Australia news live: watchdog warning to Optus customers as Coalition calls for tougher data protection laws | Australian politics


ACCC warning to Optus customers

Australia’s competition and consumer watchdog has warned Optus customers they could be at risk of identity theft after a major data hack.

AAP reports:

Cyber criminals could have access to enough information to steal the identities of millions of Optus customers, the consumer watchdog has warned.

The telco confirmed on Thursday users’ names, dates of birth, phone numbers, email addresses, driver’s licence numbers, passport numbers or addresses could all have been accessed in a major breach.

Australian Consumer and Competition Commission deputy chair Delia Rickard said the cyber attack was extremely worrying due to the large amount of personal information fraudsters might be able to access.

These are all the things that you need for identity theft and also all the things you need to personalise a scam and make it much more convincing,” she told Nine’s Today program on Friday.

Optus said users’ payment details and account passwords had not been compromised and it was working with the Australian Cyber Security Centre to limit the risk to both current and former customers.

Australian Federal Police, the Office of the Australian Information Regulator and other key regulators have also been notified.

Ms Rickard said any Optus customers who suspected they were victims of fraud should request a ban on their credit records and be highly sceptical of unexpected calls from people purporting to represent banks or government agencies.

The government has initiated a review into data security on social media platforms, however opposition communications spokeswoman Sarah Henderson said the action was “too little, too late”.

Optus chief executive Kelly Bayer Rosmarin said the telco took action to block the attack as soon as it learned of the breach.

While not everyone may be affected and our investigation is not yet complete, we want all of our customers to be aware of what has happened as soon as possible so that they can increase their vigilance,” she said. “We are very sorry and understand customers will be concerned. Please be assured that we are working hard … to help safeguard our customers as much as possible.”

Scamwatch has advised Optus customers to secure their personal information by changing online account passwords and enabling multi-factor authentication for banking.

Affected customers should also place limits on bank accounts as well as monitoring for any unusual activity.

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner said it would engage with Optus to ensure compliance with the requirements of the Notifiable Data Breaches scheme.

Under the framework, organisations covered by the Privacy Act must notify affected individuals as quickly as possible if they experience a data breach likely to result in serious harm.

Key events

In New South Wales politics this has just happened:

The Senate is also up and about with a condolence motion being held in the upper house as well.

Parliament’s condolence motion begins

The parliament has opened and the condolence motion has begun.

Anthony Albanese is addressing the parliament, praising the Queen for her service.

ACCC warning to Optus customers

Australia’s competition and consumer watchdog has warned Optus customers they could be at risk of identity theft after a major data hack.

AAP reports:

Cyber criminals could have access to enough information to steal the identities of millions of Optus customers, the consumer watchdog has warned.

The telco confirmed on Thursday users’ names, dates of birth, phone numbers, email addresses, driver’s licence numbers, passport numbers or addresses could all have been accessed in a major breach.

Australian Consumer and Competition Commission deputy chair Delia Rickard said the cyber attack was extremely worrying due to the large amount of personal information fraudsters might be able to access.

These are all the things that you need for identity theft and also all the things you need to personalise a scam and make it much more convincing,” she told Nine’s Today program on Friday.

Optus said users’ payment details and account passwords had not been compromised and it was working with the Australian Cyber Security Centre to limit the risk to both current and former customers.

Australian Federal Police, the Office of the Australian Information Regulator and other key regulators have also been notified.

Ms Rickard said any Optus customers who suspected they were victims of fraud should request a ban on their credit records and be highly sceptical of unexpected calls from people purporting to represent banks or government agencies.

The government has initiated a review into data security on social media platforms, however opposition communications spokeswoman Sarah Henderson said the action was “too little, too late”.

Optus chief executive Kelly Bayer Rosmarin said the telco took action to block the attack as soon as it learned of the breach.

While not everyone may be affected and our investigation is not yet complete, we want all of our customers to be aware of what has happened as soon as possible so that they can increase their vigilance,” she said. “We are very sorry and understand customers will be concerned. Please be assured that we are working hard … to help safeguard our customers as much as possible.”

Scamwatch has advised Optus customers to secure their personal information by changing online account passwords and enabling multi-factor authentication for banking.

Affected customers should also place limits on bank accounts as well as monitoring for any unusual activity.

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner said it would engage with Optus to ensure compliance with the requirements of the Notifiable Data Breaches scheme.

Under the framework, organisations covered by the Privacy Act must notify affected individuals as quickly as possible if they experience a data breach likely to result in serious harm.

