Wednesday, 15 August 2018
That the Senate:
(a) notes that:
(i) on 27 March 2018, the Senate passed a motion recognising the importance of strong digital encryption in protecting the personal and financial information of Australians, in preventing identity theft and other crime, and in ensuring that public interest whistleblowers, journalists, and other civil society actors can conduct their activities more securely,
(ii) on 31 July 2018, the Minister for Health (Mr Hunt) made a statement that 'My Health Record' legislation will be amended to "ensure no record can be released to police or government agencies, for any purpose, without a court order" ,
(iii) on 14 August 2018, the Government released draft legislation that requires law enforcement agencies to obtain a warrant in order to search electronic devices and access content on those devices, and
(iv) currently, under the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979, law enforcement agencies can access telecommunications metadata without a warrant; and
(b) calls on the Federal Government to:
(i) extend the requirement for a warrant to metadata, and collection and interception of all communications of Australians, for consistency and to uphold Australians' right to privacy,
(ii) support the continued development and use of strong encryption technologies, and
(iii) not actively undermine encryption and privacy by introducing legislation that compels telecommunications and information technology companies to break encryption or introduce weaknesses into communications systems or devices used by Australians.
The government recognises that secure communications technologies are vital to the cybersecurity of all Australians. Our law enforcement and national security agencies also require appropriate powers to prosecute and disrupt serious criminal and national security threats. The government's telecommunications assistance legislation does not require industry to reduce the security protections they have developed to enhance the privacy of Australians' data. The Australian public telecommunications providers can be confident that any request for access to an individual's data will remain subject to existing warrant processes.