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Coonan can't hide from spyware.

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DEMOCRATS MEDIA 05/273 TUESDAY 24 MAY 2005 SENATOR BRIAN GREIG AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRATS INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY SPOKESPERSON COONAN CAN'T HIDE FROM SPYWARE The Government’s recent call for ‘ideas’ on how to combat malicious computer “spyware” is a waste of time, given that legislation to deal with the issue has already been put forward by the Australian Democrats following consultation with stakeholders. Democrats' IT spokesperson, Senator Brian Greig, says the homework has already been done, industry is increasingly calling for a stronger response from Government and the Minister could save a lot of time and energy by simply supporting the Democrats’ Spyware Bill. “Once again, the Government has shown it is way behind public opinion and industry momentum when it comes to IT security and privacy and measures to control its abuse,” Senator Greig said. On 18 May, online magazine, reported that Minister Helen Coonan had slammed the Democrats' recently-released Spyware Bill, saying "new legislation was not required." "Curiously, within the space of three days the Minister seems to have had a change of heart, now acknowledges the seriousness of the issue and has instigated a series of public meetings around Australia to talk about the issue. However, all of this will count for little, if it does not result in new and stronger laws," Senator Greig said. Senator Greig says such back flips are common from Government IT Ministers. Previous IT Minister Senator Alston originally declared that Spam was not a problem and could be simply deleted. When the Democrats introduced Anti-spam legislation the Government suddenly had a change of heart and rushed in its own legislation. "The same thing seems to be happening with Spyware," Senator Greig said. “IT rates very low on the Government’s agenda, and it is often jolted into action only when the Democrats lead the way with ideas to address twenty-first century problems such as cybercrime. “The Government’s token effort at gathering public input on this topic is simplistic. A three-week deadline for submissions will not result in comprehensive industry and public participation. A far better approach would be a full Senate inquiry into the existing Democrats Bill so the issue can be dealt with in a practical, not just an abstract, way," Senator Greig said. Media Contact - Di Graham - 08) 9228 3133 or 0417 177 523