Parliamentary security committee review backs the operation of controversial TOLA Act

The controversial Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Act 2018, has received the backing of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) in its review of the laws.

The TOLA Act, passed three years ago, was criticised heavily when it first became law as it gave intelligence and law enforcement agencies powers to request or demand assistance from communications providers to access encrypted communications.

Since its passing, the most public display of these powers has been Operation Ironside, which AFP commissioner Reece Kershaw last year labelled as the Australian Federal Police’s (AFP) “most significant operation in policing history”.

In the PJCIS’ review [PDF] of the legislation, it supported the powers enacted in the laws but recommended additional safeguards and oversight mechanisms aimed at providing the public with confidence the legislation would be used proportionally and for its intended purpose.

“Agencies have made the case that these powers remain necessary to combat serious national security threats, and some of the worst fears held by industry at the time of passage have not been realised,” committee chair and Liberal Senator James Paterson said.

Among those recommended safeguards are that any law enforcement requests cannot result in any persons being detained, as well

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