[LINK] Security not tested for ID Card
jwhit at janwhitaker.com
Tue Mar 13 11:05:54 EST 2007
Security advice missing over data card
March 13, 2007
THE Federal Government has proposed to push ahead
with initial legislation for the proposed
national data card even before the system's
security has been vetted by electronic spy experts.
The Defence Signals Directorate, which is
advising the Government on card security, says it
is too early to give advice on the issue.
The first tranche of the legislation, said to
establish a framework for the card, has already
passed the House of Representatives. But it is
expected to encounter a tougher time in the
Senate this month because of concerns about
privacy and law agencies' access to photographs
held at the card's central databank.
The directorate, which the Government has
commissioned "to maximise the security" of the
card system, has told the Senate committee that
it "cannot provide detailed information on the
security of the system as it is still in the early stages of design".
The directorate, which describes itself as the
"national authority on information security", is
expected to advise the Government on the
evaluation of tenders for the project, card
system security and "vulnerability assessments"
before and after the system has been introduced.
The senate committee on finance and
administration, which sought advice from the
directorate, is scheduled to publish its report
into the card legislation this week.
The Government says it will deal with governance
of the card system and protection of information in subsequent legislation.
A spokesman for the new Minister for Human
Services, Chris Ellison, who is responsible for
the "access card", said yesterday the Government
planned to stick to its schedule for the
legislation to be debated in the Senate this month.
The spokesman said more details would be dealt
with in a second tranche of legislation.
The Australian Privacy Foundation said that
because legislation was in instalments it was
impossible to assess the overall project.
Anna Johnston, director of the foundation's No ID
card campaign, said: "It allows the Government to
duck the tough issues today with no guarantee
that they will deal with them tomorrow
an utter disaster waiting to happen."
The inclusion of a photograph on the card and the
existence of 16.5 million individual photographs
in the system's database has prompted concerns
about the access police and the Australian
Security Intelligence Organisation would have.
The committee was told last week that in
life-and-death cases the Australian Federal
Police and ASIO did not require a search warrant
to gain access to personal information held by government agencies.
The Nationals senator Barnaby Joyce said
yesterday that he would need his concerns about
official snooping to be allayed before he
supported the legislation. The question was how
"a bad government in the future" could be stopped
from over-intruding into people's private lives", he said.
The Government says the card's purpose is to
improve the public's access to health and welfare
payments and to strengthen anti-fraud measures,
which, it says, would save $3 billion over 10 years.
A proposal to include optional personal medical
information on the card's chip has been
criticised by MedicAlert. The non-profit
organisation said it would undermine its position
as the only recognised symbol of emergency body-worn protection in Australia.
JLWhitaker Associates, Melbourne Victoria
jwhit at janwhitaker.com
'Seed planting is often the most important step.
Without the seed, there is no plant.' - JW, April 2005
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