Last week we had an enormous post with all the Budget stuff. This time it’s all the other things that happened — and there’s a lot of them. One key question is whether you can axe a hub. Another is “PwC WTF?”
Here’s what I noticed since the previous edition on 10 May:
- The government has released a new Critical Technologies Statement and an updated List of Critical Technologies in the National Interest.
- The robodebt royal commission report is delayed again until 7 July as The Australian Public Service digs in for adverse findings. As Justin Warren said, maybe they should dig up.
- “Many of the APS reform measures speak to training in how not to behave in a way that is out of touch with the community,” reports The Mandarin.
- “The federal government will waive $21 million in tertiary debt and overhaul IT systems after a tech bungle held nearly 20,000 students’ loans up for years in internal systems.”
- “The Freedom of Information Commissioner complained of being ignored and ‘limited’ staff before resigning, tense emails reveal.”
- Cyber hubs axed! “A Coalition-era program to centralise federal government networks through hubs in Canberra’s biggest agencies has been axed after an $80 million pilot,” reports InnovationAus.
- They also report: “Responsibility for the federal government’s troubled data sovereignty scheme has been stripped from the Digital Transformation Agency in a shakeup prompted by the creation of Australia’s new cybersecurity office.”
- Age verification for adult websites may involve Australian government digital ID, reports the Guardian. “‘We do not want young people having unfettered access to pornography,’ communications minister Michelle Rowland says.” It should be said, however, that this is really just a thought bubble. The Department of Finance’s work on developing policy and proposed legislation for the next steps in the digital ID program doesn’t even start until next financial year, and I don’t imagine that policymakers will want foreign-owned porn distributors to hold a complete log of their sexual peccadillos linked to their government ID.
- An interesting column from Jennifer Hewett in the Financial Review, ‘Consent fatigue’: Banks warn of overreach in protecting data privacy. I don’t agree with all the “digital ID is magic” stuff but she’s bringing up a few issues which tend to be forgotten.
- Facebook’s owner has also had a sook about this: Meta warns Australia’s plan to limit targeted ads could push free platforms towards subscription fees.
- “Australian government threatens tougher regulation as eSafety commissioner decries Twitter’s ‘sewer rats’,” reports the Guardian. In part that’s because Musk sacked the entire Australia office so there’s no one to report the problems to.
- The Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee has finished its look at the Criminal Code Amendment (Prohibition of Nazi Symbols) Bill 2023 and their report recommends that the bill not be passed due to various concerns, and “that the government considers introducing its own bill as a matter of urgency, taking into consideration the issues raised”. Queensland LNP Senator Paul Scarr dissented, saying that the bill should be passed “as soon as possible”., suggesting that the technical issues could be “quickly resolved through amendments developed in a bipartisan manner and drafted with the assistance of the Attorney-General’s Department”.
- The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security’s advisory report on the National Security Legislation Amendment (Comprehensive Review and Other Measures No. 2) Bill 2023 made some minor recommendations.
- A trademark has been registered for internet of things security in Australia. “The IoT Security Trust Mark framework will certify the conformance of operation technology and IoT-connected products to 13 cybersecurity principles outlined in the federal government’s voluntary code of practice.”
- Doubts over whether federal anti-corruption body could investigate PwC scandal.
- If you’ve missed that news, well, ‘Disgraceful breach of trust’: how PwC, one of the world’s biggest accountancy firms, became mired in a tax scandal.
- Or if you prefer, Satirist Mark Humphries with a message from Price Waterhouse Coopers.
Please let me know if I’ve missed anything, or if there’s any specific items you’d like me to follow. The House of Representatives is back on Monday for two weeks, while the Senate is busy with the Estimates committees. There should be plenty of fun.
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[Photo: Communications minister Michelle Rowland.]