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Tag Archives: Legislation

Fall of Democracy: Australia’s growing anti-protest regulations

Federal and state governments have both passed successive legislative amendments in recent years that threaten fundamental rights to protests and freedom of speech in Australia.

The latest installment, amendments to the Crown Land Management Act in Victoria, have been described as “a fundamental attack on democracy”, leaving many experts calling for an audit of increasing draconian measures introduced in the last decade.

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The end of natural medicine in Australia?

The Australian government has passed health insurance reform laws that end public and private health cover for a wide range of natural therapies, such as Herbalism, Yoga, Homeopathy, Naturopathy and more.

From April 1st 2019, the government will no longer subsidise for a range of natural treatments, and health insurers will no longer be able to provide cover for “non-permitted therapies”, despite them accounting for less than 1% of all benefits paid.

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Australia passes controversial anti-encryption laws

The Australian government has passed anti-encryption legislation compelling companies to grant authorities access to encrypted information, in a move analysts say will have vast implications for digital privacy.

The new law, which passed the Senate 44-12 this week, will force companies to reveal technical characteristics of digital systems that could help intelligence agencies exploit weaknesses that have not been patched.

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Tech alliance unites to condemn new anti-encryption bill

Technology giants and human rights groups have formed an alliance to fight the Australian government’s new encryption bill.

Calling themselves the ‘Alliance for a Safe and Secure Internet’, the group consists of industry, consumer and human rights groups, who are criticising the government for attempting to pass legislation that threatens the digital security of Australians.

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Victoria set to introduce new “gender equality bill”

The Victorian government has released details of new draft legislation this week that describes changes to the public sector that will force departments to introduce radical new policies to meet “gender quotas and targets”.

The new plan will include a requirement to develop and provide regular reporting with a ‘Gender Equality Action Plan’ and a 50/50 employee representation quota for most areas of business.

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‘Privacy nightmare’: Concerns over new anti-encryption bill

The Australian government has released details of a new telecommunications bill that grants agencies new powers to access encrypted communications data, including enhancing the obligations of companies to provide assistance and new warrants to covertly obtain evidence directly from devices.

In the following piece, Ethan Nash breaks down the legislation, including historical and technical contexts, details of both major schedules in the drafted legislation, and reasons for concerns associated with the broadened power scope granted.

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Facial recognition technology to stay following Commonwealth Games

Queensland Government officials have announced that facial recognition technology introduced for security during the 2018 Commonwealth Games will remain in place indefinitely, but won’t say what future use they have in mind for the biometric system.

Civil liberty campaigners say the refusal to release plans for the installed software amounts to a ‘disturbing development in mass surveillance’, with privacy advocates concerned about how the technology will be used in conjunction with the new national facial recognition program.

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Government could allow private firms access to facial recognition data

The federal government is considering allowing private companies to use its national facial recognition database for a fee, documents released under Freedom of Information laws have revealed.

The partially redacted documents released this week show that the Attorney General’s Department is in discussions with major telecommunications companies about pilot programs for private sector use of the new national facial recognition system in 2018.

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Details of new Australian national facial recognition system

The Australian government has unveiled new details surrounding highly controversial changes to ‘anti-terrorism’ measures this week, including the introduction of a new national facial recognition system, following the Coalition of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting in Canberra last month.

The changes, outlined in draft documents released this week, describe the use of new ‘federated identity ecosystems’ (or ‘identity federations’) to share information between authorised agencies, including the introduction of a new ‘trust framework’ system to replace traditional legal processes.

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Facial recognition ‘incompatible with a free society’, privacy groups warn

Australia’s leading privacy and civil liberties organisations have condemned the decision by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to provide all images from state and territory driver’s licence databases to a national facial biometric capability system.

The organisations, including the Australian Privacy Foundation, Digital Rights Watch, Queensland Council for Civil Liberties, NSW Council for Civil Liberties, Liberty Victoria, South Australian Council for Civil Liberties and Electronic Frontiers Australia, have called the comprehensive facial recognition database ‘unnecessary’ and ‘fundamentally incompatible with a free and open society’.

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