Now that the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Intelligence and Security Inquiry into potential reforms of National Security Legislation has published submissions to the Inquiry, I am free to publish my submission here (submissions may not be published elsewhere prior to being published by the Committee).
My submission is below.
RE: Inquiry into potential reforms of National Security Legislation
Dear Mr Secretary,
I write in regard to the current Inquiry into potential reforms of National Security Legislation. I am very concerned that some of the proposed reforms are over-reaching in their scope and intent. I am also concerned that the submissions process was incredibly brief for an inquiry with complex proposals and terms of reference, and which ranges across the important issues of national security, data privacy, data security, and human rights.
My perspective is that of an IT professional with more than 15 years’ experience in system and network administration (including server deployment and hardening), and provision of Internet connectivity and web hosting services.
Because of the short time available for review and analysis of the proposed reforms, I will confine my submission mainly to the proposed reform listed as item 15.c.
No time for complacency: Why it’s still important to make submissions to the Inquiry into potential reforms of National Security Legislation
It’s been reported that Attorney-General Nicola Roxon has back-pedalled on plans to push forward with far-reaching increases in powers for Australia’s Intelligence agencies (ASIO, ASIS, DSD) being reviewed by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security. What may not be clear is that the current Inquiry into potential reforms of National Security Legislation hasn’t been disbanded. Or deferred. Or delayed.
It’s important to remember that we still need to make submissions to the Inquiry to provide tangible feedback on this issue. One of the possible (intentional?) outcomes of this announcement is that people breathe a sigh of relief and don’t bother to put in submissions. When the proposals eventually get revived, the government of the day can point to the lack of submissions and say, “See, there’s no real opposition to these proposals…”
I’m not a conspiracy theorist by nature (the maxim “Never assume malice where incompetence will suffice” is a pretty good one), but it wouldn’t surprise me if the announcement has been made in full awareness of the likely effect of reducing people’s sense of urgency about putting in a submission.