Australia steps closer to cross-border data transfers with US

A parliamentary committee has recommended 24 changes to a bill before Australia can share data with foreign countries

Australia’s Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) has recommended passing a bill that would allow the country to share communications data with other countries, but only after its 24 report recommendations are enacted first.

If the bill passes, it would allow Australia to obtain an agreement with the US under its Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act (CLOUD).

The Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (International Production Orders) Bill 2020, introduced on 5 March, seeks to address Australia’s evolving technological landscape where data previously held in the country is now stored overseas.

Its Explanatory Memorandum states that Australian law enforcement and national security agencies need access to electronic and communications data from foreign communications providers for criminal investigations. Currently, the country has relied on mutual legal assistance from overseas jurisdictions, which it calls a “lengthy process”.

For requests received from foreign governments with a designated international agreement, the bill would remove the blocking provisions that prevent domestic communication providers and tech companies from cooperating with a request from a foreign government, when the request complies with the conditions of the designated international agreement.

However, the committee has outlined 24 recommendations which it thinks should be implemented before the IPO Bill can go ahead.

Related Resource

The Total Economic Impact™ of Mimecast

Cost savings and business benefits enabled by using Mimecast with Microsoft 365

Total economic impact of Mimecast - whitepaper from MimecastDownload now

One recommendation is that designated international agreements must be published and tabled in the regulations, and are subject to parliamentary scrutiny, as well as to a period of disallowance.

Another recommendation is that the agreement must not be used by a foreign government to target an Australian citizen. Information cannot be obtained to provide to the Australian government or a third-party government, the recommendations state.

Any country wishing to seek this kind of agreement must demonstrate respect for the rule of law, equality and non-discrimination, respect for international human rights, and have clear legal procedures and restrictions governing the use of electronic surveillance investigatory powers.

Furthermore, as some countries still practice the death penalty, including the US, the PCJIS said a minister should receive a written assurance from the government of a foreign country relating to the non-use of Australian-sourced information obtained through the agreement “in connection with any proceeding for a death penalty offence in the country or territory”.

The committee’s last recommendation was that “following implementation of the recommendations in this report, the Bill be passed by Parliament".

Featured Resources

Defeating ransomware with unified security from WatchGuard

How SMBs can defend against the onslaught of ransomware attacks

Free download

The IT expert’s guide to AI and content management

How artificial intelligence and machine learning could be critical to your business

Free download

The path to CX excellence

Four stages to thrive in the experience economy

Free download

Becoming an experience-based business

Your blueprint for a strong digital foundation

Free download

Recommended

AWS to launch cloud services reseller in Australia
Amazon Web Services (AWS)

AWS to launch cloud services reseller in Australia

17 Sep 2021
Cyber crime in Australia increased 13% in the last year
cyber crime

Cyber crime in Australia increased 13% in the last year

15 Sep 2021
Microsoft launches skills programme for 150,000 students in India
Careers & training

Microsoft launches skills programme for 150,000 students in India

15 Sep 2021
Singapore and India to link fast payment systems for cross-border transactions
digital transformation

Singapore and India to link fast payment systems for cross-border transactions

14 Sep 2021

Most Popular

What are the pros and cons of AI?
machine learning

What are the pros and cons of AI?

8 Sep 2021
Apple patches zero-day flaw abused by infamous NSO exploit
exploits

Apple patches zero-day flaw abused by infamous NSO exploit

14 Sep 2021
Google takes down map showing homes of 111,000 Guntrader customers
data breaches

Google takes down map showing homes of 111,000 Guntrader customers

2 Sep 2021