New Australian Cybersecurity Law to Protect Students from Beijing Spies

Chinese students at Australian universities could soon be protected from Beijing espionage under new cybersecurity legislation.

A joint committee of the Information Security Council said university leaders did not do enough to protect family-fearing students while under pressure from China.

At a hearing on Friday, Senator James Patterson, chairman, said the university has a legal obligation to protect student welfare and a moral responsibility to protect academic freedom.

“If they are spyed on by fellow students or others and you haven’t taken steps to protect them from it, you’re disappointing them,” he said.

The incident at the University of Technology Sydney was told, and students were threatened with silence by other students on social media.

Luke Shihee, Executive Director of the Australian University Technology Network, said their group emphasizes freedom of speech, student safety, and open educational institutions.

“It has a lot to do with us,” said Shihee.

However, he said it was difficult to intervene because students run their own networks throughout the university to communicate and coordinate harassment of their targets.

Patterson quoted Human Rights Watch’s recent report revealing how universities failed to protect the freedom of Chinese students and scholars who criticized the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

The report revealed various incidents of 24 students and 22 scholars, and their experience in Australia under Beijing supervision.

“Australian universities rely on the fees offered by international students while blinding to concerns about harassment and surveillance by the Chinese government and its agents,” said report author Sophie McNeill. ..

The University of Innovative Research (IRU) stated in its opening statement that the university played an important role in the country’s infrastructure.

“Cybersecurity targets an area of ​​great concern that the university’s commitment to disclosing and sharing information to advance knowledge counters stakeholders who could disrupt our operations.” IRU Secretary-General Connor King said. “Interruption of our business can cause serious damage over a long period of time.”

The newly proposed law requires universities to be incorporated as an important national infrastructure and to report cyber attacks promptly.

AAP contributed to this article.

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