Encryption laws: Have your say 


James Riley
Editorial Director

If you work in the tech industry and you have a view on the federal encryption laws, we would love your feedback on the commercial impact of the laws. InnovationAus has launched a survey in partnership with StartupAUS, The Communications Alliance and the ITPA.

It is exactly one year since the federal government had its controversial encryption legislation passed through the parliament in farcical circumstances on the final sitting day of the year in 2018. 

The Telecommunications and Other Legislation (Assistance and Access) Act was passed with the support of Labor, which capitulated at the 11th hour, saying it had secured promises from the government’s Leader in the Senate Matthias Cormann to address Labor’s amendments in the new year. This did not happen. 

James Renwick
Dr James Renwick: The Independent National Security Legislation Monitor

The reverberations from that final sitting day are still being felt. The legislation has had an impact that is both seen and unseen. The practical operation of the legislation is not in the public view. The penalties for revealing instances where the AA Act has been used are extremely harsh. 

For the tech industry, which campaigned against the legislation before it became law and continued campaigning after it was passed, an anecdotal understanding of its impact may be the best we are able to do in the short term. 

Today, InnovationAus has launched – in collaboration with the Communications Alliance, Information Technology Professionals Association (ITPA) and with StartupAUS – a survey of the industry to better understand the commercial impact of the AA laws, and to shed some light on whether or not it has had an impact on development operations in Australia. 

You can find the Industry Pulse – Encryption Laws survey by clicking on this link. The survey will remain open until midnight on Thursday, December 12, with the results to be published on Monday, December 16. 

The survey is generic, and seeks to take a snapshot of the industry’s view of the laws. We do not want to encourage anyone to divulge anything likely to get them into trouble. But we certainly think there is enough interest out there to get enough responses to inform the debate.  

The results will be packaged – anonymised – and forwarded to the National Security and Intelligence Legislation Monitor (NSILMJames Renwick as a snapshot of the industry’s thinking on the laws for his consideration. 

Communications Alliance CEO John Stanton said: “We hope that the INSLM’s Inquiry into the legislation will help move it in the direction of more genuine oversight provisions, of the kind that will begin to instill greater international confidence in the security of Australian networks and systems – a step that can only help the domestic IT industry and its export prospects.”       

If you work in the information and communications technology industries, whether for an Australian-based company or for a multinational – and whether you are a one-person operation or a large transnational – we encourage you to take this short survey. 

All participants in the survey can be confident that their responses will remain anonymous. We have built opportunities within the survey for participants to add written comments. Again, we are looking for top-line anecdotal feedback.  

If you are an industry participant, get involved! Take the survey here. 

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email or Signal.

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