Electronic Frontiers Australia https://www.efa.org.au Promoting and protecting digital rights in Australia since 1994. Thu, 14 Mar 2019 11:08:59 +0000 en-AU hourly 1 Digital Rights Policy in Australia needs you! Join the EFA Policy Team https://www.efa.org.au/2019/03/14/digital-rights-policy-in-australia-needs-you-join-the-efa-policy-team/ https://www.efa.org.au/2019/03/14/digital-rights-policy-in-australia-needs-you-join-the-efa-policy-team/#respond Wed, 13 Mar 2019 23:45:07 +0000 https://www.efa.org.au/?p=9587 Continue reading ]]> If you have been sitting on the fence lamenting the future of Australian digital rights policy and you want to act, we want you! Get involved in our policy team, flagging your interest is easy.

Email us at policy@efa.org.au by Sunday 17th of March. We need a bit of info about you which is covered below so we can structure the team. 

In addition to the expression of interest, we will be holding an “information session” about the Policy Committee via Zoom at 6:00pm AEST on 28th March 2019. We encourage anyone interested in the Policy Committee to attend the session via the following link: https://zoom.us/j/936569356

We need a mix of expertise, experience, background and availability. Knowing who wants to get involved and how they can help is critical to helping us get work done.  

So please, reach out, it's important. 

The formal spiel:

Can you spare some time and knowledge to help us shape the future of digital rights in Australia? Are you passionate about protecting civil liberties and free speech?

EFA is currently seeking members’ expressions of interest in joining the policy team. Or if you know someone that would be excellent, or could use the career building opportunity tap them on the shoulder and tell them about EFA and to join. 

EFA’s policy team develops EFA policy, informs recommendations to government, and helps with external communications.

At February’s meeting, the EFA Board resolved to reconstitute EFA’s Policy Committee for 2019. 2019 is going to be a big year for EFA: As an organisation we reach our 25 year milestone, and as a country we will go to the polls.

As an active contributor to the Policy Team you will help:

  1. Document the policy positions of EFA so that the policy team, the board, and other interested parties can understand the current and historic policy positions of EFA.
  2. Contribute to content, research, and editing of submissions on legislative changes and policy positions, ensuring that EFA meets submission deadlines.
  3. Share your policy, digital rights, and professional expertise with others to create informed discussion with the policy team, board, volunteers, and others.
  4. Contribute to creating timely blog, social media, and website content relevant to digital rights.
  5. Potentially provide public comment or contribute to meetings, round tables, or consultations on behalf of EFA.

Committee positions are voluntary and unpaid (Sorry! But it is absolutely a good cause with great people and lots to learn).

EFA’s board believes in the strength of having diverse views and participation, and strongly encourages applications from anyone with an interest in digital rights regardless of background. We are committed to provide a supportive environment for anyone with an interest in this area. Let us know what experience you have,  if you don't have much but are interested and committed we absolutely want to hear from you.

Has this piqued your interest? Email us at policy@efa.org.au by Sunday 17th of March with your brief (up to 200 words) expression of interest covering the following areas::

  1. What you believe you can bring to the team
  2. An estimate of how much time you can commit to policy team work
  3. What you would like to get out of being involved.
  4. The digital rights policy areas that mean the most to you, or that you have expertise and experience in.
  5. If you have experience in the following areas, a short description or indication of months/years of that experience:
    1. Writing policy
    2. Working collaboratively on content
    3. Writing material for government/stakeholders
    4. Writing content and blog posts
    5. Social media communications
    6. Writing legal material

If you have questions, please email policy@efa.org.au - we are happy to have a chat with you and answer your questions. 

More details of the Policy Team’s mandate can be found at https://www.efa.org.au/main/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Board-mandate-to-Policy-Team.pdf

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Media Release: EFA says there is no justification for rushing Assistance & Access Bill https://www.efa.org.au/2018/11/28/media-release-efa-says-there-is-no-justification-for-rushing-assistance-access-bill/ https://www.efa.org.au/2018/11/28/media-release-efa-says-there-is-no-justification-for-rushing-assistance-access-bill/#respond Wed, 28 Nov 2018 03:16:53 +0000 https://www.efa.org.au/?p=9520 Continue reading ]]> Civil society and the technology industry have serious concerns about the proposed Assistance and Access Bill and Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA) is extremely concerned that the Australian government is rushing the review of the proposed Assistance and Access Bill.

