MEDIA RELEASE: LABOR ASKS INFORMATION COMMISSIONER TO INVESTIGATE DATA BREACH - 15 SEPTEMBER 2020
2.00pm | September 25, 2020
SHADOW MINISTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM
MEMBER FOR ISAACS
TIM WATTS MP
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR CYBER SECURITY
MEMBER FOR GELLIBRAND
SENATOR JENNY MCALLISTER
CHAIR, SENATE SELECT COMMITTEE INTO FOREIGN INTERFERENCE THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA
SHADOW CABINET SECRETARY
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER TO THE LABOR LEADER IN THE SENATE
SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES
LABOR ASKS INFORMATION COMMISSIONER TO INVESTIGATE DATA BREACH
Labor has today requested the Information Commissioner investigate deeply concerning reports that the personal information of more than 35,000 Australians has been scraped from social media accounts and other sources for potential use by foreign intelligence services.
Labor is particularly concerned about reports a collection centre located in Australia may have been used to gather the data.
Shadow Assistant Minister for Cyber Security Tim Watts has today referred this matter to the Information Commissioner for investigation to determine the extent to which the privacy of Australians may have been compromised and whether any Australian privacy laws have been broken.
The Morrison Government must ensure that the Information Commissioner and her office has the necessary resources and powers to undertake this important task. The OAIC launched its investigation into similar behaviour by Cambridge Analytica in March 2020 – 2 years after the event. We cannot wait 2 years to begin this investigation.
“The data security of Australian citizens is now a national security issue. An effective data protection regime is crucial to our efforts to fight foreign interference.” Mr Watts said.
Mr Dreyfus said it was long past time for the Morrison Government to take seriously the issue of privacy.
“It has now been over 18 months since the Morrison Government promised to introduce tougher penalties and greater powers for the Privacy Commissioner to protect Australians’ online privacy. Like so much else with Scott Morrison and his Government, that promise has so far amounted to nothing more than empty words.
“And, at a time when the protection of online privacy is more important than ever, the Morrison Government has refused to appoint a standalone Privacy Commissioner – against the will of the Parliament. Instead, a single person has been tasked with fulfilling the functions of the Privacy Commissioner, the Information Commissioner and the Freedom of Information Commissioner. That is not good enough.”
Senator McAllister said, “yesterday’s revelations are the latest in a long line of warnings that there are actors with the intent and ability to influence Australia’s democracy.”
“For years the Morrison Government has failed to listen. The Government has a responsibility to protect Australia’s democratic processes - it needs to assure the public it is taking that responsibility seriously.”
TUESDAY, 15 SEPTEMBER 2020
KIERAN INGREY (WATTS) 0432 507 439
STEPHEN SPENCER (DREYFUS) 0423 596 573
LEILA STENNETT (MCALLISTER) 0436 632 388