Sunday, 13 August 2017

Australian Airlines charge police for information

I came across this story this morning and I thought it was very interesting.

Passenger information could be worth $500,000 a year

  • Qantas charges police $50 every time they request any passenger information
  • With 10,000 requests annually, this could earn Qantas up to $500,000 per year
  • Police source says it's a 'matter of principle' to want to help law enforcement
  • Fears that it could become the norm for businesses to askto be paid by police

It has been revealed Qantas and Jetstar quietly started charging law-enforcement agencies every time they request formation about passengers during the course of police investigations.
Four months ago Qantas has been selling the information at $50 a pop which, based on an estimated 10,000 requests per year, would earn the airline $500,000 over a twelve-month period.
Investigators have slammed the fee as 'penny-pinching' and '­onerous', but according to Qantas, the money goes towards paying staff to respond to the requests. 
'These checks can involve a substantial amount of work searching old passenger records and databases,' a Qantas spokesperson told The Australian.
'Inquiries that could relate to public safety are processed at no cost and usually on the spot.'
Senior police have also slammed the fee, saying that it is 'neither community minded nor compatible with being a good corporate ­citizen'.
A source within the police said that it was not the money that was the issue, but the principle.
The source warned that it could become the norm for businesses to charge the police if they needed assistance during an investigation. 
It is alleged that police are now requesting less information, because of the 'red tape' involved, meaning that potentially crucial information does not make it into police hands. 
Virgin Australia also charge a fee, but provide less information and only charge $30 each time.
Phone companies like Telstra and Optus also charge agencies to provide phone records, as do banks and utility companies.
This is the first time it has been reported that an airline have been charging such a fee.
Qantas does not charge the fee if the information is obtained under a warrant, however it costs the law enforcement agency significantly more than $50 to produce a warrant. 
Virgin Australia's policy is to waive the fee if the request relates to 'an emergency regarding the welfare of a child, imminent risk to aviation security or imminent risk to the safety of a person'.
Virgin also does not charge if the information 'pertains to or is initiated by' the airline.
The Daily Mail has reached out to the Australia Federal Police for comment.

Story sourced from here.
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