Digital developments from Canberra 24

Parliament has kicked off for 2023. There’s no new legislation to concern us here, but there’s news of spooks and spies, electronic warfare, Medicare, My Health Record, TROVE, cryptocurrency, and more.

Here are the digital developments from Canberra I’ve noticed since the previous edition on 3 February.

  • “The Australian Signals Directorate is outsourcing key elements of its landmark national security uplift program, going to market this week for industry partners to help the cyber spy agency expand beyond Canberra and add almost 2,000 staff,” reports InnovationAus. This is the REDSPICE program, the amusing word that supposedly means Resilience, Effects, Defence, Space, Intelligence, Cyber, Enablers.
  • “The Critical Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Centre (CI-ISAC) hopes to enlist and support the 11,000 organisations it estimates are covered across the 11 critical infrastructure sectors outlined in the Security of Critical Infrastructure (SOCI) Act,” reports InnovationAus.
  • Also also from InnovationAus, “Federal law enforcement agencies have sought advice on the implementation of controversial account takeover powers after the watchdog found holes in their internal policies as warrants were being issued. The lack of guidance raised questions about the admissibility of evidence collected from the use of the intrusive warrants.”
  • There’s a huge kerfuffle about Commonwealth offices and other places being “riddled” with security cameras “linked” to the Chinese government. Of course Beijing says Australia’s removal of cameras an ‘abuse of state power’. This has been reported globally so I don’t need to tell you any more here.
  • “A troubled project to consolidate the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s technical hairball of business registries, including the Australian Business Register (ABR), has been sent back to the mechanic’s shed before Budget, with an independent review of the project called by financial services minister Stephen Jones,” reports The Mandarin. Apparently $1.5 billion has been spent on this project so far, and carrying it through to the end would cost another $1 billion. This review will make interesting reading, methinks.
  • Medibank to defend class action over massive hack.
  • The Royal Australian Air Force is upgrading its electronic attack aircraft, the EA-18G Growler, through Project AIR 5349 Phase 6 – Advanced. That’ll be a cool $2 billion, but it includes upgraded training ranges, war stock of anti-radiation missiles, and indeed some new missiles too.
  • The Joint Standing Committee on Treaties has reported on the Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of the United States of America on Access to Electronic Data for the Purpose of Countering Serious Crime. It simply recommends that the treaty goes ahead, although The Greens made four additional recommendations.
  • There’s a petition from 28,598 signatories calling on the National Library of Australia’s TROVE to be fully funded. I was one of them.
  • Of course there were things I only became aware of late last Friday. First, Treasury has released a consultation paper on “token mapping'”, which they describe as “a foundational step in the Government’s multi‑stage reform agenda that commits to developing appropriate regulatory settings for the crypto sector.” By which they mean cryptocurrency. Submissions close 3 March.
  • Here’s the Strengthening Medicare Taskforce Report (PDF) which informed last Friday’s national cabinet meeting. Anthony Albanese says national cabinet will discuss healthcare funding when it next meets in late April.
  • Whatever comes out of that discussion, An improved My Health Record will be at centre of push to modernise primary healthcare.

These posts will now appear on Sunday mornings. Please let me know if I’ve missed anything, or if there’s any specific items you’d like me to follow.

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[Photo: A Royal Australian Air Force EA-6G Growler electronic attack aircraft.]