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Central Government, Government Cloud, Information Security

Australia tightens G-cloud privacy

New guidelines released by the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) recommend that agencies tackle privacy concerns when adopting the public cloud or other virtualised services.


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AGIMO’s “Best-Practice Guide” to cloud deployment says cloud computing “poses a range of privacy issues” that need addressing through legal, contractual and operational procedures between agencies and cloud service providers.

Where an agency cannot adequately address its privacy obligations, it will not be appropriate to transfer that information into a public cloud environment.”

Australia is aware of global issues surrounding the privacy and security of information in the public cloud, says AGIMO’s First Assistant Secretary, Glenn Archer.

Government “checkpoints” for cloud deployment will help monitor how personal information is stored and processed, where this information is located, and how data breaches are tracked and notified.

Cloud data storage and cross-border privacy legislation also come up for scrutiny.

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner says agencies should carefully assess “potential privacy impacts” from cloud services through “Privacy Impact Assessments.” These assessments can determine if cloud services offer the best ICT migration path.

Australia is working with international and national bodies to tackle cloud privacy and security concerns, including the International Standards Organisation / International Electrotechnical Commission Joint Technical Committee 1 (ISO/IEC JTC1) and the Australian National Standing Committee on Cloud Computing.

Organisations involved in cloud privacy and security policy include the Defence Signals Directorate, National Archives of Australia, Australian Government Solicitor, and the Department of Finance and Deregulation.

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On 29 February 2012 Dr Steve Hodgkinson wrote:

Being cautious is necessary, but not sufficient. The big challenge for many agencies is that the current approach to ICT is unsustainable in the face of budget cuts, skill shortges and ageing assets. The bigger, near and present, danger is the privacy and security risks that already exist in public sector ICT systems … as revealed every year in audit reports.

What we need is more of a bias towards innovation and action … otherwise we will see a repeat of the use of 'Privacy' as a showstopping barrier to innovation in the public sector.

Australia continues to be preoccupied about the potentaial, over the horizon, risks of public cloud services while being complacent about the actual risks that exist today within many agencies.

On 16 November 2012 heel lifts insoles wrote:

What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that
we love deeply becomes a part of us.

On 16 November 2012 heel lifts insoles wrote:

Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.

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