Despite comments made by the Minister for Home Affairs that the Bill needs to be passed quickly and before Christmas, ASIO was not made aware that Mr Dutton intended to hold a press conference on Thursday, 22 November 2018 nor could ASIO explain a justification for the alleged need for urgency in passing the Bill.

At the PJCIS Hearing on 19 October 2018, Angus Murray, Chair of Electronic Frontiers Australia’s Policy Team submitted that:

“It is incumbent on me, and you; in your capacity as members of this Committee, members of your electorates and individuals who call this great country home, to ensure that we are considering the future and the way that actions today may affect that future. In this context, our security is important; however, we must be constantly vigilant to ensure that security does not become a catch cry for the dissolution of basic human rights… the extremely short consultation period for submissions into this Bill and its rapid progression is comprehensively wrong.”

Power is not meant to be easy, in a democratic society it is meant to be measured against freedom and justice.  Rushing the consultation process, rushing the committee process, and rushing this Bill means that this balance cannot possibly be achieved.

This position is echoed in the UN Special Rapporteur to the Right to Privacy’s submission to the PJCIS and the importance of an informed discussion about the application and consequence of this Bill is paramount to proper democratic process.

Law enforcement can always benefit from more powers, making it easier to do their job.  However without oversight and proper consideration of the consequences, these powers can and likely will be misused. The Assistance and Access Bill lacks proper judicial oversight, reporting, and transparency mechanisms and seriously increases the government’s ability to secretly monitor Australians and it threatens our software industry’s ability to create secure products and sell them overseas.

Building secure software is incredibly difficult and the scope of the Bill has the real potential that vulnerabilities will be created in software (and hardware) which may be discovered and misused by others. It is not simply about balancing security and privacy — when privacy is compromised so is security. The Australian government should invest in world-class secure software, not more vulnerabilities.

The proceedings of the committee so far have not given any indication that this inquiry is complete, or should be cut short - on the contrary, the proceedings have revealed significant issues with the use of existing surveillance powers, that should be of deep concern to all Australians.

Australians ought to expect better from their government and EFA calls on Australians to demand proper democratic process.

We urge the Australian community to contact your local Federal Member of Parliament and request that they act with proper responsible representative process and call for the PJCIS to properly finalise its inquiry into the Assistance and Access Bill.

END

For media enquiries contact EFA Policy Chair Angus Murray on 0405 715 427 via policy [@] efa.org.au or media [@] efa.org.au

 

Footnotes:
1. Hansard Transcript of PJCIS Hearing on 26 November 2018 at Page 5; Available at URL: https://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/download/committees/commjnt/8c0ee09a-6e17-4c48-9f5c-34dc6508117b/toc_pdf/Parliamentary%20Joint%20Committee%20on%20Intelligence%20and%20Security_2018_11_26_6805.pdf.

2. Hansard Transcript of PJCIS Hearing on 19 Octoberr 2018 at Page 54; Available at URL: https://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/download/committees/commjnt/2a1771c8-f314-43f2-b9b0-cd09ad8123ae/toc_pdf/Parliamentary%20Joint%20Committee%20on%20Intelligence%20and%20Security_2018_10_19_6680.pdf;fileType=application/pdf.

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Voting links are on their way, AGM & financial reports are now online https://www.efa.org.au/2018/11/19/voting-links-are-on-their-way-agm-financial-reports-are-now-online/ https://www.efa.org.au/2018/11/19/voting-links-are-on-their-way-agm-financial-reports-are-now-online/#respond Mon, 19 Nov 2018 12:29:12 +0000 https://www.efa.org.au/?p=9501 Continue reading ]]> Voting links for board nominees at the 2018 AGM will be sent to eligible members on Tuesday 20 November.

The AGM and financial reports have been added to the 2018 AGM information page on the website. We ask members to take the time to read the reports when making the decision on who to vote for.

It has been an eventful year for EFA and for digital rights in Australia. We are incredibly proud of what we have achieved and we look forward to doing more next year.

