Australia, 30 January 2015: The Australian Computer Society (ACS) has called for a greater focus on trust and ethics in regards to professionals working with sensitive data as hearings continue into proposed changes to Data Retention legislation. The ACS President Brenda Aynsley OAM appeared before the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, on Thursday January 29.
In her evidence Ms Aynsley said: “The very sensitive nature of this data means that we need to trust that these practitioners will operate with the highest standards of ethics and professionalism. We need to be confident that important privacy and security principles are not breached. Breaches will heighten concerns, which already exist in the community about this legislation and therefore potentially undermine the Government’s efforts to provide agencies with the tools they need to fulfil their roles. We’ve heard this afternoon, and I’m sure you’ve heard on many occasions, the fear, uncertainty and doubt that exists in the minds of those who’ve appeared before you and those that have reported on your work. So for the very same reasons that there are well established processes, systems and standards in place to ensure the highest levels of professionalism and ethics amongst our doctors, lawyers and engineers, so too do we now need to start regarding elements of ICT practice in the same way.”
In response to questioning form the Committee Chair, Mr Dan Tehan MP, Ms Aynsley identified the current confusion around the definition of content and metadata.
“We need a clear definition from the Committee on what is content and what is metadata and what the distinction is. There is a certain lack of clarity around what is meant by metadata and where metadata ends,” she said.
Laura Douglas, Launch Group, 0452 505 859
Thomas Shanahan, Australian Computer Society, 0449 902 130
About the Australian Computer Society
The Australian Computer Society (ACS) is the professional association for Australia's Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector. Over 20,000 ACS members work in business, education, government and the community. The Society exists to create the environment and provide the opportunities for members and partners to succeed. The ACS strives for ICT professionals to be recognised as drivers of innovation in our society, relevant across all sectors, and to promote the formulation of effective policies on ICT and related matters. Visit www.acs.org.au for more information.