Tech giants are holding up police data requests and letting pedophiles get away with their crimes, Peter Dutton has implied.
The Home Affairs minister is confident Australia can "placate" the concerns of American politicians and get better access to data in a new agreement it is seeking with the United States government.
"If we have got a request, say in a child protection matter, where an agency here in Australia wants information from a company in the United States - say Facebook or Apple or Google, for example - we want to gain access to that information through all of the lawful means, warrant access," he told reporters in Canberra on Friday.
But it was important that also happened in a timely fashion, he said.
"Where the requests at the moment are being made and the agencies are waiting 12 months or so for receipt of that information, well there may be another child who suffers at the hands of that pedophile that they're investigating," he said.
"It might mean that the lead runs nowhere. It just hampers the investigation."
Australia is seeking a similar deal to the one Britain has just struck with the US to access data held by tech companies.
However, the chairman of the US House of Representatives judiciary committee has told Mr Dutton he has concerns about Australia's laws on breaking or accessing encryption, which passed parliament in a rush late in 2018.
"I think we can placate most of those concerns as I'm aware of them," Mr Dutton said.
"We will have a look at those concerns but the Americans, the Brits and others are having a look at our legislation at the moment because they believe it is a significant step forward and they may well replicate it themselves in some form."
Facebook's transparency report shows Australian authorities made 937 requests for user data between July and December 2018, but only 38 of these were deemed emergency cases.
The social media company provided data in seven out of 10 of the requests.
"Each and every request we receive is carefully reviewed for legal sufficiency and we may reject or require greater specificity on requests that appear overly broad or vague," it says in the transparency report.
It's understood this level of request for data by Australian authorities is relatively low.
Australian Associated Press