• Lance Corporal Anthony Neale of the Defence Force School of Signals. Defence
    Lance Corporal Anthony Neale of the Defence Force School of Signals. Defence

Defence has submitted feedback to the Defence Trade Controls Act review calling for greater control over Australian tech exports that contribute to national security.

The Defence Trade Controls Act prevents the "unauthorised supply, and in certain instances publication, of defence technology, and for the brokering of defence goods and technology without a permit."

The review, headed by Dr Vivienne Thom, will assess "whether the Act is fit for purpose, particularly whether it adequately safeguards national defence capability and prevents trade and collaboration that could unwittingly advance the military capabilities of potential adversaries."

"The Review will also identify gaps in the Act’s controls, any unintended consequences arising from the Act, such as unnecessary regulatory burden, and other relevant matters."

The review is currently accepting public submissions.

Defence is arguing that changes in the way technology is shared justify greater government oversight of tech-related exports in order to maintain a capability edge. The sharing of code and cyber tools, for example, can occur inside or outside Australia without crossing a physical border.

"A risk-targeted approach could be adopted to allow the government to identify significant security and defence technology, and require transfers of this technology to be reviewed and approved by government before it is given to certain foreign entities," the submission argues.

Specifically, Defence is requesting that anybody wishing to send technology to foreign entities that Defence identifies as "significant to developing or maintaining national defence capability" must apply for a permit.

It is also requesting the discretion to prohibit such transfers as it sees fit.

The move may face opposition from start-ups, researchers, and other players concerned about administrative overreach. 

comments powered by Disqus