This week there’s major progress on privacy law reform, no progress on the online services’ esafety codes, a big tax change, and more. Oh, and some Chinese-made cameras were removed from government offices, while Woolworths installed more cameras in their supermarkets.
Here are the digital developments from Canberra I’ve noticed since the previous edition on 11 February.
- On Thursday the government released the report of the Attorney-General’s Department’s review of the Privacy Act 1988. The deadline for feedback is 31 March 2023, and then the government will write a response. Digital rights groups have broadly embraced the reforms, apparently.
- “Federal Labor’s Minister for Government Services Bill Shorten has been in quiet, evolving talks with the retiring NSW state Liberal minister Victor Dominello about taking a national role with the Commonwealth in coordinating federal and state government service delivery effort,” reports InnovationAus. If this happens, it’ll be interesting to see whether Dominello can work the same kind of magic with the dysfunctional feds.
- From iTnews, but of course everyone has been reporting this, “The eSafety Commissioner has told associations for online industries to rewrite safety codes they submitted in November, saying the drafts do not provide users adequate protection from harmful content.” Here’s the Commissioner’s press release.
- All the news sites are reporting this, and here’s a version from The Age. Chinese-made security cameras removed from 88 politicians’ offices, which is a bit of good luck. See what I did there?
- The Australian Public Service has set up an integrity taskforce in response to the robodebt royal commission. Meanwhile the Royal Commissioner has been granted an extension. The Royal Commission will now deliver its report on 30 June 2023.
- As you might imagine, ASIO opposes publication of its university monitoring activities.
- Not from Canberra as such but a story with national significance: Woolworths expands self-checkout AI that critics say treats ‘every customer as a suspect’.
- And finally, a big change from The Australian Taxation Office relating to working from home expenses. As far as I can tell this is for employees, not freelancers and others who operate as a small business, but I am not a tax agent so make sure to get actual professional advice. However the Practical Compliance Guideline may be of assistance even though — and this amuses me — “It is not a publication that has been approved to allow you to rely on it for any purpose.”
Please let me know if I’ve missed anything, or if there’s any specific items you’d like me to follow.
Update 20 February 2023: I probably should’ve mentioned that the government has received the report of the Defence Strategic Review, but the report has not yet been made public. We only have the background information. The press release does not set out any timeline for the next steps. I’ll be interesting to see whether this government takes as long as the previous one to deal with this sort of thing.
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[Photo: Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus KC.]