Under the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill 2018, a draft of which was released this morning for public comment, a wide range of people are covered by this part of the proposed legislation.
The law appears to aim at discouraging whistleblowers by including public servants — employees of the Federal, State or Territory Governments — among those who could be sent to jail for disclosing information of this kind.
Some of the categories of people covered are:
- a designated communications provider;
- an employee of a designated communications provider;
- a contracted service provider of a designated communications provider;
- an employee of a contracted service provider of a designated communications provider; or
- an entrusted ASIO person; or an entrusted ASIS person; or
- an entrusted ASD person; or
- an officer of an interception agency; or
- an officer or employee of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory.
Another thing specified by the law is that hacking back — that is, infiltrating computers in other jurisdictions, if deemed necessary to obtain information for an investigation — can only be carried out with a judicial warrant.
A court can refuse to admit evidence from such sources if it is satisfied that it was not obtained by legal means.
The government has invited feedback on the draft bill which can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by 10 September.