The Australian Government doesn’t own the Internet, but increasingly it seems to want to. Many of our members own and work in Internet businesses, and they’ve been telling us, loudly and clearly, that they follow the laws of Australia, they don’t place themselves above the law, and they are not a safe haven for bad actors.

And they’re worried that the Assistance and Access Bill will damage their businesses.

These are Australian businesses that don’t sell, scan or phish their customer’s data. Yet the Access and Assistance Bill opens the door for government to ask them to spy on their customers and to compromise their security.

Your security.

People don’t like Google or Facebook trawling their data, and they don’t like the ability for the Australian Government to do the same. Customers here and overseas will simply stop trusting Australian businesses if they believe that the government  is hiding inside their products and services, spying on all and sundry.

Unfortunately, Australia is already seen as having a Government that it is not open to scrutiny or external oversight, and that it will push forward with technology choices that are flawed, unjust and hurt people. My Health Record, Centrelink’s Robo-debt, the Senate inquiry into digital delivery, and CensusFail are all evidence of a Government that just doesn’t understand computers. Now, thanks to this Bill, these failings are going to further damage the economy - unless you help us by speaking up.

While you are writing your submission to email to the Department by Monday 10 September to [email protected] also consider sending it to other Ministers as well.

The Access and Assistance Bill may start in the Department of Home Affairs, but it spreads to other portfolios, too. Technology, privacy, the economy and the Internet is not confined to a single Department.

If you think this legislation will also affect Australian enterprises and their ability to trade internationally then these Ministers will care about your views too, so email or cc in:

Minister for Foreign Affairs

Senator the Hon Marise Payne - [email protected]

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment

Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham - [email protected]

If you think this legislation will affect Australia's position as a nation of industry, innovation and science tell the:

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology

Hon Karen Andrews MP (website with new portfolio not updated) [email protected]

If you have views with a regional perspective then tell:

Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development

Hon Michael McCormack MP - [email protected]

And if you think that compromising the success of Australian businesses in a competitive Internet and digital market will affect jobs and businesses now and in the future, then the Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations and the Minister for Small and Family Business, Skills and Vocational Education will both care about your views

Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations

Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP - [email protected]

Minister for Small and Family Business, Skills and Vocational Education

Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash - [email protected]

For advice on how to make a submission, go to https://www.efa.org.au/get-involved/making-a-submission

If you would like to share your submission with us we’d love to read it please email [email protected] after you have sent your own submission to [email protected]

 

More reading:

EFA board member Peter Tonoli has just published a blog post with a great links on background content - let's just paste them here shall we?

The devil is in the detail of government bill to enable access to communications data

Anti-encryption bill is ‘overreach’

A Critical Analysis of the Proposed Assistance & Access Bill 2018—an Australian Initiative to Legitimize Decryption

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