Without the support of members none of this is possible and we sincerely thank you all.

Visit the 2018 AGM information page for the reports, candidate information, and information about the AGM. Please remember to vote, and if possible please join us for the 2018 AGM on Saturday 24 November 2018, via videoconference.

AGM Meeting Details

The Annual General Meeting of Electronic Frontiers Australia Inc. will be held on Saturday 24 November 2018, via videoconference, at:

  • 16:00 AEDT (NSW, ACT, VIC, TAS)
  • 15:30 ACDT (SA)
  • 15:00 AEST (QLD)
  • 14:30 ACST (NT)
  • 13:00 AWST (WA)

Zoom/Teleconference Information

The videoconference technology used will be Zoom, with meeting ID: 749 594 226

Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://zoom.us/j/749594226

Or iPhone one-tap :

Australia: +61280152088,,749594226# or +61871501149,,749594226#

Or Telephone:

Dial (for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):

Australia: +61 (0) 2 8015 2088 or +61 (0) 8 7150 1149

Meeting ID: 749 594 226

International numbers available: https://zoom.us/u/acsgeAwq92

For In Person Attendance

Members in Melbourne may also attend the meeting in person at the University of Melbourne, location information is to be confirmed. The board would appreciate if members wishing to attend in person could register their interest by emailing secretary[AT]efa.org.au to ensure sufficient space is available.

Voting at the AGM is open to all financial EFA members, regardless of their membership type, who joined prior to the close of nominations (23:59 AEDT on Saturday 26 October 2018).

If you are unsure of your membership status, please email secretary[AT]efa.org.au.

If you are unable to attend the AGM, you are able to appoint a proxy. Visit the 2018 AGM page for more.

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"Internet of Trust" - citizens and government explore the balance in Paris https://www.efa.org.au/2018/11/19/internet-of-trust-citizens-and-government-explore-the-balance-in-paris/ https://www.efa.org.au/2018/11/19/internet-of-trust-citizens-and-government-explore-the-balance-in-paris/#respond Mon, 19 Nov 2018 11:09:08 +0000 https://www.efa.org.au/?p=9494 Continue reading ]]> Recently, EFA was generously granted sponsorship for a board member to attend the 2018 Internet Governance Forum in Paris, between the 12th and 14th of November. Someone was going to draw the short straw to attend the forum, and that was Peter Tonoli. Peter's report is below:

This was the first global Internet Governance Forum (IGF) I have attended, and initially, I was unsure what to expect. I attended the last Australian Regional Internet Governance Forum (RIGF), and expected similar. As a member of a group working on reigniting an Australian RIGF, I hoped that this trip would inspire, and provide ideas for what could be
instituted for the Australian RIGF.

Was it the venue, The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), simply a convenient location, or was it more symbolic? That question was answered by the second session, where a member of the Russian Foreign Ministry was blaming the United States for not agreeing to Russia's proposed resolution to a code of conduct for state activity in cyberspace (I later found out that the Russians refuse to agree to the US proposed resolution for conduct for state activity in cyberspace). Later that night, I was told stories of how the Chinese would inhibit Taiwanese delegates from attending each IGF. While I wasn't expecting 3 days of singing Kumbaya, there was much more geo-political gesturing the I expected.

The Russians vs the US was just a taste of geo-political gesturing: the featured speaker at the IGF Opening Ceremony was Emmanuel Macron. Macron is an impressive and charismatic orator, however his words echoed many others trying to take control of the internet—a that rightfully should be resource for all of humanity. Macron's proposal for control involves more regulation for the internet, and removing 'hate speech' and 'fake
news'. While removing 'hate speech' and 'fake news' is an enviable intention, the question is who should be the arbiter for defining what hate speech is, what is fake news, and what is opinion? The French? The Americans? Macron continued that states need to "find legal
cooperation methods to lift anonymity and find electronic evidence where this exists", and that "Europe and the US need to work towards a legal cooperation agreement" - which leads to the question - what about other countries and states? Macron explained, in his
opinion, the internet could be heading in two polar directions, the Californian' model, and the 'Chinese' model - the former based on self-management, and with little governance, and the latter, where governments have strong control, and governments are the ones that
drive innovation. Macron’s speech was controversial, with several delegates believing he 'went off script', and others believing his speech was a message to the IGF, for the IGF to have measurable outcomes, instead of just being a talkfest.

