Issue No 1: 24 January 2019
Communications Alliance - Assistance and Access Act 2018 (Encryption Bill) Forum
Wednesday 6 February 2019
Background:On 6 December 2018, the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendments (Assistance and Access) Act 2018 was passed in both Houses of Parliament after Labor had withdrawn a number of suggested amendments in return for Government’s promise to review the Act and consider the amendments in the New Year. The PJCIS is currently reviewing the legislation and is tasked to produce a report by 4 April 2019.
A collective of Industry Groups, including Communications Alliance, the Australian Industry Group(Ai Group), the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA), the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association, Digital Industry Group Inc (DIGI) and the Information Technology Professionals Association (ITPA) has recently made a submission to the PJCIS recommending a raft of changes, drawing on the expertise of its members and incorporating the most useful aspects of the Labor amendments.
This Forum will provide an overview over the recommended changes to the legislation followed by observations from an expert panel, Q & A and discussion.
SAVE THE DATE - Thursday 15 August 2019The annual Australian Communications Industry Awards - the ACOMMS - recognise excellence in the wider communications industry, rewarding and profiling companies that have excelled within the industry around the nation, regardless of size, location, and whether service providers, vendors, or suppliers of professional services.
Now in their thirteenth year, the nationally recognised and highly-coveted ACOMMS will be awarded in 2019 on the evening of 15 August 2019 at the stunning Hyatt Regency in Sydney.
2019 Key Dates
Launch: Monday 11 February
Nominations Close: Friday 10 May
Early Bird Registrations Close: Friday 31 May
Shortlist Announced: Thursday 4 July
ACOMM Awards Presentation Dinner: Thursday 15 August
Visit the 2018 ACOMMS photo gallery here and highlights video here. And see the 2018 winners here.
ACOMMS 2019 - Sponsorship OpportunitiesSponsoring the ACOMMS provides a unique opportunity for brand positioning. As a sponsor, you will have your organisation highlighted in front of a sell-out audience of more than 450 - including some of the most influential professionals and decision-makers in the Telco industry, Government and the regulatory sphere. Please contact Carolyn Todd on +61 3 9663 3093 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss sponsorship opportunities at the 2019 ACOMM Awards.
Changes Recommended to Repair Governments Encryption Legislation
Judicial oversight of new surveillance powers and clearly defined limits on agencies’ Notices top the list of a raft of changes recommended to the Government’s contested encryption legislation, in a new submission from Australia’s telecommunications, IT and internet industries.
The recommendations come in a submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS). The Committee is inquiring into the Government’s Assistance and Access Act 2018, which was pushed through the Senate in unusual circumstances on December 6 last year.
As part of a political ‘deal’ on that day, to have Labor withdraw its proposed amendments to the legislation, the Minister for Finance and Leader of the Government in the Senate, Senator Matthias Cormann, publicly committed the Government to “facilitate consideration of these amendments in the New Year in government business time”.
Organisations co-authoring the submission include Communications Alliance, the Australian Industry Group (Ai Group), the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA), the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA), the Information Technology Professionals Association (ITPA) and Digital Industry Group Inc. (DIGI).
The submission looks at necessary improvements to the Government amendments that were made to the legislation, supports the most useful aspects of the Labor amendments that were proposed and then withdrawn and examines some of the other outstanding problems with the legislation and offers potential solutions.
Communications Alliance CEO, John Stanton, said: ”This bill was rushed through Parliament in flawed condition and we look forward to the Government honouring its public commitment to have further amendments considered, in the interests of the cybersecurity of all Australians.”
Kishwar Rahman, AIIA General Manager of Policy, commented: “The proposed powers are unprecedented, their remit unnecessarily broad, and whilst the consequences of their use are completely unknown, what is known is that the legislation is likely to cause greater issues than it purports to solve.”
Ai Group Chief Executive, Innes Willox, said: “The extent of the impact of this legislation on industry and the broader community remains paradoxically poorly understood. It is urgent to minimise and clarify these impacts through sensible amendments and engagement with the wide range of affected industries.”
ITPA Director, Robert Hudson said: "The legislation shows a blatant disregard for and misunderstanding of how the Internet works, how online encryption operates and is used to secure millions of legitimate communications every day, and will almost certainly not prevent a single act of terrorism, child abuse or other serious crime that couldn't have been prevented otherwise.
“Instead, the privacy and security of law-abiding citizens is now almost certain to be compromised for commercial, criminal or other non-legitimate purposes as tools prove to be as useful as a chocolate teapot for the purpose they were developed for, and instead are released or leaked into the hands of those who would do us harm."
Transparency and Consumer Choice Focus for Consumer Safeguards Review
Australia should move to a simpler, more transparent framework of safeguards around the reliability of telecommunications services, ensuring secure access and customer choice in a competitive market, Communications Alliance has advised the Government’s Consumer Safeguards Review.
In a submission responding to the Review’s Part B consultation on the reliability of services, industry has proposed a clear set of principles from which to build a replacement for the complex, outdated and duplicative set of current rules.
As part of its reform proposals, industry recommends that Service Providers should:
The Communications Alliance submission supports the notion that consumers should have access to appropriate information gathered by regulators from service providers, but warned against the two overlapping industry regulators, - the ACCC and ACMA – each demanding similar information from service providers, in different formats and thereby driving up compliance costs.
Communications Alliance’s submission to Part B of the Consumer Safeguards Review can be found here.
Communications Alliance is pleased to welcome the following new member;
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