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Wednesday, 30 January 2019 11:11

ASIO has concerns about encryption law – but it's a secret

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ASIO has concerns about encryption law – but it's a secret Pixabay

The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation apparently still has some concerns about the encryption law that was passed by Parliament on 6 December, despite there being no changes to the draft that was discussed by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Security and Intelligence.

But you and I will not be able to know what the great minds at the spy agency — which, by the way, has yet to catch a single spy — are thinking.

The contents of the ASIO submission are apparently meant only for the eyes of the committee. Secrecy hints at dark and deep secrets, of matters that are just too dastardly for the average man or woman to know.

Governments and law enforcement the world over control the people in their countries through fear and ASIO is certainly good at this.

ASIO appeared before the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security and made its case in open committee on 26 November, with other government agencies, all of whom were pushing for the bill to become law before Parliament rose for the year on 6 December.

asio confidential

At that time, Duncan Lewis, the head of ASIO, had to admit that there was no specific threat on the radar of his agency. All the wisdom he could offer was that Christmas is a time when the threat is generally high.

Asked why the country's threat level could not be raised, he again was forced to admit that to do that, ASIO would have to have knowledge of a specific threat.

The bill was passed on 6 December but just 12 days later, the PJCIS said it would begin a fresh review.

The new review has asked for submissions and will submit a report by 3 April.

On a totally unrelated note, Wikipedia tells me that Asio is a genus of typical owls, or true owls, in the family Strigidae. The genus Asio contains the eared owls, which are characterised by feather tufts on the head which give the appearance of "ears". The genus name Asio is the Latin name for a type of eared owl.

How is this related to what appears above? I leave it to you to figure out, dear reader.


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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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