Recent changes to the federal telecom laws will prevent the Civil Aviation Safety Authority from accessing mobile phone data in the future.
Amendments to the Telecommunications (Intercept and Access) Act mean that CASA will no longer be able to use data from private phone calls in enforcement action.
CASA made 11 applications for historical data in the 2014-15 period, which has enraged sections of the aviation community.
"The TIA Act permits enforcement agencies to authorise telecommunications carriers to disclose telecommunications data where that information was reasonably necessary for the enforcement of the criminal law, a law imposing a pecuniary penalty, or the protection of the public revenue," a CASA spokesperson had said in response to queries from Australian Flying.
"CASA makes applications during some investigations into whether a person has contravened a criminal offence provision in the aviation legislation."
The type of information CASA applied for was telephone account holder names and call records (information about telephone calls made, how long people talked to each other). CASA could not access the actual content of the phone calls.
However, CASA confirmed late today that under the changes to the TIA that came into effect earlier this year, they wouldn't have access to even those records any more.
The TIA amendments have limited the agencies that can apply for data to 14 criminal law enforcement agencies only, but there is provision for more to be added under ministerial declaration.