Thursday, 04 April 2019 08:05

Senate panel offers no recommendations on encryption law changes Featured

Senate panel offers no recommendations on encryption law changes Pixabay

The latest review into the Federal Government's encryption law, passed on 6 December last year, has made just three recommendations, none of which affect the actual text or definitions in the law, according to a 136-page report from the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security released on Thursday.

The PJCIS, which began the review soon after the bill became law, recommended that a relevant section of the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Act 2018 be amended to require a review by it, before June 2020, of any amendments to the law.

A second recommendation was that sufficient resources be provided to the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor, Dr James Renwick, who has been asked to review the law and report back by 1 March 2020.

The PJCIS referred the law to the INSLM on 27 March.

The third recommendation from the PJCIS was that sufficient funds be provided to both the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security and the Commonwealth Ombudsman so that they could handle the additional responsibilities they had been vested with under the law.

The government and the Labor Party struck a deal on 5 December last year to pass the bill the following day, the last sitting day of Parliament for the year.

About 50 pages of amendments were introduced on the morning of 6 December. There was no time to debate these changes, but despite this, Labor voted to pass the bill.

The government introduced an amended bill into Parliament on 13 February. It cleared the Senate but went no further.

Thursday is expected to be the last sitting day of Parliament with Prime Minister Scott Morrison expected to call an election either on Friday or over the weekend. The best indications are that the election will be held on 18 May.

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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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