(the full text of Macron’s speech can be found at
<https://basedoc.diplomatie.gouv.fr/FranceDiplomatie/PDF/baen2018-11-15.pdf>)

Instead of Macron’s proposal of regulating news outlets, to prevent fake news, I am a strong believer in enfranchising citizens to critically analyse what they read, whether it be on the internet, or published in the media. An example of enlightening civilians in fake news is the new UNESCO publication "Journalism, ‘Fake News’ and Disinformation" that was launched at the IGF. "Journalism, ‘Fake News’ and Disinformation" is exemplary of course-work book teaching journalists, political parties, health professionals, business people, scientists, election monitors, written by experts from around the world, exploring the very nature of journalism with modules on: why trust matters; thinking critically about how digital technology and social platforms are conduits of information disorder; fighting back against disinformation and misinformation through media and information literacy; fact-checking 101; social media verification and combating online abuse
<https://en.unesco.org/news/unesco-launches-journalism-fake-news-and-disinformation-handbook-internet-governance-forum>.

I attended several sessions on the IGF, and RIGF's throughout the three days. There were two sessions that were most memorable. The first session was the reporting of RIGF's from various states. The recurring themes that RIGF's suffered was scalability, finding wider audiences, and getting finances to run those IGFs, the latter resonating with my own experience in Australia. The second session was to answer the question of whether internet governance is now irrelevant, due to today’s internet essentially being a “content distribution network that is very similar to a television broadcast network where the transmission component is limited to the last mile access network”, rather than the peer-to-peer network we all envisaged 15 years ago.

This question was posed by Geoff Huston in his blog post “Has Internet Governance become Irrelevant?” at http://www.potaroo.net/ispcol/2018-11/igf.html. In case you’re
wondering, the self-evident answer is “only if we make it”.

The topic of this years IGF was titled “Internet of Trust”. Based on Emmanuel Macron speech, citizens will be expected to increasingly trust governments and the UN in regulating the internet. At the open-mic session at the closing ceremony, I emphasised the fact that governments need to garner the trust of their citizens. I gave examples, which indicate a significant number of problems on the internet are caused by governments. I suggested, to engender trust, governments should stop, or at least reduce their dragnet surveillance of civilians on the internet; additionally, governments and the UN can not simply wrest control of the internet, we must persevere with multi-stakeholder opportunities, such as the IGF, and civil-society involvement, in the future of internet governance.

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EFA Celebrates Renewed Enthusiasm From Members https://www.efa.org.au/2018/11/04/efa-celebrates-renewed-enthusiasm-from-members/ https://www.efa.org.au/2018/11/04/efa-celebrates-renewed-enthusiasm-from-members/#respond Sun, 04 Nov 2018 10:26:59 +0000 https://www.efa.org.au/?p=9466 Continue reading ]]> Electronic Frontiers Australia is celebrating a renewed enthusiasm from members one year after a board refresh.

“EFA members were instrumental in highlighting the flaws of MyHealthRecord, and challenging the overreach of legislation such as the Access and Assistance Bill,” said EFA chair Lyndsey Jackson. “EFA has worked closely with other like-minded organisations over the past year—including Future Wise, Digital Rights Watch, and the Australian Privacy Foundation—to highlight the constant assault on Australians’ digital rights by state and federal governments, and our members have responded enthusiastically.”

Renewed interest from members has resulted in a strong set of candidates looking to join the EFA board to continue the work started by the outgoing board.

“It’s particularly gratifying to see so many women nominating for the board,” said Jackson. “A diverse board reflects our diverse membership, and highlights that digital rights are everyone’s rights.”

EFA has seen a renewed interest in civil and digital rights from the wider community, and that interest is now translating into participation in EFA. “It’s been a challenging year, sorting out the issues inherited from previous administrations,” said Jackson. With those issues now largely behind her, Jackson was up-beat about the prospects for EFA in the coming years.

