Industry welcomes the amendments to the telco security legislation but notes further work is required

Sydney, 19 January 2016 – Communications Alliance, in coalition with the Australian Industry Group (Ai Group), Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) and the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA,) today released their submission to the Federal Government further outlining their concerns with the draft Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 - also referred to as the Telecommunications Sector Security Reform (TSSR) initiative.

"We welcome the fact that the Government has responded – by way of amendments - to some of the concerns raised by our industries during 2015 in respect of the first exposure draft.

"We do, however, maintain that further adjustment of the proposed reforms is needed to extend and maintain the security framework for the telecommunications industry in an effective and efficient manner.

"We remain especially concerned with the potentially negative consequences of the proposed reforms on businesses and innovation, particularly in the context of the Internet of Things (IoT)," John Stanton, CEO of Communications Alliance, said.

In their submission the industry groups, which represent more than 60,000 Australian businesses, point to continuing areas of concern with the second exposure draft, including that:

  • the purpose of the proposed reform remains unclear;
  • the onerous nature of the compliance requirements will hamper the responsiveness of providers to cyber threats;
  • there remain several areas of vague drafting in the exposure draft, including uncertainty regarding the status of resale of overseas services and the ability of intermediaries to comply with the legislation; and
  • inconsistencies between the draft legislation and associated guidelines concerning the potential requirement for providers to retrofit or remove existing facilities which leave open the risk that industry could face very high costs to rebuild existing networks. 

"We believe that the more collaborative approaches to dealing with cyber threat to communications infrastructure that are being taken or contemplated in major international markets such as the USA, UK and Canada would provide better avenues to improving cyber security.

"Consequently, we suggest that these less prescriptive strategies be carefully examined in Australia before proceeding down the path currently proposed by Government".

"Industry remains committed to working with Government to find the most efficient, effective and least prescriptive policy outcome whilst ensuring the robustness of our national communications infrastructure," Stanton said.

ABOUT COMMUNICATIONS ALLIANCE
Communications Alliance is the primary telecommunications industry body  in Australia. Its membership is drawn from a wide cross-section of the  communications industry, including carriers, carriage and internet  service providers, content providers, search engines, equipment vendors, IT companies, consultants and business groups.

Its vision is to  provide a unified voice for the telecommunications industry and to lead  it into the next generation of converging networks, technologies and  services. The prime mission of Communications Alliance is to promote the growth of the Australian communications industry and the protection of  consumer interests by fostering the highest standards of business ethics and behaviour through industry self-governance. For more details about  Communications Alliance, see www.commsalliance.com.au.

Media information contact:
Sefiani
Kurt Graham kgraham@sefiani.com.au
0431 478 558