I’m sorry if this is starting to sound repetitive, but there’s still a determined attack by our federal government on online security, and it’s important that we don’t let the fight drop off as we tire of it. Since I last wrote on the topic, the first public hearing has been held by the PJCIS. Of the eleven members of the committee, four were in attendance — two from each major party. A number of people presented to the committee — you can see the full transcript in the Hansard record here.
Since that day, another three days of hearings have been announced, for 16 November in Sydney, and 27 and 30 November in Canberra. If you can get along to one of these hearings (ITPA is hoping to attend at least one of them in an official capacity), it will show the PJCIS that this legislation is very much in the public eye, and not something that the government can slip through unnoticed.
In addition to more public hearing dates, the PJCIS continues to publish submissions — there are now 81 submissions listed on their website. The latest is from the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy — it’s particularly opposed to the proposed legislation:
“In my considered view, the Assistance and Access Bill is an example of a poorly conceived national security measure that is equally as likely to endanger security as not; it is technologically questionnable if it can achieve its aims and avoid introducing vulnerabilities to the cybersecurity of all devices irrespective of whether they are mobiles, tablets, watches, cars, etc., and it unduly undermines human rights including the right to privacy. It is out of step with international rulings raising the related issue of how the Australian Government would enforce this law on transnational technology companies.”
That rather nicely sums up our view of the proposed legislation as well. Hopefully the PJCIS is listening.