World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Proposed cybersecurity bill is too extreme - UN

Australia: UN human rights expert warns proposed cybersecurity bill is too extreme

GENEVA (18 October 2018) – The Australian Government should drop its “fatally flawed” proposed legislation that forces tech companies to help spy on citizens in various ways, including granting access to phones and other devices, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy said today.

Joseph Cannataci said that the Government’s Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill 2018 was “a poorly conceived national security measure equally as likely to endanger security as not”.

“It is difficult to see how the Australian Government can achieve its aims without weakening encryption and thereby Australia’s cybersecurity. The legislation established in Australia is important internationally due to the risk of malware introduced into one device, spreading laterally throughout IT environments – a risk that is growing with the convergence of cyber and electronics and of major concern to technical and cyber security communities.”

The Special Rapporteur said it was “technologically questionable” whether the legislation could achieve its aims and avoid introducing vulnerabilities to the cybersecurity of devices, whether mobiles, tablets, watches, or cars, for example.

“And it unduly undermines human rights,” he said. “It is out of step with international rulings, raising the related issue of how the Australian government would enforce this law on transnational technology companies.”

Cannataci also was concerned by the lack of independent judicial oversight of the use of these powers and questioned the case for the legislation, the haste with which the Bill has been introduced into the Parliament and the apparent failure to consider alternate means.

“Requiring companies to install any software, including modified operating systems, in any device is legislative overreach and is unlikely to meet the principles of reasonableness and proportionality,” he said.

A convincing case for the new powers is needed, given their extreme nature, the potential risk to cybersecurity extending beyond Australia and the secrecy and penalty regimes.

“As the European Court of Human Rights said recently, while it's important that States are able to carry out secret surveillance to counter terrorism and other threats, going too far can also represent a threat to the liberty of citizens. Surveillance regimes have the potential to be abused, with serious consequences for individuals and society,” the Special Rapporteur said.

The Special Rapporteur’s submission on the Assistance and Access Bill can be found here.


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


University of Auckland: Low-Lying Pacific Island Has More Land Above Sea Level Than In 1943

An inhabited island in the low-lying Pacific nation of the Marshall Islands, which are thought to be at risk of being inundated by rising sea levels, has actually increased in size since 1943, scientists say. And the increase in area above sea level is likely ... More>>

APEC : Leaders Issue Kuala Lumpur Declaration

The leaders of the 21 APEC member economies issued the Kuala Lumpur Declaration following the first-ever virtual 27th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting chaired by Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin. Convening for the first time since the ... More>>

OHCHR: UN Committee Issues Recommendations To Combat Racial Profiling

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination today published its guidance to combat racial profiling, emphasizing, among other issues, the serious risk of algorithmic bias when artificial intelligence (AI) is used in law enforcement. The ... More>>

G20: Global Co-Operation And Strong Policy Action Needed For A Sustainable Recovery

The COVID-19 crisis has exposed major weaknesses in our economies that can only be fixed through greater global co-operation and strong, targeted policy action, according to a new OECD report presented to the Leaders of the G20 countries at their ... More>>