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Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

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Access to and retention of internet 'metadata'

On 5 August 2014, the Government announced its intention to update Australia’s telecommunication interception laws. This is part of broader efforts to enhance powers available to security agencies ‘to combat home-grown terrorism and Australians who participate in terrorist activities overseas’. This includes developing a mandatory ‘metadata’ retention system. Whilst having a period of mandatory metadata retention would be new, the collection of metadata by telecommunications companies and government access to it is not new and is governed by the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979 (TIA).  Whilst the need for such a scheme was linked to c... Read more...

ASIO security assessments of asylum seekers

Recent media reporting and questioning in the May Budget Estimates hearings have again focused attention on security processes relevant to the processing of asylum seekers, with one particular case leading the Prime Minister to direct an Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security inquiry into ‘the management of [by] Australian government agencies of persons seeking asylum who present complex security issues’. ASIO’s security assessment role The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) performs security assessments for other Australian Government agencies for several different purposes: visa security assessments, which assess whether an appl... Read more...

Independent Review of the Intelligence Community—interoperability still an issue?

The findings of the recently released public version of the 2011 Independent Review of the Intelligence Community Report are largely positive. The report cites significantly greater access to information from overseas, improved capability, and increased performance among the variety of developments in the operations of Australia’s intelligence agencies in the ten years since 2001, and concludes that the significant investment in the agencies over that period has paid off. However, while the public version of the classified report is necessarily framed in broad terms, it is possible to read between the lines to identify some of the issues that are likely to have been expanded upon in the clas... Read more...

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