[LINK] Security not tested for ID Card

Jan Whitaker jwhit at janwhitaker.com
Tue Mar 13 11:05:54 AEDT 2007

Security advice missing over data card
Mark Metherell
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 
 this is 
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.

Jan Whitaker
JLWhitaker Associates, Melbourne Victoria
jwhit at janwhitaker.com
business: http://www.janwhitaker.com
personal: http://www.janwhitaker.com/personal/
commentary: http://janwhitaker.com/jansblog/

'Seed planting is often the most important step. 
Without the seed, there is no plant.' - JW, April 2005
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