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  • Writer's pictureDavid James Connolly

Data Security discussion

Data Security

Data security refers to protecting the information collected, processed, and stored on digital systems and networks. Data has never been more valuable. It is an increasingly important driver of growth in our modern economy. Whether it is data about individuals, businesses or government, data underpins how we communicate, conduct business, and receive services. At the same time it can be stolen, manipulated or used as a weapon by foreign adversaries and criminals.

Australia is harnessing opportunities created by digital technologies and growing the digital economy. It is essential that appropriate data controls and accountability mechanisms are in place to enable a prosperous and secure Australia. This includes the need for a consistent whole-of-economy approach to data security. The Australian Government has delivered strong actions in recent years to meet this evolving digital ecosystem. We acknowledge the valuable feedback that state and territory government agencies and industry have provided throughout these processes.

Data Definition

Data is any information in a form capable of being communicated, analysed or processed (whether by an individual or by computer or other automated means).

  • Data can include personal information, which is information about an individual or an individual who is reasonably identifiable – such as their basic contact details, records generated through their interaction with services or the internet, or information about their biometrics (physical or behavioural characteristics). Data can also include population-level data, such as demographics.

  • Data can include information that can be used to describe location (such as geospatial reference details) or the environment (such as biodiversity or the weather). It can also refer to the information captured or generated by the networks of sensors that make up the Internet of Things.

  • Data about systems can include administrative records about businesses and public services.

National Data Security Action Plan

The development of Australia’s first National Data Security Action Plan (Action Plan) was announced by the Prime Minister, the Hon Scott Morrison, on 6 May 2021 as part of the Digital Economy Strategy. The Action Plan will define a consistent set of national, whole-of-economy expectations for data security.

The Action Plan, as a driver of digital security, is a critical trust and protection measure in the Australian Data Strategy (the Strategy). Released on 14 December 2021, the Strategy sets out a long-term vision to create a national ecosystem of data that is accessible, reliable and relevant. The Strategy has three main tenets – maximising the value of data, trust and protection, and enabling data use. The Strategy is an important step in unlocking the value of data across the economy. To support the Strategy, the Action Plan will take a phased approach to strengthen and coordinate data security policy settings across the Australian Government, state and territory governments and the broader economy.

Discussion paper - call for views

The Department of Home Affairs has released a discussion paper for consultation on the development of the National Data Security Action Plan. The discussion paper details the nature of the evolving threat environment, lays out existing and developing mechanisms to strengthen resilience, and tests proposed options to address identified gaps. The discussion paper seeks to:

  • explore with industry, and state and territory governments, on how the government and business can position itself to meet data security expectations, now and into the future

  • consider how data security responsibilities are best assigned to keep Australians’ data safe

  • open discussion on how Government, businesses and individuals can share responsibility for data security in the future to get the best outcome for everyone.

See the National Data Security Action Plan discussion paper (972KB PDF). We welcome your views on how Government can best deliver and define a whole-of-economy approach to ensure data is appropriately secured, accountable and controlled.

Make a submission

Everyone has a role to play in uplifting Australia’s data security – from families and the community, governments, small businesses to large corporations and academia. We want to hear from everyone who would like to make a contribution.

Submit your responses to the questions the discussion paper asks by using Australia’s National Data Security Action Plan – submission form.

Submissions on the discussion paper will be open until 10 June 2022.

Register for consultation events

In April and May we will be conducting consultations in each state and territory to hear your ideas and better understand some of the data security challenges you face.

Sign up to be kept in the loop and receive emails on upcoming consultation events near you.

Related information

If you have any questions, email

Best regards,

David James Connolly

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