Monday, 20 May 2019 19:29

AIIA urges govt to pass encryption law amendments in first 100 days Featured

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AIIA urges govt to pass encryption law amendments in first 100 days Pixabay

The head of the Australian Information Industry Association, Ron Gauci, has sought an assurance from the re-elected Coalition Government that amendments to the encryption law, which was passed in December, will be adopted within its first 100 days of operation.

Congratulating Prime Minister Scott Morrison on the election result, Gauci said: “We are looking for a commitment that changes to the ​ Assistance and Access Act, ​ proposed by Labor in February, be passed through parliament in the first 100 days of the new government.

“It is time to execute these amendments so that industry and users of encrypted services have certainty over these new laws. The AIIA has made significant ​ contributions and recommendations​ with respect to these amendments - but has yet to see the recommendations considered or adopted leaving industry unclear on the operational requirements.”

A review instituted by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, as soon as the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill 2018 was passed on 6 December last year, with a reporting date of 3 April, was expected to provide some solace to the technology industry.

But the PJCIS kicked the issue down the road, asking the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor, Dr James Renwick, to review the law and report back by 1 March 2020.

Labor Shadow Minister for the Digital Economy Ed Husic had told iTWire before the election that, if elected, it would speedily incorporate the 170-odd amendments that were drafted, but not included in the law.

Presumably, once the Coalition Government gets back to work, the matter of amendments will again come under the Home Affairs ministry as it was before the election.

Gauci said AIIA members were also concerned about the lack of consultation and the reach of the Sharing of Abhorrent Violent Material Bill passed in April. “We look forward to greater two-way dialogue ​ between government and industry to address the concerns that have been raised by our members about these pieces of legislation,” he said.

The AIIA said it was acknowledged that there was a significant shortfall of available digital skills and expertise in the Australian workforce.

“The industry looks forward to contributing to the skills programs announced by the Coalition Government. [A total of] $41.7 million will be provided for two pilot Skills Organisations, in the areas of digital technologies, cyber security, and human services care," Gauci said.

"AIIA members are delighted that the government also intends to establish the National Skills Commission to oversee the $2.8 billion annual investment in Vocational Education and Training.

“Some of our members have successfully led and are rolling out alternative pathways to developing digital skills in school children. These programs have seen collaboration between government departments, Universities, research institutes and industry. Our members would be delighted to share their success stories and learnings from these programs with the new government to further provide the crucial evidence of the success of these initiatives."

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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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