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Gov and telcos in Aussie wiretap death match

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

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They just need to write a letter

His views reflected fears that Australian-based telcos like Telstra will be disadvantaged relative to non-telco competitors, such as multinational cloud computing vendors like Google and Amazon.

Optus manager, regulatory compliance and safeguards, Michael Elsegood further warned that an issue with the bill in its present form was that definitions such as "system change" were far too broad.

However, a spokesman for the Attorney-General's Department, national law and policy first assistant secretary, Geoff McDonald rejected claims by the three telcos, saying: "They're wrong, wrong, wrong".

He went on: "They just need to write a letter or advise us.

"All they gotta do is give us a letter, and outline some of their plans — it's not burdensome."

"They must think we are expected (sic) them to provide a whole prospectus or something like that. It's the most general description about what they are doing — it's there to help them."

He also added that while the department was prepared to consider further clarifications to amendments, they had been criticised previously for "excessive verbiage in Bills".

The Committee also heard from Privacy Commissioner, Timothy Pilgrim , who warned of potential gaps exist in the privacy safeguards in proposed Bill.

Asserting that there needed to be a balance between the public’s national security interests and its privacy interests, Pilgrim said: "At the outset I would note that the application of the Privacy Act 1988 to those Australian intelligence agencies, Australian government law enforcement agencies and state law enforcement agencies covered by the proposals in the Bill varies, thereby leading to some potential gaps in privacy protection.

"The Office’s interest is in ensuring that consistent application of sound privacy principles in relation to these proposals, coupled with oversight by the appropriate regulator as necessary." ®

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