NEWS Joint statement in response to media reports regarding ASD's powers

Joint Statement

Michael Pezzullo - Secretary, Department of Home Affairs, Greg Moriarty - Secretary, Department of Defence and Mike Burgess – Director, Australian Signals Directorate

Joint Statement

In relation to today’s media claim, there is no proposal to increase the ASD’s powers to collect intelligence on Australians or to covertly access their private data.

ASD’s cyber security function is being enhanced under reforms agreed by the Government last year in response to the 2017 Independent Intelligence Review.

The Parliament has already passed legislation establishing ASD as an independent statutory agency within the Defence portfolio on 28 March 2018 in response to this recommendation.

The cyber security function entails protecting Australians from cyber-enabled crime and cyber-attacks, and not collecting intelligence on Australians. These are two distinct functions, technically and operationally.

In the ever changing world of cyber security as officials we should explore all options to protect Australians and the Australian economy.

We would never provide advice to Government suggesting that ASD be allowed to have unchecked data collection on Australians – this can only ever occur within the law, and under very limited and controlled circumstances.