This week political parties across Parliament received security briefings from the government on how to ensure their data was secure in order to avoid a DNC-style hack in Australia. It was a rather astonishing admission from the minister responsible for national security agencies that Attorney-General George Brandis uses communications applications that had not been assessed or approved for use by Australian Signals Directorate (ASD).

In a question on notice from October’s estimates hearings, Labor asked Brandis whether he used WhatsApp or any other communications application not approved by ASD. In the response published yesterday, Brandis provided a one-word response: yes. ASD said in the same response that it had done no formal assessment of WhatsApp and had no idea where WhatsApp servers were located. Will ministers get in trouble for using apps not approved for use by ASD? The Attorney-General’s Department said it couldn’t comment on the conduct of ministers.

Peter Fray

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