“We’ve now rebuilt EFA on solid foundations that the incoming board can build upon,” said Jackson. “Free from these distractions, EFA can now focus more of its energy on the fight to preserve our precious digital rights and civil liberties.”

“It’s amazing what we’ve been able to achieve this year, even with these distractions. It bodes well for the years ahead,” she said.

Members will be sent a link to vote one week before the AGM which will be held on 24 November 2018. For more information about the AGM and to see the candidate list visit our 2018 AGM information page.

Media Contact

media@efa.org.au

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Board nominations due Saturday! 2018 was a year of change. In 2019 we need doers! https://www.efa.org.au/2018/10/24/board-nominations-due-saturday-2018-was-a-year-of-change-in-2019-we-need-doers/ https://www.efa.org.au/2018/10/24/board-nominations-due-saturday-2018-was-a-year-of-change-in-2019-we-need-doers/#respond Wed, 24 Oct 2018 00:29:07 +0000 https://www.efa.org.au/?p=9436 Continue reading ]]> In October last year, when I nominated to join the board of Electronic Frontiers Australia, I didn't know a lot about the organisation, but I learned quickly how important EFA  is to digital rights in Australia, and as an ally to other civil society organisations. EFA started 24 years ago, it’s a significant legacy, and this year the board have remained committed to keeping the lights on, while we keep fighting for digital rights in Australia.

It is very easy for small organisations to become overwhelmed by the amount of work involved. And with questions asked about the financial state of the organisation before the last AGM it was always likely that there would be challenges.

The extent of those challenges have been larger than anticipated. The board learned income tax debts from previous years hadn’t been paid, and late this year we found that superannuation debts to a former employee are still outstanding from years earlier than had been recorded in the accounting system. The outstanding debts were not made fully known to the board or recorded accurately in the accounting system, and they were not accurately disclosed in last year’s AGM financials. Frankly this is inexcusable.

An independent audit is currently being done and we anticipate the report being released before the AGM.

I cannot express how serious it is for board members and officers to ensure accurate record keeping; and it’s a requirement under the South Australian Corporations Act.

The thought of winding up EFA had crossed the minds of board members several times throughout the year. It is is a testament to the board we have, the governance we put in place, and the support of members and organisations that EFA is viable today.

We have a board election coming up. I need you to help me make sure the future of EFA keeps improving.

This is what we need:

  1. Doers. People who will roll their sleeves up, attend meetings (we meet fortnightly), take on tasks and get them done.
  2. People with experience - governance, finance, business, law, communications, volunteer management, membership management
  3. People that will own a role and do it - in the next year we need better membership engagement and to make better use of the volunteers who want to help
  4. People that care

We also believe that diversity is critical; that critical diversity is a combination of gender, background and experience.

The board’s job is to manage the organisation to keep it functioning, and continuing its mission of promoting and protecting digital rights. If you fit these requirements we need you to nominate. If you know someone who would fit the bill, tell them and ask them to nominate.

As members please vote for people that you believe give the organisation the best chance of ongoing success.

We have achieved so much this year, you will see proof of  that in our AGM reports. For an organisation that financially could have easily folded, members should be very proud. I am.

If you are sitting on the fence feel free to reach out to me on twitter or email chair [@] efa.org.au for a chat - I'm very supportive of women, diversity and inclusion. If you have something to offer but you need a confidence boost before putting your hand up I am an excellent person to have an honest chat with. I can also tell you about other opportunities such as our policy team and ideas for volunteers, campaigns and communications next year.

We are all looking forward to 2019.

Lyndsey Jackson
EFA Chair

Nominations is easy. Become a member or renew or make sure your membership is up to date by 11:59pm Saturday, 27 October, 2018 (this Saturday). And then tell us about you.

Nominees are requested to provide the following, for inclusion in the Notice of Meeting:

  1. a brief bio, indicative length the same as the current Directors' bios (250-400 words)
  2. a brief statement of your intentions as a Member of the board of the EFA (indicative length 100-200 words)

Please submit all nominations to secretary [@] efa.org.au

Please do not nominate someone without their knowledge or consent.

