The Defence Strategic Review dominated the relevant news from Canberra these last two weeks, but we also saw moves on combating far-right extremism, fighting the scams and spams, and various minor bits and pieces.
Here are the digital developments from Canberra I’ve noticed in the two weeks since the previous edition on 14 April.
- The big one was Monday’s release of the National Defence: Defence Strategic Review 2023, with media releases from the prime minister and defence minister, and a defence minister, and a joint press conference. Professor John Blaxland wrote These are the 10 points of tension Australia wants to reconcile with its defence strategic review. We’ve also heard that Federal budget to allocate $4bn for long-range missiles and Australian production of key weapons, northern bases will share a $3.8 billion boost, and there’s a recommendation that defence adopt an open architecture for hardware and software. We’re also expecting a defence industry strategy later this year. There’s obviously a lot more specialist commentary out there, but I haven’t had time to explore it.
- How have Australia’s neighbours in the Asia-Pacific reacted to the Defence Strategic Review?
- By way of comparison, Perun has done a presentation on Japanese Defence Strategy & Rearmament – Japan’s ambitious plans & lessons from Ukraine. You might like to compare style of discussion with that from commentators on Australia’s plans.
- “Meta maintains significant market power in Australia despite the entry and popularity of TikTok, as well as smaller platforms like BeReal, according to a new report by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission,” reports InnovationAus. That report is the Digital platform services inquiry – March 2023 interim report.
- “A huge spike in the value of scam losses fleeced from Australians to eclipse $3 billion has finally triggered a small regulatory intervention after minister for communications Michelle Rowland and minister for financial services Stephen Jones agreed to fund a pilot blocking mechanism in the upcoming Budget,” reports The Mandarin.
- “The cost of a Salesforce contract for the National Disability Insurance Scheme’s new customer relationship management system more than doubled to $76 million before being flagged for further investigation in a review of lobby-linked procurements,” reports InnovationAus.
- InnovationAus also says this quite bluntly: Outsourced visa tech upgrade ‘was a disaster’.
- “Australia’s business and employer groups have rejected proposals that would see them face tougher rules and more responsibility for cyber incidents, but are open to a new Cyber Security Act if it consolidates existing regulations.”
- ASIO says that a national ban on the Nazi salute and insignia would help prevent far-right radicalisation.
- Australian gamblers to be banned from using credit cards for online betting.
- There’s been an routine update from National Data Commissioner, Gayle Milnes.
- In the previous week, the Australian Signals Directorate expanded its warning about 5G security to include smart cities and the internet of things (IoT).
- “De-identified My Health Record data is yet to be shared with researchers and public health experts almost five years after the former federal government revealed controversial plans to source datasets from the digital health record by default,” reported InnovationAus.
- The government is considering running a bug bounty program to find cybersecurity vulnerabilities in its agencies.
Please let me know if I’ve missed anything, or if there’s any specific items you’d like me to follow. Parliament is now on a break until Tuesday 9 May, which will be Budget Night. I’ll publish these posts whenever there’s enough to report — and with all the strategic usual pre-Budget leaks there’s bound to be.
[Photo: Defence minister Richard Marles, defence industry minister Pat Conroy, and prime minister Anthony Albanese at Monday’s launch of the Defence Strategic Review, along with Chief of the Defence Force, General Angus Campbell.]