Feeds

Gov and telcos in Aussie wiretap death match

'Wiretaps are fine. You are wrong, wrong, wrong!'

Business security measures using SSL

When it comes to telecomms technology, who are you going to trust? Senior executives in some of Australia’s largest telcos? Or a high-ranking bureaucrat from the Federal Attorney-General’s Department?

It’s a close call, but lines were drawn and disagreements laid out in the open yesterday as the Senate's Legal ad Constitutional Affairs Committee (pdf) met to review Schedule 2 of the Telecommunications Interception and Intelligence Services Legislation Amendment Bill.

The Bill itself is part of legislation that would amend telecommunications interception legislation, making it easier for law enforcement to wiretap new technology as it emerges. While business leaders condemned the proposal for imposing potentially "onerous requirements" on the Australian telco industry, the top civil servant hit back, describing their attitude as quite simply "wrong, wrong, wrong".

The controversial Schedule 2 requires telecommunications providers to notify the government of any network change to the system that is likely to have a "material adverse effect" on the ability of the organisation to comply with its other obligations under the bill or existing legislation.

According to Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA), chief executive, Chris Althaus, this proposal was of major concern and should be scrapped. He told the Committee: “It is a schedule which is providing what we regard as onerous requirements on industry, and that has the potential to limit partnerships and outsourcing by Australian companies.

"It creates a non-technology-neutral situation with uneven requirements in Australia versus other places in the world. It certainly will create uncertainty and high levels of risk. It certainly will delay and potentially limit the rollout of innovation and innovative products and constrain our members and the industry’s ability to assemble competitive packages."

Mr Althaus was seconded by Telstra manager, future networks and services, regulatory operations, Michael Ryan, who warned that the proposal could place an additional burden on telecommunications companies looking to provide cloud services.

He said: "Providers [of Cloud services] in Australia can be telecommunications related companies or they can be independent software related companies, so we end up with some real discrepancies with what is proposed in Schedule 2 in that if a telecommunications company wants to package up some Cloud computing with some telecommunications services it is providing it appears to get caught up in Schedule 2 but a purely software house apparently wouldn’t.

"Likewise these services can be supplied directly from overseas, but if we want to be involved and make it easier for our customers by putting together a total package of services then we seem to get caught up with additional notification required by this process."

Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
ISPs' post-net-neutrality world is built on 'bribes' says Tim Berners-Lee
Father of the worldwide web is extremely peeved over pay-per-packet-type plans
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
Drag queens: Oh, don't be so bitchy, Facebook! Let us use our stage names
Handbags at dawn over free content ad network's ID policy
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.