An exclusive interview with the managing director of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), who was one of the key figures behind the government’s proposal to give the Commonwealth access to its private information.
Key points:The ABC is releasing the interview with Mr Lawlor to mark the first time the former ASIC boss has spoken publicly in more than two decadesDr Lawlor is a regular guest on the ABC’s 7:30 program, and his advice to the government is well-knownDr Lawler was a key figure behind the public debate over whether the Government should have the power to access its private financial information.
Mr Lawlor says the current system is too slow and confusing, and says the Government has not been listening to the advice of the experts who had warned it should not be able to access the private information of people.
In an exclusive interview on 7:00 News on Friday, Dr Lawlor said the current security framework is not adequate and needs to be significantly improved.
“What we need is to have a much more flexible security framework that does more to allow people to protect their own information in a way that is more convenient and less intrusive,” he said.
“That’s why we need to get the experts and the experts agree on a framework.”
Dr Lawley said the new system could be much simpler and simpler to use.
“We need to do the same with all of our financial institutions,” he told the ABC.
“It will take a lot of time to get that right, but it’s worth the time.”
Dr Alistair Gray is the managing partner of the Lawley Law Group, a Sydney law firm that advises the Government on many of its key policy issues.
He told 7:10 he believed the proposal was a good idea and would be well received by Australians.
“I’m not going to say that I agree with the policy but I certainly agree with its underlying premise,” he added.
“If you’re talking about security and privacy and you’re going to be putting people at risk then there needs to always be a balance.”
And if you’re not going be doing that, then you’re making people’s lives harder.
“The ABC has published a transcript of the interview below:Dr Lawlelor: I was a senior adviser on the security policy for the last four years, I did a lot in the area of security and security risk management.
What was your advice to governments on the issue of whether the Commonwealth should have access to private financial data?
Mr Gray: I’m not a security expert, but I was on the board of the Commonwealth Secretariat of the Treasury and the Treasurer’s team, and I’m pretty well aware of what the system is, so I’m fairly familiar with what’s going on.
Dr Lawlee: The government, if you want to make a policy statement, will have to make sure that there’s a way to address it, and it’s important that the system be as flexible as possible, that it’s flexible enough so that people have the flexibility to protect themselves in a reasonable way.
What’s the current model of access to Commonwealth private financial records?
Mr Lawley: There are three levels of security.
The first level is what we call a ‘privacy line’, where you can go in and ask for your private financial record, and then you can also ask to access your personal information.
The second level is where you go in, and they’ll give you a number of reasons why you shouldn’t be accessing that information.
The third level is that it can only be accessed with the consent of the person you’re asking to access it.
Dr Gray: There is no privacy line in this country, which means that you’re giving the Government access to your private information without your permission.
What are the other privacy safeguards in place?
Mr Barrow: I think they’re all pretty solid, and there’s nothing you can do about them except, again, make sure you’re protecting your privacy.
Dr Barrow said the privacy safeguards were strong, and had not been affected by the government-wide review.
What does the Government’s policy have to do with your personal data?
What is the best way to make the Commonwealth secure?
Mr Brown: There’s no right or wrong answer, and the Government is making an informed decision about what the right and wrong answer is.
Dr Brown said the Government was going to continue to consult with the experts, including experts in the areas of privacy, security and cybersecurity, and make sure they had all the information they needed to make that decision.
What will the Government do if you do not agree with that decision?
Mr Wilson: If the Government disagrees with it, then they will consult with you.
That’s their position.