Australia's intelligence watchdog is Back - BestCyberNews: Online News Presenter in the present world

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Australia's intelligence watchdog is Back

Australia's intelligence watchdog has backed reform of Australia’s surveillance regime to ensure the legal framework better balances the dual objectives of privacy and national security.

According to the theguardian, Inspector General of Intelligence and Security calls for legal changes to strengthen privacy protections and meet national security objectives.

The watchdog says it agrees with a key recommendation by the federal parliament’s joint committee on intelligence and security in May 2013. That inquiry recommended the insertion of an objectives clause into telecommunications legislation which makes explicit the dual objectives of the regime namely “to protect the privacy of communications” and “to enable interception and access to communications in order to investigate serious crime and threats to national security”.

The IGIS has used the opportunity of the new Senate inquiry to endorse that broad direction, adding its voice to the views of legal experts and other bodies charged with oversight of the intelligence and police services.

The IGIS, which sits in the prime minister’s portfolio but is not subject to ministerial direction, notes in the submission that “in general, it is not the role of the IGIS to comment on current or proposed government policy”. 

The May 2013 inquiry by parliament’s intelligence and security committee also recommended the attorney general’s department re-examine “proportionality tests” in the processes used to approve communications interceptions.
But the IGIS warns that any reworking of proportionality tests, including any proposal to apply a consistent standard, needs careful examination to ensure privacy is not compromised.
The watchdog says the exercise of Asio’s “often highly intrusive” interception powers will, almost always, not be apparent to the subject. “These powers should only be considered for use when other, less intrusive, means of obtaining information are likely to be ineffective or are not reasonably available.”
The IGIS also gives cautious backing to more public disclosure of Asio’s use of its powers under the telecommunications interception act. It notes that the attorney general does not include this data in a regular report to parliament, and suggests officials “could consider whether the public reporting regimes of similar organisations overseas might provide useful models of alternative reporting approaches.”
The watchdog notes “the standard of warrant materials is high and the error rate is low".

Author Venkatesh Yalagandula Follow us Google + and Facebook and Twitter

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