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Launch of IIA [Internet Industry Association] Security Portal, National Library, Canberra.



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MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS, INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND THE ARTS

SENATOR RICHARD ALSTON

Launch of IIA Security Portal

Thursday 14 August 2003

National Library, Canberra

(Check against delivery)

Tom Kennedy [Chair of IIA]; Peter Coroneos [Chief Executive, IIA]; Jonathan Brake [Executive Director of Micro Home Business Association and member of COSBOA]; ladies and gentlemen.

● I am delighted to launch the Internet Industry Association's new Security Portal-a tool that

will help home users and small and medium businesses explore the benefits of being on-line with greater confidence.

● I think it has taken many businesses a while to absorb the fact that they need to approach

information security in much the same way as they approach the physical security of their shopfronts and their stock. Just as no-one would dream of opening a new store without taking at least some measures to minimise the prospect of burglary, no-one should be thinking about establishing an online presence for their business without taking appropriate measures to ensure its security-the electronic equivalent of the back-to-base alarm.

● I congratulate the IIA for its initiative in developing this portal. It is another example of a

very proactive stance the IIA has taken to assist the clients of its members.

● It comes on the back of some other Association initiatives, such as the National Spam

initiative, which offered free trials of anti-spam software, and the draft Cybercrime Code of Practice, which was recently released for consultation. This draft code defines the rights and responsibilities of Internet Service Providers in meeting their enforcement cooperation obligations, while preserving, to the full extent of the law, the sanctity of customers' personal information. It is an excellent example of the association working closely with law enforcement and national security agencies.

● The Government has developed a comprehensive approach to security. The effort is being

concentrated in three main areas:

- Firstly, the Prime Minister has outlined a national security campaign which encompasses all Australians.

- Secondly, the Government is beefing up arrangements relating to the protection of the nation's critical infrastructure. I outlined those arrangements jointly with the

Attorney-General last November. A partnership is being forged between industry and government to protect critical areas of the national economy. The aim is to create a Trusted Information Sharing Network on critical infrastructure to underpin this process.

- The third priority is to improve the awareness and understanding of e-security issues right across the economy. The National Office for the Information Economy has been focusing on fostering a culture of security within organisations. The Government has also taken steps to negotiate with AusCERT for an enhanced security alerts and incident reporting service. This too will bolster our national information security effort.

● The Government is determined that SMEs should not lag too far behind larger companies

in capturing the productivity benefits the Internet offers. That is why we have committed $6.5 million over two years to accelerate the uptake of e-business by Australian SMEs.

● The Government was pleased to be able to support the IIA security portal, as it will help

tackle one of the major barriers to greater SME engagement in e-business-security.

● While it is pleasing that the latest Yellow Pages E-Business Report, released last month,

showed continuing growth in the number of SMEs getting online, the report also reveals that the single biggest concern for SMEs engaging in e-business is the prospect of outsiders hacking into their systems.

● Nothing will dent confidence faster than facing a danger when we aren't sure of its

dimensions and we don't know what defences we ought to use against it. The IIA Security Portal not only gives SMEs a realistic idea of the risks they face, but an understanding of what they can do to protect themselves. The result is not only greater security, but greater confidence-two of the most important ingredients for a successful transition to e-business.

● Like the IIA, the Government wants to see all Australian businesses enjoy the potential

benefits of e-business.

● Over the past 18 months the Government has released a range of tools to help SMEs to

get on-line and more actively engaged in e-business.

● I recently launched the e-businessguide for small business - a comprehensive resource

that maps out all the steps necessary to getting on-line and getting started in e-business.

● The Guide incorporates previously released products:

- Trusting the Internet- a series of guides and fact sheets to help small businesses understand online security

-Broadband for Small Business - an explanation of broadband technologies and the business case for its take-up; and

- Advancing with e-business - 50 case studies showing real-life small businesses successfully implementing e-business tools and techniques.

● This IIA's security portal initiative complements the e-businessguide well. While there is a

comprehensive section on protecting in the guide, a link to this portal will give users access to other more detailed information and advice.

● Of course, linking people and information is what portals are all about. They are not about

re-inventing the wheel-or re-writing the 'how-to' manual. The goal of this IIA portal is to bring together the best available information about Internet security issues and solutions.

● I am pleased to see that the portal includes information, advice and links, both domestic

and international, dealing with spam, viruses and fraud-three particular threats to confidence and security.

Spam

● Spam is more than just a nuisance and an aggravation. It is costly, disruptive, a threat to

IT systems and, some believe, a potential threat to the future of the Internet.

● In April this year NOIE published a comprehensive report into spam in Australia. Its

recommendations have been widely supported by business and the community. Cabinet has since agreed to strategy for dealing with spam that will send a clear message that spamming will not be tolerated.

● This strategy will use a combination of legislation, industry initiatives, international

cooperation and public education to give Australians the strongest possible protection against spam.

● The legislation is being drafted now and I expect to introduce it into Parliament next

month. To be enforced by the Australian Communications Authority, it will:

- prohibit the sending of commercial electronic messages without the prior consent of those on the receiving end, unless there is an existing customer-business relationship-in other words, it will be an opt-in regime;

- establish civil sanctions, including financial penalties, an infringement notice scheme and enforceable undertakings and injunctions;

- require all commercial electronic messages to contain accurate details, including the sender's name and physical address;

- require those sending commercial electronic messages to provide an 'unsubscribe' facility, enabling people to opt-out; and

- ban e-mail 'harvesting' or list-generating software.

● The tools and information accessible through the IIA Security Portal will complement the

Government's legislation, providing consumers with practical advice on how to protect themselves, and access to effective tools to filter out most spam.

● Together, these resources will give substantial and lasting relief to Australian businesses

and households.

Conclusion

● Obviously I have only been able to touch today on a few of the services and resources

gathered together in this excellent portal. But I trust you have an idea of its scope and its usefulness.

● Once again, the Government, through NOIE, has been pleased to have been able to

provide financial support to this project.

● Congratulations to the IIA and to the other sponsors who have supported the development

of this important resource. I hope it will be an important means of increasing the confidence of Australians in the online environment .

● It gives me great pleasure to officially launch the IIA Security Portal.