Ben Butler

Ben Butler

Fewer women board members on freshly listed companies, analysis reveals

Freshly listed companies are lagging the rest of corporate Australia in appointing women to their boards, the Australian Institute of Company Directors says.

Its annual gender diversity report, out today, shows that women make up 35.1% of board members at the top 200 listed companies.

However, among companies that have just listed on the exchange through an initial public offering of shares, only 11.4% of directors are women. The average is worst in the materials sector, which includes mining, where only 5% of directors are women.

The AICD’s chief executive, Mark Rigotti, said companies preparing for an IPO had a lot on their plates, but they were “about to join the adult table” and needed to devote resources to ensuring board diversity rather than sticking to the network of people they already knew.

“In an IPO market, it’s easier to default to that, rather than to make the extra effort to look further afield to find capacity that frankly, your investors are going to require you to have down the track,” he said.

He said mining companies also tended to be smaller IPOs with boards of as few as three people that often include a geologist – a male-dominated profession at senior levels.

At big companies, the next frontier is to increase the proportion of women who chair boards and important sub-committees that oversee areas including remuneration, risk and environmental, social and governance issues.

Rigotti said getting more women into chair positions could be a big change because investors typically do not approve of the same person holding the position at more than two companies.

“That would open up a lot of roles over time,” he said.

National Retail Association opposes multi-employer bargaining changes

The National Retail Association has kicked off the first day of politics as usual with a push back against the multi-employer bargaining talk.

That is one of the things which came out of the jobs summit – with the government now examining how multi-employer bargaining could work. It’s not sector or industry wide – we know that much – and we know any potential move towards it would not interfere with agreements already made. It’s designed to help workers in smaller organisations be able to get a better deal – because they wouldn’t have to negotiate alone. Given the lack of wage growth, this has been seen as a potential positive, but of course there are reservations.

Like the NRA’s.

Here is part of their statement:

The National Retail Association analysis of the proposed changes says they would create an enterprise bargaining system that was “simply blind to the intricacies and individualities of independent businesses and their employees”.

“Industry-wide bargaining is not a targeted or means tested approach. It is a ‘one-size fits all’ view which will see groups of employers and employees left behind,” it says.

“Industry-wide bargaining would see small and medium sized employers, who otherwise would rely on modern award entitlements, forced to engage in the time and cost of bargaining, or face being subject to agreements bargained for by other businesses which may be prejudicial or detrimental to their business.”

Such a scheme would not make any allowance for the size of a business, the needs of their employees, the different conditions and roles of different businesses, or even the cost of engaging in bargaining.

Parliament will resume for normal business from Monday, but the PM won’t be there – he will be in Japan for Shinzo Abe’s funeral.

Australia’s delegation includes former prime ministers Kevin Rudd, Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull.

Coalition calls for tougher data protection laws

Remember how we said it was politics as usual?

Here is Sarah Henderson’s response to the Optus data breach:

For months, the opposition has been calling on the Albanese Government to deliver tougher online privacy and data protection laws.

While the cause of this massive data breach is under investigation including assessing whether Optus customers have suffered any harm, this incident must serve as a dramatic wakeup call for the government.

In July, I joined with Shadow Attorney-General, Julian Leeser, to call on Labor to adopt the Coalition’s Online Privacy Bill.

Earlier this month, I joined with Mr Leeser and Shadow Minister for Cyber Security and Countering Foreign Interference, Senator James Paterson, to condemn the Albanese Government for its failure to strengthen online privacy and data protection laws.

While the government has initiated a Department of Home Affairs review into data security on social media platforms such as TikTok, this won’t be completed until next year. This is all too little, too late. It is also concerning that Labor’s Communications Minister, Michelle Rowland, has shown no interest in this issue.

Rather than kick the can down the road, Labor must urgently consider all regulatory options and act immediately to improve the privacy and safety of Australians online.

If you are reading this from Victoria, we hope you are enjoying your Friday public holiday.

Good morning

Parliament is back (sort of) and with the national day of mourning past, it is back to politics as usual (also sort of)

The condolence motion for the Queen kicks off at 8am for this special parliament sitting. As you would expect, the prime minister is first off the line, with all the party leaders following.

Once that is all done and dusted, any other MP who wishes to speak gets a five-minute speaking slot.

There is going to be a lot of repetition and tenuous links to the Queen, so brace yourself.

Meanwhile, in New York, Penny Wong is preparing to meet with her Chinese government counterpart, Wang Yi, for what would be a second meeting.

We say preparing because these things don’t happen until they happen.

We’ll be keeping an eye on the rain in NSW as well and anything else which pops up.

It is going to be a five-coffee day. At least.

Ready?

Let’s get into it.




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