If you have any questions, inquiries or want to check your membership status, please address them to:

secretary [@] efa.org.au

Lachlan Simpson
Secretary, Electronic Frontiers Australia

 

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Call for Nominations for the EFA Board - the AGM is coming up! https://www.efa.org.au/2018/10/13/call-for-nominations-for-the-efa-board-the-agm-is-coming-up/ https://www.efa.org.au/2018/10/13/call-for-nominations-for-the-efa-board-the-agm-is-coming-up/#respond Sat, 13 Oct 2018 06:27:26 +0000 https://www.efa.org.au/?p=9429 Continue reading ]]> It's been a big year for EFA and a big year for digital rights. On behalf of the board we thank you for your support this year. We are really looking forward to sharing our progress in 2018 and to start planning for the year ahead.

Nominations to serve as Board members of the EFA are open and are due on Saturday, 27 October, 2018

The Annual General Meeting is to be held on Saturday, 24 November 2018. Details of the format will be forthcoming.

The Constitution dictates that at least five (5) positions are up for election each year. There is a vacancy, and the positions currently filled by Justin Warren (co-opted to vacancy), Richard Burleigh , Alex Schlotzer (not re-contesting), and Stuart Greig (not re-contesting) are open for election.

All currently serving board member are all eligible to nominate again, should they choose to do so.

All Members are now invited to consider standing for the Board, self-nomination is permitted.

Nominees are requested to provide the following, for inclusion in the Notice of Meeting:

  1. a brief bio, indicative length the same as the current Directors' bios (250-400 words)
  2. a brief statement of your intentions as a Member of the board of the EFA (indicative length 100-200 words)

Please submit all nominations to secretary@efa.org.au

Please do not nominate someone without their knowledge or consent.

If you have any questions or inquiries, please address them to:
secretary@efa.org.au
Lachlan Simpson
Secretary, Electronic Frontiers Australia

Current Board Members are listed at: https://www.efa.org.au/about/#board
Minutes from Board meetings are at: https://www.efa.org.au/about/board-meetings/
The Rules of Incorporation are at: https://www.efa.org.au/about/rules-of-incorporation/
EFA Board Code of Conduct

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Joint Submission Assistance and Access Bill 2018 https://www.efa.org.au/2018/10/07/joint-submission-assistance-and-access-bill-2018/ https://www.efa.org.au/2018/10/07/joint-submission-assistance-and-access-bill-2018/#respond Sun, 07 Oct 2018 03:16:12 +0000 https://www.efa.org.au/?p=9401 Continue reading ]]> Electronic Frontiers Australia collaborated with Digital Rights Watch, Australian Privacy Foundation, Future Wise, The Queensland Council for Civil Liberties, The New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties, Access Now and Blueprint for Free Speech to produce a joint submission. With a month to respond this effort allowed us all to work to our strengths and produce a comprehensive report in a short amount of time.

Collaboration across organisations is critical, we are all resource poor, and we are all working on causes we believe in. The outcome is an excellent and thorough report that hits home the critical deficiencies of this legislation.

Make sure you take the time to give it a read: Submission-Assistance-and-Access-Bill-2018_collaborative_submission

The report contains 35 recommendations, and importantly we recommend that members of the Australian Parliament reject the Bill wholesale.

From the report:

"This Bill creates extremely broad powers with almost no oversight without any substantive justification. The possibility that such powers might be needed in future is not a proper basis for the making of laws. Among other things, the Bill effectively enacts  nsecurity by design, which will almost certainly create additional obstacles and exclusions for Australian companies seeking to operate in EU markets.

We recommend that members of the Australian Parliament reject the Bill wholesale, as this is the most appropriate response to the exposure draft in the opinion of the authors of this submission."

"We have numerous serious concerns with this Bill, in particular that it:

  1. Introduces a seemingly scopeless definition of “designated communication providers”;
  2. Increases the obligations on communication providers to assist with law enforcement agencies;
  3. Introduces covert computer access warrants enabling law enforcement to search
    computers and electronic devices without an individual’s knowledge; and
  4. Increases the powers of law enforcement to use and apply the currently available search and seizure warrants."

