IPCO Announcements

  • Australia’s terror legislation watchdog consults UK partners

    Last week, Australia’s Independent National Security Legislation Monitor (INSLM), Dr James Renwick, visited London as part of his national security consultation.

    During his visit, Dr Renwick met with the UK’s Investigatory Powers Commissioner, Sir Brian Leveson, to learn more about the UK’s use and oversight of investigatory powers. Dr Renwick also met with the Technology Advisory Panel (TAP), which provides information on the impact of changing technology and developments in the use of investigatory powers that could limit privacy interference.

    Sir Brian Leveson, the Investigatory Powers Commissioner, said:

    “I was delighted to welcome Dr Renwick to IPCO and to share with him the ways in which the Investigatory Powers Act provides the assurance of oversight in this very difficult area, providing an appropriate balance between privacy and security.

    “I hope that what this country has done will assist Australia as it grapples with similar issues.”    

    Dr James Renwick, Australia’s INSLM, said:

    “Many of Australia’s agencies do not require a judicially-issued warrant to undertake their activities, and increasingly, Australian civil society is calling for such authorisations. 

    “Learning how IPCO, its judicial commissioners and the Technology Advisory Panel work to review intrusive warrants, often involving complex technology, has been immensely helpful in my consideration of how such a model might work in Australia.” 

    Sir Bernard Silverman, Chair of the Technology Advisory Panel, said:

    “In an increasingly digital world, the Technology Advisory Panel performs an important role in providing Judicial Commissioners with the fullest possible scientific and technical awareness in carrying out their crucial duties. 

    “It is a pleasure to be able to share our experiences with our Australian counterparts and exchange ideas on how best to support oversight processes in both our nations.”

    Appointed by the Prime Minister of Australia in 2017, the INSLM is responsible for reviewing the strength and effectiveness of the country’s counter-terror and national security laws. Dr Renwick is currently consulting for his Review of Australian Telecommunications legislation (TOLA Act 2018). As part of this process, Dr Renwick is consulting with foreign partners, including the UK, on how the law can best regulate the use of modern digital investigatory powers. 

    IPCO has previously worked closely with Australian partners to share best practice, most recently when hosting its Five Eyes Oversight counterparts. IPCO was joined by the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security for Australia, Margaret Stone.