Australia’s Intelligence need more resources

Posted on August 13, 2014 10:19 am

Australia’s spy watchdog has few hours ago stated clearly that it needs additional resources to effectively monitor the use of new powers the Government plans to give the country’s spy agencies.The country’s intelligence agencies would receive new tools to bring them up to date with a technology-driven environment.It will allow Australian Security Intelligence Oorganisation to access all computers at one location related to a relevant person under one warrant, they can also amend the definition of “computer” to include all computers operating in a network as well as allow just one warrant to be required for a series of surveillance techniques as part of an investigation.More controversially, spies can remove the need for ASIS to gain ministerial approval to collect and share with ASIO information on Australians located outside the country.However, the Australia’s intelligence oversight body today has warned it would struggle to maintain proper oversight across ASIO’s proposed expanded ability to search computers within its current resources.

In her submission to the inquiry investigating the legislation, Inspector General of Intelligence and Security Vivienne Thom said while the office of the IGIS had “sufficient authority” to oversight the new powers, the proposed amendments would “increase the scope and complexity of oversight arrangements and the workload of the OIGIS”. The office of the IGIS raised concerns that the legislation did not ensure ASIO delete any irrelevant data on citizens it collects during investigations. Thom said her 11-person office would require additional resources that include technical expertise to properly monitor ASIO’s computer access and operations and to maintain the extra level of oversight it would need to provide under the proposed legislation. “From an oversight perspective the challenge for the IGIS will be in determining whether interference occurred and, if so, whether it was ‘material’ and ‘necessary’,” Thom said in her submission.”The increasing complexity of computer related operations means that the IGIS office requires increased access to technical expertise to oversight these operations effectively.”Thom said the office would additionally need to keep an eye on proposed changes allowing ASIO to use surveillance devices without a warrant in a number of circumstances. Thom also hopes that removing the requirement for ASIS to obtain ministerial approval before collecting and sharing information on Australian citizens overseas would generate an increase in the activity, once more increasing the supervisory workload.

Contador Harrison