Australia PM defends private email server use

Canberra, Oct 9 (IANS) Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Friday defended his use of a private email server for government business.

Well known for his love of technology, the former communications minister said earlier this year he used secret messaging app “Wickr” because it provided superior security, ABC reported.

Wickr claims it allows users to send encrypted messages to other users of the app, leaving no traceable metadata, with the messages self-destructing after being read.

Turnbull’s use of services outside of Federal Parliament’s secure servers has continued since he moved into the Prime Minister’s office, but a spokesman stressed the server is located in Australia.

In a statement, Turnbull’s spokesman said all communications relating to government business, with exemptions, were potentially subject to freedom of information laws, regardless of where they were stored.

The spokesman said many MPs and ministers used private messaging systems for “non-sensitive material for reasons of convenience and superior functionality”.

“The majority of government correspondence is routine and of a non-sensitive nature and is therefore not subject to sensitive security markings,” the spokesman said.

Earlier, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said Turnbull needed to explain his actions.

“Malcolm Turnbull should just come and explain what’s been used, has there been any classified information sent,” he said.

According to cyber analysts, the use of a private email server could be more vulnerable to hacking than the federal parliament’s secure system and it could also end up subverting freedom-of-information laws.

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