Nuclear submarines are the big story this week, but there’s plenty more â€” including the sudden resignation of our FOI commissioner, predictive policing, and various reports on our surveillance regime.
Here are the digital developments from Canberra I’ve noticed since the previous edition on 4 March.
- The biggest one this week was news that Australia will buy two types of nuclear-powered submarines under the AUKUS program. “Australia will inject billions into the US shipbuilding industry as part of a deal to buy up to five nuclear-powered Virginia-class submarines, in a stop-gap measure before a purpose-built boat, blending a British design and US weapons, is delivered.” There’s lots of commentary out there, and there will be more next week after the official announcement on Monday, so I won’t say any more here. However it’s amusing that despite Albanese’s refusal to confirm details, Australia’s allies leaked it all.
- The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has announced that it will “examine the expanding ecosystems of digital platform service providers in Australia” as part of itsâ€™ five-year Digital Platform Services Inquiry. They’ve published an issues paper (PDF), and submissions close 5 April 2023.
- “Australiaâ€™s freedom of information commissioner has quit after less than a year in the job, citing lengthy delays to information requests and his lack of power to fix a system that currently has people waiting up to five years for an appeal decision.”
- There’s been some routine reports on the use of account takeover warrants and stored telco metadata.
- We have a government response to the inquiry into the national security risks affecting the Australian higher education and research sector.
- “Your Apple Watch or Fitbit could soon warn Defence that you are the victim of a chemical or biological attack. Or that youâ€™ve got a cold”
- There’s a new paper from the Australian Institute of Criminology: Predictive policing in an Australian context: Assessing viability and utility.
Please let me know if I’ve missed anything, or if there’s any specific items you’d like me to follow. Parliament isn’t sitting week, but will be the week after, from Monday 20 March, so there’s still bound to be plenty to talk about next time.
[Photo: Australia’s prime minister Anthony Albanese looking a bit stressed.]