Home Affairs wants to expand telco security reform notification requirements

Under Australia’s Telecommunications Sector Security Reforms (TSSR), all carriers and nominated carriage service providers (C/NCSPs) are required to notify the Communications Access Coordinator (CAC) of proposed changes to their telecommunications systems or services if they become aware of any proposed changes that are likely to have a “material adverse effect” on their capacity to comply with security obligations.

As of 30 June 2020, the Department of Home Affairs has received a total of 66 notifications. It told the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) the notifications received from carriers to date represented the vast majority of the fixed-line and mobile telecommunications market in Australia.

In its submission [PDF] to the PJCIS, Home Affairs suggested additional types of notices “with more nuanced language” to reflect various levels and types of risk and the urgency of adopting further mitigations.

See also: The disappointment of Australia’s new cybersecurity strategy

“Home Affairs

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Phone and internet customers reveal debt trouble with telco companies during pandemic

Phone and internet customers say they are being disconnected, harassed by debt collectors and generally treated harshly by their telco providers when they need help, negatively impacting mental health.

The Consumer Action Law Centre has released a report detailing stories of people struggling to pay their phone and internet bills, with some fearing homelessness due to losing their job during the pandemic.

Despite a federal moratorium on evictions and banks allowing mortgage repayments to be deferred during the pandemic, debt collectors have continued to contact telco customers demanding repayments.

James* was one of those customers.

The 23-year-old lives in Melbourne and identifies as Aboriginal. He’s studying for a Cert III and receives JobSeeker and the Mobility Allowance for his disability.

He was contacted by debt collectors for multiple debts, including for a buy-now-pay-later purchase, a payday loan, a consumer lease and a Telstra debt of nearly $3,000 from three years

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