Australia to develop a data security framework

Home Affairs is seeking public consultation on how it should develop Australia's action plan for protecting citizen data.
Written by Campbell Kwan, Contributor
Image: Getty Images

The Australian Department of Home Affairs has commenced work on a new national data security action plan as part of the federal government's wider digital economy strategy.

According to Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews, the action plan will look to protect citizens' data -- information collected, processed, and stored on digital systems and networks -- from those who would undermine security.

"In the 21st century, data is a strategic commodity. The Morrison government is committed to ensuring that the data of Australians is stored securely, so it can't be stolen, hacked, or held to ransom," Andrews said.

"As increasing volumes of data continue to flow between all levels of government, industry and across the community -- the Morrison government is committed is building a national approach to ensure data protection, wherever it is stored or accessed."

In a newly-released discussion paper, Home Affairs laid out its vision for the plan, which includes establishing data security settings and requirements for governments, businesses, and individuals that will operate under a framework focusing on security, accountability, and control.

As part of the action plan's development, Home Affairs is also seeking the views of state and territory governments, businesses, and the Australian public on how federal government can improve the nation's data security.

Among the items up for public consultation are how the federal government should align with international data protection and security frameworks; how legislative and policy measures relating to data security can be streamlined to allow companies to meet their obligations in international jurisdictions; whether Australia needs an explicit approach to data localisation; how can data security policy be better harmonised across all levels of government; and how can the government further support businesses to understand the value of data and uplift their data security postures; among others.

The action plan is another cybersecurity item announced by the federal government ahead of the federal election, with the Coalition pledging AU$9.9 billion for a new cybersecurity program that is primarily focused on upping the Australian Signal Directorate's resources.

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