On 20 Februrary the President and myself attended at invitation, the INSLM public hearing into the TOLA (Assistance & Access) Bill 2018. The purpose of the two day hearing was to gather further comments from those who had already made submissions to the inquiry being conducted by Dr James Renwick CSC SC. Our submission was made jointly in alliance with other industry members, including Communications Alliance and AI Group.

Prior to our attendance, we put the word out to you, our members, for real life examples of how the TOLA Bill in its current form has impacted you and or your organisation since its introduction. This was also to help provide feedback on quantifiable costs which could be used to measure the finacial impact to date with implementing TAR, TAN or TCNs.

While we did receive some valued feedback from some of our members which we presented at the hearing, none of it to date has really had a dollar figure attached to it. This is possibly due to only a handful of TAR (Technical Assistance Requests) having been issued since the Bill first came into place, however we are keen to understand if this remains the case or not – and for this we need your input.

Dr Renwick spoke at the Lowy Institute about his review, which I attended on behalf of ITPA. The full audio recording of the talk as well as the Q&A which followed it, can be found here and also a copy of the talk given. In summary, it covers his initiall thoughts now that he has concluded his public hearing and prepares his report.

With the INSLM having conducted their public hearing, at the request of the PJCIS, the PJCIS will now hold their own parliamentary hearing and have requested our attendance at Parliament on 27 March as witness to again provide feedback and field questions from the PJCIS for their review. The PJCIS review is to build on the separate review already undertaken by INSLM.

I will again travel to Canberra to provide representation on our behalf on this important matter.

In light of all that is happening with TOLA, DoHA last week also tabled in the lower house, a proposed amendment to the Telecommunications (Interception & Access) Act 1979. The newly proposed Bill called 'The Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (International Production Orders) Bill’ is intended to amend the TIA Act to allow other countries access to data hosted in Australia. This is to bring us in alignment with the CLOUD (Clarifying Overseas Use of Data) Act introduced by the US Congress in June 2018.

We will follow the development of this Bill closely, and like the TOLA Act, will voice our concerns along with the rest of the Industry as changes come into debate.


Paul McInerney