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In other government ICT and digital news, 14 March 2023

by Cameron Sinclair •
Free resource


Australians woke up to the historic confirmation of a $368 billion plan to acquire 12 submarines as part of the AUKUS alliance, the culmination of “an announcement (Sep ‘21) followed by 18 months of negotiations”. Unfortunately, there was little information on pillar two of the AUKUS agreement – expediting cooperation in critical technologies including cyber capabilities, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, additional undersea capabilities, hypersonics and counter-hypersonics.


The senate will conduct another inquiry into consulting firms, this time on the back of the ‘PWC leaks’ revealed in January.

Speaking of consulting services, the new public agency established specifically for jobs and skill forecasting is (ironically) outsourcing a scan of approaches to forecasting future employment and skills demand.

The CSIRO has its first chief digital officer, poaching the WA government’s digital services project director Rebecca Ostergaard, who previously worked on the ServiceWA App.

For those waiting for news on the billions of dollars in potential funding grants tied to the National Reconstruction Fund, the bill will go to the senate next week after passing in the Lower House on March 9.

The Australian Information Security Association (AISA) Cyber Conference (CyberCon) is scheduled to be held in Canberra next week, over 20-22 March. Cyber minister Clare O’Neil will give a keynote address alongside former PM John Howard, with Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield also making an appearance. The full program is here.


In emerging technology news, the South Australian Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (SA JACET), comprising officers from the AFP and South Australian Police, issued a press release stating that a “new technology” was used to identify and charge an Adelaide man for multiple child abuse offences, but have refused to reveal what the tech is, despite repeated media inquiries.

The entire Sydney train network came to a stand-still for two hours last Wednesday afternoon, after Digital Train Radio System (DTRS) broke down. Presumably this makes it a bit more likely that the $660 million tentatively announced for the second tranche of the Digital Systems train signaling and control system in the last budget will go ahead. Premier Perrotett said there was no indication there was a cyber-attack on the network. Train drivers have been issued with hand-held radios.


Plenty of news out of the UK this week:

The UK Budget will be released on Wednesday, with press reporting that Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will try to address labour force participation.

Legislators are reintroducing a bill to reduce the number of repetitive "cookie" pop-ups that users encounter online. The Data Protection and Digital Information Bill would replace pop-ups with browser-based opt-outs. The bill was introduced and then withdrawn last year (our favourite headline: Cookie Consent Crumbles).

And, finishing where we started (with dramatic international collaboration announcements), UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak met the French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris over the weekend. The Joint Leaders Declaration comes in at a touch over 8500 words and includes commitments to cooperate on the deployment of new digital intelligence capabilities, cyber crime, cyber warfare, international cyber governance, emerging technologies (AI, Quantum), and the announcement of a permanent Anglo-French naval deployment in the Indo-Pacific.

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