Surveillance laws set for major overhaul

The federal government has released a major report by former intelligence chief Dennis Richardson.
The federal government has released a major report by former intelligence chief Dennis Richardson.

KEY FINDINGS OF THE RICHARDSON REPORT

* Principles underpinning Australia's intelligence and security legislation are sound and enduring

* Some security laws are unnecessarily complex and have been outpaced by technology change, such as smart phones and encryption

WHAT DOES THE GOVERNMENT PLAN TO DO?

* Update laws governing electronic surveillance

* Laws will include safeguards, independent oversight and transparency and accountability mechanisms

* Repeal and rewrite of nearly 1000 pages of laws

* Develop new framework for ASIO's offshore activities in order to strengthen ministerial accountability

* Streamline emergency warrants

* Independent panel will provide technical expertise and assistance to the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security

WHO ARE AUSTRALIA'S INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES?

* The Australian Intelligence Community comprises the Office of National Assessments, the Australian Signals Directorate, the Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation, the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation and the Defence Intelligence Organisation

* As well, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and the intelligence functions of the Australian Federal Police, AUSTRAC and the Department of Home Affairs collaborate

WHAT IS THE THREAT SITUATION?

* Between 2000 and 2010, agencies contributed to counter-terrorism investigations that resulted in 28 people being charged, and 22 convicted, and more than 50 Australians being denied travel abroad to train for, support, or participate in terrorist activities

* Since September 2014, there have been seven terrorist attacks in Australia, with ASIO and law enforcement disrupting a further 16 plots

* The number of people convicted of terrorism offences has increased to more than 90.

Australian Associated Press