​ASIC to spend AU$60m on data analytics, surveillance with Australia's Nuix

The government-owned corporate, markets, and financial services regulator has extended its digital investigation and analytics software contract with Sydney-based Nuix.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has extended its partnership with Sydney-based intelligence, analytics, and cybersecurity software firm Nuix.

In a statement, ASIC said the new contract forms part of its expanding analytics and e-discovery platforms, on which the regulator is spending around AU$60 million on data analytics, IT systems, and its surveillance and enforcement capabilities in a bid to become a "more data-driven, intelligence-led law enforcement agency".

"A critical part of detecting, understanding and responding to issues is our ability to process large volumes of data and to extract intelligence from the diverse data sources now in use, including phones, tablets, corporate email servers, and the cloud," ASIC's chief data officer John Wallace said.

"The investments we are making are enabling us to more effectively perform in-depth analysis of data, identify relationships between persons and entities, and create chronologies revealed by metadata."

Previously, Nuix senior vice president Keith Lowry said one major mistake organisations and governments are making in protecting their systems is neglecting the importance of focusing on the person at the end of the attack.

The 25-year cyber-veteran said that the majority of all insider threat programs he has been privy to begin with the foundation of technology, and that in reality, the foundation of a counter-insider threat program needs to start with recognising there is a person at the other end.

"It's about people using technology -- it's not about technology by itself -- and too many people focus on the fact that it's all technology and therefore the answer to it must be a piece of technology," Lowry told journalists in October.

ASIC announced the completion of a framework for co-operation with the Japan Financial Services Agency (JFSA) in June, aimed at promoting innovation in financial services in both countries.

The framework will see the JFSA and ASIC share information and support the entry of fintech businesses into each other's markets, with ASIC flagging the Japanese economy as the third largest in the world for services -- including financial services -- accounting for approximately three quarters of GDP in the country.

It was the second agreement signed between ASIC and a finance regulator in Asia in the space of a month, with the commission also kicking off an arrangement with the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) to provide mutual support to fintech businesses from Australia and Hong Kong seeking to operate in each other's markets.

Similar to the agreement signed with the JFSA, ASIC and SFC will refer fintech businesses to each other for advice and support via ASIC's Innovation Hub and its Hong Kong-based equivalent, SFC's Fintech Contact Point.

ASIC has previously entered into referral and information sharing agreements with Kenya, Ontario, Singapore, and the United Kingdom, and released its regulatory sandbox policy in December to allow fintech businesses to test certain products or services for a limited period of time without having to hold an Australian financial services or credit licence.

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