What should Australians give up in interest of national security?

May 29, 2006

A one-day workshop conducted today (May 29) focused on the bounds for the various issues in the big picture question of Security v Civil Liberties.

The workshop examined such issues as what must Australians be prepared to give up in the interest of national security. Participants questioned whether Australians would be prepared to carry smart ID cards, have their fingerprint taken or be tracked through the use of transponder technology.

Academics from different disciplines converged on UOW 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.

Workshop Chair and Senior Lecturer from Information Technology and Computer Science, Dr Katina Michael, said workshop participants learnt 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.

The workshop was 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.

Dr Michael said the cross-disciplinary workshop sought 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.

She 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.”



Pictured at the workshop are some of the presenters (from left): James Stellios, M.G. Michael, Simon Bronitt, Peter Croll, Holly Tootell, Katina Michael, Marcus Wigan, Lauren May, Mark Burdon, Lucy Resnyansky, Margaret Jackson, Jennifer Seberry, Mary Barrett, Roba Abbas, Chris Puplick and Supriya Singh (absent are Mark Rix and Suzanne Lockhart)

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