Friday, 19 July 2019 11:16

AIIA urges govt to make changes in encryption law Featured

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Ron Gauci: “Australian-based products and services captured by the Act are at risk of being perceived as less secure than those in other jurisdictions." Ron Gauci: “Australian-based products and services captured by the Act are at risk of being perceived as less secure than those in other jurisdictions." Supplied

The Federal Government's encryption law in its current form will have a negative impact on the country's ICT industry and block practitioners from innovating and exporting the products of their innovation, the Australian Information Industry Association claims.

In a statement, AIIA chief executive Ron Gauci said, in a submission to an ongoing inquiry into the legislation, that amendments that had been proposed, but not included, should be subject to comprehensive scrutiny and consultation with industry, privacy and security experts.

A review of the encryption law was begun by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security as soon as it was passed, on 6 December 2018, with a reporting date of 3 April. It was expected to provide some solace to the technology industry.

But the PJCIS kicked the issue down the road, asking the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor, Dr James Renwick, to review the law and report back by 1 March 2020. The PJCIS will then submit a report to Parliament by 13 April 2020.

The AIIA statement said the limited consultation on the draft bill in 2018 and the amendments to the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act 2019 had done little to ease industry concerns about the effects of the law.

"The concerns that have been repeatedly expressed by the AIIA in this context are not isolated; there is broad consensus across the ICT industry on the potential adverse effects this legislation could have for Australian business and economic interests," said Gauci.

“Australian-based products and services captured by the Act are at risk of being perceived as less secure than those in other jurisdictions."

He said that the AIIA was a strong supporter of efforts to fight against the use of encryption to conceal the activities of criminals.

“It’s worth noting that according to the 2018 survey conducted by the Alliance for a Safe and Secure Internet, 84.8% of Australians polled say it is important, or very important, that anything the government does to combat crime should not create weaknesses in Australia’s online security systems and make it easier for criminals and terrorists to cause further harm to everyday Australians," Gauci added.

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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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