Talking about the Australian Signals Directorate on ABC Adelaide

Rachel Noble, Director-General of the Australian Signals Directorate, speaking at the National Security College in Canberra on 1 September 2020. (Australian National University)
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Today Rachel Noble, the director-general of Australia’s cyber agency the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), gave her first speech. It attracted more interest than I thought it might, and I spoke about it this evening with Jules Schiller on ABC Adelaide.

Noble was announced as the new ASD boss in December 2019, but she hasn’t been in the public eye as much as her predecessor Mike Burgess, who’s now head of ASIO.

She titled today’s speech “Long Histories — Short Memories: The Transparently Secret ASD in 2020”. You can read it, or watch it along with the subsequent Q&A.

Personally I was disappointed, something that might have some across in my tweets during the speech. The wasn’t anything really new, and she seemed to dismiss people who don’t immerse themselves in the subtlety of legislation.

“For nearly 20 years ASD’s role in relation to intelligence collection against Australians has been laid bare on the face of legislation. It is hardly a modern revelation that ASD has this role,” she said.

“Transparency is not a new feature of our story. Some people may have just forgotten what has already been said over many years.”

She was certainly less forthcoming with actual news than Burgess’ first speech.

Stories from the major news outlets kept to her talking points, for example these pieces at the ABC and the Guardian, although they also provided a little background.

Anyway, here’s the radio spot. Enjoy.

This audio is ©2020 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.