Victoria moves to block police from COVID check-in data

The QR code check-in data of Victorians will be shielded from law enforcement under the state government’s new pandemic bill, revealed publicly on Tuesday. The Pandemic Bill, released public on Tuesday morning, included increased restrictions on the sharing of “contact tracing information”, including QR code data collected when individuals check in to venues. There have… … Read more

Pressure grows for govt to designate Facebook under bargaining code

The federal government is facing increased pressure to designate Facebook under the media bargaining code, with the competition watchdog boss saying he is “concerned” about the social media giant’s current approach, and a petition on the matter garnering nearly 10,000 in just a few days. The news media bargaining code, requiring designated companies to enter… … Read more

New DTA CEO Chris Fechner fronts Senate Estimates

New Digital Transformation Agency CEO Chris Fechner has fronted Senate Estimates for the first time, confirming the agency’s move away from service delivery during a late night appearance plagued by technical difficulties. The Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) was finally called before the Finance and Public Administration committee at 10:50pm on Monday night, just 10 minutes… … Read more

Govt mulls direct right of action for privacy breaches

A direct right of action for individuals subject to a privacy breach, a statutory tort of privacy and an end to the exemption for political parties are being considered under the wide-ranging review of the Privacy Act. Nearly two years after announcing the review in response to the competition watchdog’s digital platforms report, the Attorney-General’s… … Read more

Legislation aims to make social media firms liable for defamatory content

Legislation has been introduced to Parliament which would make social media firms liable for defamatory content posted on their platforms by a user if it is not removed within two days. On a bumper day for tech-related legislation which saw a separate draft bill unveiled and a discussion paper for the Privacy Act review, Nationals… … Read more

Age verification will be mandatory for social under govt tech crackdown

The federal government has unveiled “landmark privacy legislation” which will increase penalties for breaches of privacy by social media firms and require a wide range of tech firms to verify the age of their users and obtain parental consent for users aged under 16. Many elements of the draft legislation, unveiled by Attorney-General Michaelia Cash… … Read more

PM declined to lead innovation recovery

Prime Minister Scott Morison declined a COVID-19 Commission recommendation to lead the innovation policies that would drive Australian industry’s economic recovery from the pandemic, according to the government adviser involved. Andrew Liveris, a successful businessman who advised the Obama and Trump administrations on manufacturing and innovation, was called in by the Prime Minister last year… … Read more

‘Problematic’ critical infrastructure bill passes lower house

Legislation allowing the government to take control of a company’s network as a “last resort” in the event of a cyberattack has sailed through the lower house despite a group of tech heavyweights labelling it “highly problematic”. The critical infrastructure bill was debated in the House of Representatives on Wednesday afternoon, with the Coalition moving… … Read more

R&D tax incentive is ‘counterintuitive to innovation’

The government’s research and development tax incentive is “counterintuitive” to innovation because it fails to focus work into Australia’s areas of strength and provides support only after the work is completed, according Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre head Dr Jens Goennemann. Speaking at the InnovationAus Capability event this week, Dr Goennemann called for a less “egalitarian”… … Read more

Committee calls for end to govt’s ‘over-reliance’ on tech contractors

Limits should be placed on the federal government’s spending on consultants and better funding needs to be provided to internal ICT systems and staff to overcome the current “over-reliance” on tech contractors, a senate committee has found. The Labor-led Select Committee on Job Security tabled its second interim report this week, shining a spotlight on… … Read more