Internet Australia has been focussed on pushing back on the 'anti-encryption legislation' known as the Assistance & Access act, TOLA, or Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Act, since it was first unveiled in 2017, and passed into law in the final sitting of Parliament in December 2018.

The legislation is now being examined by the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor (INSLM), Dr James Renwick CSC SC, and Internet Australia is delighted that we have been invited to appear before the INSLM in Canberra to expand and explain our submission.

If you would like to attend the details are:

Date/Time: Thursday, 20 February 2020 - 11:45am – 12:15pm
Location: QT Canberra, Eureka Room, 1 London Circuit, Canberra ACT (doors will be open from 8:15am)
Livestreamed:https://eavs.com.au/inslmhearing/

A summary is below

Recommendation # 1: We recommend that serious Australian offence defined in s317B be redefined to reference the definition serious offence in s5D of the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979.

Recommendation # 2 : W e recommend that ‘persons (who) manufactures or supplies components’ (Items 8 and 11 ) be removed from the list of ‘designated communications providers’ in s317C, and that ‘manufacturing’ and ‘supplying’ be removed from all other Items where they appear (such as Item 7)

Recommendation # 3: That the definitions of ‘designated communications provider’ relating to facilities (S317C (7),(8),(9) ) be removed, as they cannot be restricted to a single person as required by the definitions of ‘target technology’ and s317ZG(4A) - (4C) , and in any case ‘facilities’ are already covered under the items relating to ‘carriage services’.

Recommendation # 4: That a new subparagraph be added to section 317ZF(3) explicitly allowing disclosure (in the case of a notice served on an employee) to the person’s employe r, or (in the case of a notice served on a contractor) to the contractor’s client.

Recommendation # 5: That subsection 317ZF(3)(e) be expanded to read ‘for the purposes of obtaining professional advice, including legal advice, in relation to this Part.’

Recommendation #6: That subsection 317ZF(3) be expan ded to provide that the costs of seeking legal or other professional advice be borne by, and recoverable from, the issuer of the notice or request.

Recommendation # 7: That the definitions of ‘systemic weakness’ and ‘systemic vulnerability’ be revised, following dedicated consultation with industry on suitable definitions.

Recommendation # 8: We recommend that the Department consider creating guidance docu ments regarding ‘systemic’ weaknesses and vulnerabilities, especially as compared to ordinary weaknesses and vulnerabilities, and engage with industry to jointly assist in describing guidance and process flowcharts to assist the agencies and industry to di stinguish when a systemic issue is likely to be created.

Recommendation # 9: We recommend that a TAN or a TCN should only be issued after a suitable judicial warrant has been obtained, providing evidence and assurance that the safeguards and limitations hav e been considered by an independent arbiter.

Recommendation # 10: We recommend that the most dangerous and contentious portions of this ACT, the compulsive Technical Capability Notice, be set aside and removed from legislation until further extensive consult ation, round - table meetings and constructive discussion can be had between agencies and the IT industry affected by these laws, seeking to jointly produce a balanced outcome where agencies are able to achieve their goals without harming the Australian tech and IT industry.

High speed and high-quality broadband services are essential for people and businesses in regional and remote areas. Their remoteness and long distances required to be travelled physically means increasingly more importance is placed on interacting virtually – whether for education or health consultations, keeping in contact with family and friends, shopping and logistics planning ordering goods and services to be delivered. Farmers and other primary producers make extensive uses of real-time satellite observations and weather forecasts, as well as accessing markets to buy and sell produce. The ability to stave off loneliness in remote areas by making frequent high-quality contact with loved-ones elsewhere can reduce the pressures of loneliness that leads to relatively high incidences of mental health concerns in regional and remote areas.

This week, Internet Australia was proud to join over 110 other organisations around the globe supporting an open letter encouraging Facebook to increase the end-to-end security across Facebook’s messaging services - this letter can be found at https://cdt.org/insight/open-letter-facebooks-end-to-end-encryption-plans.

Internet Australia is deeply concerned to note the Australian government’s request to Facebook to halt plans to introduce strong end-to-end encryption in its messaging systems, in an open letter signed by the Australian Minister for Home Affairs, Hon Peter Dutton, along with his counterparts from the USA and the UK .

It is ironic that this entreaty for Facebook to NOT improve the security and confidentiality of its online messaging platform is made in StaySmartOnline Week, on the same day the Government’s own cyber security centre revealed Australians are reporting cybercrimes every 10 minutes. These are just some of the very cyber crimes that encryption of messages is designed to thwart, by ensuring information is kept confidential from eavesdropping criminals seeking personal data that can be used to impersonate another trusted party.

Full Release Here

Internet Australia is disappointed to note the brief advisory report from the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) released yesterday evening, prior to Parliament considering passing a modified Assistance and Access Bill on the final sitting day of 2018. The Coalition and Opposition have agreed to rush the highly complex laws through Parliament this year, just a few short months into their bipartisan public review. 

“The only thing this Assistance and Access Bill compromise demonstrates is that bullying pays off” said Dr Paul Brooks, Chair of Internet Australia. “The extraordinary intervention by Minister Dutton and Prime Minister Morrison into the PJCIS timetable risks damaging the reputation of parliamentary process and public review, as many experts question the time, thought and expertise poured into providing independent expert testimony through the parliamentary committee process, only to have the advice largely dismissed or ignored.”

Full Release Here