The social implications of national security

May 19, 2006

What must Australians be prepared to give up in the interest of national security? Would they be prepared to carry smart ID cards, have their fingerprint taken or be tracked through the use of transponder technology?

Academics from different disciplines will converge on the University of Wollongong for a one-day workshop on Monday 29 May to determine what the major issues for the Federal Government are in effectively making Australia a safer place in which to live.

Findings from the workshop will be forwarded to the government-funded ARC Research Network for a Secure Australia (RNSA) which is facilitating a knowledge-sharing network for research organisations, government and the private sector to develop research tools and methods to mitigate emerging safety and security issues relating to critical infrastructure.

In effect, the UOW workshop will be focused on the bounds for the various issues in the big picture question of Security v Civil Liberties.

"Workshop participants will learn about the current and potential status of information security measures, to consider their implications on citizens and business, and to identify their impact on legislation and privacy at a local and global level,” according to Workshop Chair and Senior Lecturer from Information Technology and Computer Science, Dr Katina Michael.

Dr Michael said several hundred delegates were expected to attend this important workshop entitled, “The Social Implications of Information Security Measures upon Citizens and Business”. It is a part of the RNSA series of workshops currently under way across the country. The RNSA is a multi-disciplinary collaboration established to strengthen Australia's research capacity to enhance the protection of the nation’s critical infrastructure from natural, human-caused, or accidental disasters, and terrorist acts.

She said the cross-disciplinary workshop was seeking perspectives which covered a diverse array of interest areas such as security, law, philosophy, sociology, religion, politics, history, culture, science and technology studies, and business.

Dr Michael said the diversity was needed citing the example that somebody might set up an engineering security measure but not take into account the social implications behind such a measure. “We need to make sure that we ethically integrate new technologies into society or we run the risk potential for enhanced national security to come at the cost of freedom.”

The workshop includes papers by Professor of Computer Law Margaret Jackson, Professor of Software Engineering Peter Croll, Professor of Management Mary Barrett, Professor of Law Simon Bronitt, Professor of Transport Systems Marcus Wigan, and Associate Professor of Sociology Supriya Singh.

University of Wollongong Lecturer and PhD candidate, Holly Tootell, whose thesis is examining the effects of location-based technologies on society, will also feature. Other professionals include Dr Roger Clarke Principal of Xamax Consultancy, DSTO research scientist Dr Lucy Resnyansky and the Information Security Institute’s Dr Lauren May.

For more details about the workshop visit: Secure Australia

To register for the workshop visit: Register

There are a number of sponsored registrations available to academics and postgraduate researchers working in the field, so please book your place immediately. For other delegates the cost is $200 which covers attendance, proceedings and lunch.

The workshop venue is the UniCentre Function rooms, University of Wollongong and it will run from 8.30am-5pm.

Anyone seeking further information should contact Dr Katina Michael on (02) 4221 3937 or 0431 201 172.



Workshop Chair, Dr Katina Michael (top left), is pictured (top row) with her SITACS colleagues Dr M.G Michael, Ms Holly Tootell and (seated) Ms Roba Abbas and Professor Mary Barrett from the Faculty of Commerce. Absent from the photo were Dr Mark Rix from the Graduate School of Business and Professor Jennifer Seberry from SITACS.

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