonwealth
9. Department of Defence (ADFIS and IGD), Commonwealth
10. Department of the Environment, Commonwealth
11. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Commonwealth
12. Department of Health, Commonwealth
13. Department of Human Services, Commonwealth
14. Department of Social Services, Commonwealth
15. Fair Work Building and Construction, Commonwealth
16. National Measurement Institute, Commonwealth
17. ACT Revenue Office, ACT
18. Access Canberra (Department of Treasury and Economic Development), ACT
19. Bankstown City Council, NSW
20. Consumer Affairs, VIC
21. Consumer, Building and Occupational Services (Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading – Department of Justice), TAS
22. Consumer and Business Services, SA
23. Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, QLD
24. Department of Commerce, WA
25. Department of Corrective Services, WA
26. Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, QLD
27. Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport & Resources (Fisheries), VIC
28. Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, VIC
29. Department of Environment Regulation, WA
30. Department of Fisheries, WA
31. Department of Justice and Regulation (Consumer Affairs), VIC
32. Department of Justice and Regulation (Sheriff of Victoria), VIC
33. Department of Mines and Petroleum, WA
34. Department of Primary Industries (Fisheries), NSW
35. Environment Protection Authority, SA
36. Greyhound Racing Victoria, VIC
37. Harness Racing New South Wales, NSW
38. Health Care Complaints Commission, NSW
39. Legal Services Board, VIC
40. NSW Environment Protection Authority, NSW
41. NSW Fair Trading, NSW
42. Office of Environment & Heritage, NSW
43. Office of Fair Trading (Department of Justice And Attorney-General Office of the Director General), QLD
44. Office of State Revenue, NSW
45. Office of State Revenue, QLD
46. Office of the Racing Integrity Commissioner, VIC
47. Primary Industries and Regions South Australia (PIRSA), SA
48. Queensland Building and Construction Commission, QLD
49. Racing and Wagering Western Australia, WA
50. Racing NSW, NSW
51. Racing Queensland, QLD
52. Roads and Maritime Services NSW, NSW
53. Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), VIC
54. State Revenue Office, VIC
55. Taxi Services Commission, VIC
56. RevenueSA, SA
57. Victorian WorkSafe Authority, VIC