Read the full submission:  Submission-Assistance-and-Access-Bill-2018_collaborative_submission

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The Proposed Home Affairs Assistance and Access Bill Affects the Australian Economy https://www.efa.org.au/2018/09/07/the-proposed-home-affairs-assistance-and-access-bill-affects-the-australian-economy/ https://www.efa.org.au/2018/09/07/the-proposed-home-affairs-assistance-and-access-bill-affects-the-australian-economy/#comments Fri, 07 Sep 2018 00:15:37 +0000 https://www.efa.org.au/?p=9368 Continue reading ]]> 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 assistancebill.consultation@homeaffairs.gov.au 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 - Foreign.minister@dfat.gov.au

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment

Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham - minister.trade@dfat.gov.au

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) karen.andrews.mp@aph.gov.au

If you have views with a regional perspective then tell:

Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development

Hon Michael McCormack MP - michael.mccormack.mp@aph.gov.au

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 - kelly.odwyer.mp@aph.gov.au

Minister for Small and Family Business, Skills and Vocational Education

Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash - Senator.Cash@aph.gov.au

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 memberadmin@efa.org.au after you have sent your own submission to assistancebill.consultation@homeaffairs.gov.au

 

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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Home Affairs Wants to Know - What Do You Think of its ASS Access? https://www.efa.org.au/2018/09/05/home-affairs-wants-to-know-what-do-you-think-of-its-ass-access/ https://www.efa.org.au/2018/09/05/home-affairs-wants-to-know-what-do-you-think-of-its-ass-access/#comments Wed, 05 Sep 2018 02:50:10 +0000 https://www.efa.org.au/?p=9352 Continue reading ]]> If you have one task you can prioritise over the weekend can EFA suggests this: submit any comments on the The Assistance and Access Bill 2018 to assistancebill.consultation@homeaffairs.gov.au

Emails need to be in by Monday 10 September 2018. There is no format or minimum response, and the more direct submissions they receive the better the chances they will listen (you’d hope).

We've been asking for two years to see the legislation, and having only four weeks to respond is frustrating. The legislation runs over 200 pages, it’s broad, and it’s complicated.

By all accounts the Government has spoken to big tech companies before making this legislation public. We all know that the big companies will be fine, especially the multinational tech companies with massive budgets and great lawyers who will only do what they need to do. What about the rest us? There has been no consultation despite years of asking. It’s hard not to feel cynical about the Government’s intent.  

This legislation will shape the landscape of technology development in Australia and the effects will be felt for decades to come. We need encryption if we are going to safely store, share, and provide services for private data. These laws will weaken security for all Australians by undermining the very technologies we use to keep us safe. These laws will affect how Australia is viewed internationally, and we have already seen people sharing online warnings for those travelling to Australia for business.

The Federal Government has consistently shown 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 gets digital so wrong.

The proposed laws greatly expand the powers of law enforcement and other agencies to gain access to the private data of Australians, undermining the digital security they depend on to do their banking, buy things online, and to communicate with their friends. While the government attempts to characterise these new powers as not providing a ‘backdoor’ that is precisely what they do.

EFA is greatly concerned by the wide powers granted by these laws, and the lack of independent oversight of their use. These laws represent yet another major reduction in Australians’ digital rights using scaremongering about terrorism and crime to justify more power in the hands of unaccountable government agencies.

EFA previously joined with AccessNow and 76 other organisations in urging Parliament not to undermine encryption but clearly more is needed. EFA calls on all Australians to tell the government that digital rights are human rights and they must be protected.

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

For more information about the bill, go to https://efa.org.au/blog-on-assistance-and-access-bill

To show your support for a secure Australia, sign the petition at https://secureaustralia.org.au/

Further Reading: Australian human rights lawyer Lizzie O’Shea made the New York Times Opinion section with Australia Wants to Take Government Surveillance to the Next Level

From Digital Rights Watch: Defend Encryption in Australia

From Access Now: What (we think) you should know about Australia’s new encryption bill

Great blog post: Assistance and Access Bill 2018 Analysis

From EFF: Trust Us, We’re Secretly Working for a Foreign Government: How Australia’s Proposed Surveillance Laws Will Break The Trust Tech Depends On

Don't miss the Juice Media's Honest Government Ad and the inspiration for Ass Access commissioned with support from Digital Rights Watch

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