Greens call for digital rights commissioner

Party unveils NBN migration fund policy, pushes for Federal Telecommunications Concession

The Australian Greens have called for the establishment of a “digital rights commissioner” as part of a suite of new policies unveiled yesterday by the party.

Greens digital rights spokesperson Senator Jordon Steele-John said that in recent years there had been a “truly terrifying expansion” of the powers of the Department of Home Affairs with the support of both the Coalition and Labor.

“Meanwhile we’ve seen the equally terrifying rise of surveillance capitalism and data-farming – pioneered by Facebook – that has already had a significant impact on democracies across the world,” the senator added.

The Greens said that they would push for the repeal of Australia’s mandatory data retention regime as well as update and strengthen privacy laws.

“If we don’t make a concerted effort now to enshrine our digital rights in legislation and follow the lead of world leaders in this space – such as the recently enacted GDPR in the European Union – then we will never be able to wind back government overreach in this space,” Steele-John said.

Steele-John said that the Greens supported a $1.3 billion ‘Federal Telecommunications Concession’ for holders of a DHS Health Care Card to replace the existing telephone allowance, and a $250 million NBN migration program.

The senator said that the government’s “multi-technology mix” approach to the NBN rollout had been a “disaster” and “left many Australians without affordable or reliable services.”

“We are committed to fixing the NBN and ensuring all Australian’s have access to affordable and reliable high-quality internet and voice services for the 21st century,” he said.

The party is also advocating for $58 million over four years to boost captioning, audio description, relay and translation services; $3.5 million over four years to establish a National Disability Telecommunications Service; and $1.1 million over four years to “establish a safe, dedicated online platform for the promotion of discussion, debate and cultural development within the disability community”.

The video games development industry would have access to a $100 million Games Investment & Enterprise Fund, film and TV offsets, and a $5 million creative co-working spaces fund, under proposals unveiled by the Greens.

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Tags privacyTelecommunicationsdigital rightsGreenswar on mathsJordon Steele-John

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