Monday, 06 February 2017 22:08

Network protection laws 'may have opposite effect' Featured

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Laws that have been proposed by the Australian Government to guard communications networks and businesses from cyber attack and sabotage may have the opposite effect from that intended, a coalition of industry groups has warned.

The warning came jointly from the Australian Industry Group, the Australian Information Industry Association, the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association and Communications Alliance in a submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security.

These industry groups represent most of Australia's $100 billion ICT industry.

In its submission, the groups pointed to issues in the Telecommunication Sector Security Reform (TSSR) legislation, recently introduced to Federal Parliament.

Among these were vague drafting, regulatory overreach, the risk that telecommunications service providers could be forced by government to dismantle or retro-fit existing communications networks and the risk to hamper innovation and to competitively disadvantage businesses.

The groups praised the government for a number of useful amendments to earlier drafts of the legislation, after receiving advice from industry.

They also acknowledged that critical infrastructure, including telecommunications services and networks, was at risk from espionage, sabotage and foreign interference, and companies have a commercial motivation to harden and protect their networks.

The groups warned that onerous, one-way notification requirements would affect responsiveness of service providers to cyber threats and asked the government to consider more collaborative, effective approaches, as adopted or contemplated in the US, UK and Canada.

The proposed TSSR regime “may in fact divert scarce resources away from investing directly in addressing cyber security threats, to compliance overhead arising from the regime. It may reduce the ability for the ICT industry and its clients to proactively monitor and quickly respond to threats and breaches”, the submission stated.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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