Thursday, 05 March 2020 12:26

Govt departments unlikely to meet deadline for data move Featured

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Govt departments unlikely to meet deadline for data move Pixabay

A number of Federal Government departments are unlikely to meet a September deadline set by the Department of Home Affairs to migrate their data from a company that is now totally Chinese owned to a new data centre.

The Australian Financial Review reported that Home Affairs, Foreign Affairs and Trade, Defence, the Australian Taxation Office and the Australian Securities and Investment Commission were told to relocate their data from data centres owned by a firm known as Global Switch.

New rules about data sovereignty were issued by the government in April last year, saying in part: "This includes a requirement that data centre facilities that host high-value government data achieve certification as 'sovereign' or 'assured' data centres."

CDC Data Centres, a company that meets the requirements for hosting Australian data, is already considered to be playing host to too much of sensitive government information. CDC is owned by the Future Fund, the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation and New Zealand’s Infratil.

A new issue faced by entities looking for alternative hosting is a decision by the Australian Signals Directorate this week to wash its hand of the task of certifying cloud providers. Such providers will now have to bid for government hosting contracts on their own and satisfy the requirements laid down by the government agency in question.

The parent company of Global Switch, Aldersgate Investments, owns two data centres in Ultimo where it stores classified Australian government material, including sensitive Defence and intelligence files. Both these data centres have secure gateways certified by the ASD and can be used for secure access by government offices.

The issues with Global Switch go back to 2016 when Aldersgate sold a 49% stake to the Chinese firm, Elegant Jubilee.

Investors in Aldersgate are said to have been brought together by Li Qiang who owns Daily Tech, a leading data centre company in China. The main investor was the Jiangsu Sha Steel Group, China's largest private steel enterprise. Elegant Jubilee gained full ownership of Global Switch in August last year.

iTWire has contacted Home Affairs for comment.


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Sam Varghese

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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