The proposal is one of a raft of ideas in a discussion paper issued to kick off a parliamentary enquiry into proposed changes to the telecommunications interception regime, telecommunications sector security and government intelligence agency legislation. The enquiry is being undertaken by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security.
Among other things "The Committee will consult on measures to address security risks posed to the telecommunications sector, and whether the Government needs to institute obligations on the Australian telecommunications industry to protect their networks from unauthorised interference."
According to the enquiry's terms of reference, the Government is seeking the committees' views on amending the Telecommunications Act to address security and resilience risks posed to the telecommunications sector.
This would be achieved by instituting obligations on the telecommunications industry to protect their networks from unauthorised interference and to provide Government with information on significant business and procurement decisions and network designs
The Government would also be given power to direct telcos to mitigate and remediate security risks, with the telcos bearing the cost of doing so. There would be enforcement powers and pecuniary penalties for failure to comply with any new legislation.
The Government view, as set out in the discussion paper, is that the industry is not fully cognisant of the security risks, and that action is needed urgently.
You can read more stories on telecommunications in our newsletter ExchangeDaily, click here to sign up for a free trial...