Govt accepts changes to telco security reforms

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Thursday, 10 August, 2017

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The federal government has accepted all of the recommendations from the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security on changes to its proposed telecoms infrastructure security reforms.

The proposed reforms would create an obligation for telecoms service providers to do their best to protect their networks from unauthorised access, including requiring them to inform government of any changes to their network that may pose security concerns.

The committee made a series of recommendations last month based on complaints from the industry about perceived problems with the draft legislation.

As part of the revisions, the government has agreed to work collaboratively with industry to ensure effective and regular information sharing on threat information, and to ensure industry receives timely and tailored threat information to aid compliance.

The government will also amend the bill to specify the Communications Ministry’s recommended annual reporting requirements on aspects including the frequency of use of information-gathering powers and regulatory performance measures.

The Attorney General’s Department has also agreed to provide clarification regarding the obligations of OTT and cloud service providers, as well as in cases where telecoms infrastructure is used but not owned or operated by the company or where infrastructure located overseas is used to store information from Australian customers.

The joint committee will be required to review the operation and effectiveness of the reforms within three years of the proposed bill passing.

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