Committee calls for closer collaboration for telcos and law enforcement agencies

Authorises data retention proposals

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security has authorised and published the Internet Industry Association (IIA) submission on potential reforms to national security legislation.

IIA said the submission was drafted to preserve the interests of Australia’s ongoing security against emerging and evolving threats.

The association mentioned that it is best served by working as closely, collaboratively and transparently with the telecommunications sector, law enforcement agencies and the Australian community.

As a result, it believes a base set of principles should be applied by the Committee in its assessment of the degree of effectiveness, to which proposed reforms will achieve desired national security outcomes.

“The assessment of these proposed reforms needs to be balanced to also ensure that any implications, including costs, which may be imposed on the telecommunications industry, are fair and reasonable and that the privacy and rights of individuals are protected to the extent that society rightly demands,” IIA CEO, Peter Lee, said.

Proposed reforms include:

  • Ensuring there is equity between the requirements of the Government, law enforcement agencies, Carriers and Carriage Service Providers (C/CSPs) and the privacy of individuals.
  • Not placing unreasonable expectations on the telecommunications industry to implement unnecessary or costly security, reporting and compliance regimes.
  • Providing clarity on specific data retention requirements [data sets] to fully understand the implications of such requirements, allocation of costs to comply and alignment with the National Privacy Principles under the Privacy Act 1988.
  • Not providing Government or law enforcement agencies with unregulated power that requires C/CSPs to provide network information or data without appropriate checks and balances.

IIA said the Government’s consideration of the reforms is a positive step in an ongoing review process.

“We would encourage the Government to continue working transparently with affected stakeholders once the Committee has completed the Inquiry to ensure that any recommendations from the Inquiry can be further assessed, before looking to implement any proposed legislative change,” Lee claimed.