Parliament closes loopholes in spying laws

·1-min read

Australians spying on their own country will face tougher scrutiny under law changes passed by the federal parliament on Thursday.

Until now, if an agency is collecting intelligence on an Australian working overseas for a foreign intelligence service, and the person returns to Australia, that agency must immediately cease its activities.

The law changes will enable agencies to continue collecting this intelligence.

Another reform will address the problem of intelligence agencies being unable to intercept communications where there is even the smallest risk of incidentally collecting a domestic communication.

The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation - for the purpose of obtaining foreign intelligence from foreign communications - will be able to obtain a warrant that authorises the collection of a communication which may not have a clear geographic location.

The change is expected to help tackle such threats as cyber attacks targeting Australian interests, terrorist communications and foreign interference.

A number of safeguards have been put into the laws including oversight by the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security.

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