Improving the Digital Lives of Australians
auDA’s Public Policy Agenda sets out the issues central to our policy and advocacy activity during 2023-24.
Our public policy priorities are underpinned by our strategic aim to champion an open, free, secure and global internet, and to ensure that Australians and Australian businesses have trust in the .au domain.
Today, the internet is the medium for information exchange, social interaction, cooperation and commerce. We believe that social and economic wellbeing of Australians is inextricably linked to their ability to seize the opportunities presented by the internet and digital technologies.
According to the Australian Communications and Media Authority, 99 per cent of Australian adults are using the internet. auDA’s research found that Australians continue to recognise the internet’s positive impact with 98 per cent saying the internet delivers value to their lives and one third of Australians claiming they could not live without the internet.
In the years ahead, internet-enabled technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, Internet of Things, 5G and quantum computing will allow people to do even more things on the internet. To take advantage of these developments, it is vital that people can be confident in the internet’s integrity, security and privacy.
auDA believes that an empowering and secure digital environment that puts people first should be a core policy goal of the digital age.
To support Australians in maximising the social and economic benefits the internet offers, auDA’s Public Policy Agenda includes matters central to a trusted and secure online world, which the DNS plays an integral role in.
In 2023-2024, auDA’s policy and advocacy work will focus on three priority areas: (1) cyber security, (2) privacy, and (3) digital identity.
We chose these areas for this year because they are topics of public concern, and of policy attention. Whether it is in developing a new cyber security strategy, improving privacy law or developing Australia’s digital identity system, these topics matter for all those interested in internet policy in 2023-24.
Have your say
We plan to revise this Agenda each year, and welcome feedback on any aspect - the issues and their importance, or our stance on them.
Public policy priorities for 2023-2024
Cyber security is essential to uphold and preserve a secure and resilient DNS. It is not only an operational priority for auDA, it is also a key requirement for a healthy digital world. That is why auDA regards cyber security broadly, in the context of the digital economy and society.
Security is vital to people’s digital lives. It requires both changes to cyber security policy and strategy for government and industry, and new skills and behaviour adopted by everyone in the online world.
auDA believes cyber security policy and strategy should be regarded broadly and not through a narrow national security lens.
Stronger cyber security is an essential element in improving the digital lives of Australians. Balanced effectively with needs for innovation and investment, the outcome will be a continued flow of new products and services that are secure as well as useful.
Our advocacy will share this perspective, and our operational work will continue to contribute to stronger cyber security by minimising DNS abuse and investing in a strong and resilient .au.
The security and resilience of the DNS cannot be examined solely through the lens of cyber security. It is also impacted by other policy areas such as privacy. auDA continuously assesses privacy implication of the DNS. We support the right to privacy, while balancing the needs to access domain name registration data in the public interest.
Considering the vast amount of data Australians share via the internet, auDA also assesses privacy through a public policy lens. Privacy, anchored in a robust legal framework, is foundational to protecting Australians’ rights and freedoms in the digital world. As the Government conducts its review of the Privacy Act, we will actively engage and contribute to the further development of relevant policies and laws.
auDA believes that privacy principles and laws should encourage organisations to minimise the collection, retention, and utilisation of individuals’ personal and sensitive information.
By giving Australians more control over their data and who their data is shared with, their trust and confidence in the online world would be enhanced. By minimising data collection and retention, the consequences of data security breaches will be reduced.
As the online world becomes more immersive and personalised, the role of our digital identities grows in importance. This requires policymakers to rethink how to best secure Australians’ online identities.
A robust digital identity system would help promote a more secure internet environment by protecting data and ensuring that requests for access to data are appropriate.
Strong identity management is essential in the digital world. Our digital identities are critical enablers to express who we are online. That is why the design and adoption of digital identity systems must take a human-centric approach.
auDA believes that trust in the security of one's own sensitive data, in addition to a user-friendly design, are basic prerequisites for a successful implementation of the digital identity system and the greatest possible acceptance among individuals and businesses.
By embodying fundamental privacy protection principles in digital identity technology, such systems can help mitigate cyber threats and identity fraud. By offering authoritative identity information in easy to use, secure services, the amount of personal information collected and stored as people live their digital lives can be reduced.
Other areas of attention: policy coherence and technology change
Many technology policy matters (e.g. privacy, cyber security, and digital identity) cross policy and regulatory silos and boundaries. Such policy matters can be most efficiently and effectively addressed through a better coordinated and coherent regulatory approach by governments and regulators. We advocate for this multi-stakeholder approach across our public policy advocacy initiatives. auDA agrees with Government comment set out in consultations on, for example, artificial intelligence and cyber security policy matters that a coordinated and coherent approach to technology policy and regulation should be pursued. auDA believes that such an approach should involve all relevant policymakers and regulators.
Technological change gives rise to new opportunities for Australians in their digital lives, and sometimes presents new challenges to overcome. We keep abreast of technology changes that impact on the digital lives of Australians and will offer perspectives on them where we have knowledge due to our work, or where they have a significant impact on the social and economic benefits people can realise from the internet and digital technologies.