The sensitive information of Australians should only be hosted on Australian servers, the government will announce today.
Government Services Minister, Stuart Robert, will announce the intention for more data sovereignty in a speech to the National Press Club today.
“We are examining the sovereignty requirements that should apply to certain data sets held by government, in addition to the existing Protected Security Policy Framework," Robert will say, according to an advance copy of his speech.
"This will include considering whether certain data sets of concern to the public should be declared sovereign data sets and should only be hosted in Australia, in an accredited Australian data centre, across Australian networks and only accessed by the Australian government and our Australian service providers."
The government leans heavily on cloud systems from US tech giants like Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS) for digital transformation projects.
Its use of US cloud services for sensitive data was criticised recently, however, when it was revealed that data obtained from the COVIDSafe app would be stored on AWS, with the ABC raising concerns that Australian data might not be safe from the US CLOUD Act – a law that can see US cloud companies surrendering data under subpoena regardless of where it is stored.
Robert – who once charged taxpayers nearly $38,000 for his internet bill – will say the government spends “a significant amount of money” on technology and wants to see more return on investment.
"I believe we must make better collective use of that money, as well as use government procurement as an effective tool for creating jobs and contributing to economic recovery in the period ahead,” he will say at the Press Club.
"We currently have to seek hardware and software providers, system integrators, consultants and advisers in separate approaches to market in order to get the end-to-end capabilities we need to deliver a platform.
"If we are to spend hundreds of millions on certain platforms or technologies, these platforms should be scalable or repeatable across government so we can achieve that vision of simple and helpful government services.”
Digital infrastructure projects have been regular sources of angst for the government from the troubled My Health Record rollout and the failed ‘robodebt’ recovery scheme, to simply keeping websites running during periods of high load.
A focus on local technology appears to comprise part of the government’s economic recovery plan, with Robert claiming the government wants to “promote the role of Australian innovation” and “prioritise Australian jobs” as part of its digital and data sovereign transformation strategy.
Robert’s speech will continue a recent trend of government announcements focusing on developing Australian sovereign capabilities.
After delivering his warning that Australia was under cyber attack, the Prime Minister last week announced a $1.35 billion package to develop Australia’s cyber security industry, promising to create 500 new jobs within the Australian Signals Directorate.
He followed that up with a boosted $270 billion defence budget that aims to boast Australia as a regional power, shifting away from a strategic reliance on US military might.