Discuss about the Vetting Procedures and Counter Surveillance Measures.
In Australia, vetting is a common practice carried out by a majority of the employers. It is done to check criminal records where necessary and as a security measure against insider threat. Mainly, the vetting process comprises of police checks, past employment history, an employee’s qualifications, traffic convictions, tenancy, financial and psychometric assessments. Overall, the process varies depending on the reason for vetting. Moreover, companies are also using counter surveillance measures. The use of vetting and counter surveillance measures is among the many ways corporates and individuals are enhancing the security of information and assets.
The Vetting Procedure for Australian security clearance
For the Australian government, vetting entails personnel security practices carried out on its employees to ensure they have security clearance to access government resources. Security clearance is accorded depending on four levels which are Baseline Personnel Security Standard, Counter Terrorist Check, Security Check and Developed Vetting. The vetting process is conducted by vetting agencies such as Australian Government Security Vetting Agency (AGSVA) and other authorized agencies. However, the Australian Government Security Vetting Agency is mandated to offer security clearances for a majority of the government, state and territory agencies. Generally, this vetting process has various stages.
The first stage is the where agencies decide which are the requirements for the security clearance. In the second stage, the vetting agency that is hired issues the clearance pack after confirming the requirements. Afterward, the person who wants the clearance, clearance subject, completes the pack and provides documents as supporting evidence. Later the clearance pack is processed while various checks are conducted. The assessing officers in the vetting agency then recommend whether the clearance should be granted or denied and the information is passed to the delegate. At this stage, the delegate makes a decision which must be in line with the recommendation of the assessing officer. If there are any disagreements, the clearance is returned to the assessing officer. If no issues arise, the agency is supposed to advise the applicant of the outcome. Lastly, the agency conducts periodic checks to ensure the holder is still suitable for the clearance. Additionally, the outcome is subject to review and appeal.
Counter Surveillance Equipment
Due to the rise in affordability and availability of surveillance bugs and taps from the internet, the need for surveillance countermeasures has risen. As a result, some retailers offer surveillance countermeasures services. Currently, the equipment used detects bugs from homes, workplaces, and vehicles. The surveillance equipment detected include audio listening bugs, phone bugs, 3G and 4G bugs, GSM bugs, Global Positioning System (GPS) vehicle trackers and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices. The companies that offer these services use the latest digital technology to increase efficiency and effectiveness.
These services range from Technical Surveillance Countermeasures (TSCM) equipment for sale and technicians for hire who can perform the sweep using TSCM. These services are readily available through the internet with companies such as Spy City offering the service at $1,1995 for three hours. Melbourne Investigations offers the detection of hidden cameras, GPS trackers, listening and phone tapping devices. Meanwhile, Prime Investigations offers counter surveillance services that detect GSM bugs, phone taps, GPS trackers and hidden cameras. Other companies such as The Australian Bug Detection Group and National surveillance and intelligence offer bug detection sweeps with use of the latest digital technology.
Vetting of Staff Members for Criminal Records in New Zealand
In New Zealand employers can check criminal records of employees or job applicants. This can be done through the Ministry of Justice and Police vetting information. To obtain this information the employer must first get the consent of the employee or job applicant in written form. In most cases, it is better to vet applicants before hiring them to avoid unnecessary inconveniences when one has to fire someone. In the hiring process, if the employer wishes to obtain criminal records of applicants the application forms should state that the applicants should disclose criminal information and consequences should they fail to do so. Further, the employment agreement should state that employment is done if the employer is satisfied with the findings from the criminal record. Some people are protected by the clean slate rule, and they do not reveal their criminal record.
For the employers who decide to go through the Ministry of Justice, they obtain a list of criminal and traffic convictions where the employee was found guilty. On the other hand, police vetting provides information to approved agencies about employees that care for children, old people and those who are vulnerable in the society. Information is released depending on its relevance to the position of the employee. This information may include court convictions and charges. Employers are also not allowed to use the information obtained to short list candidates. They are to present the information to the employees and give them a chance to explain themselves. In addition, they are obliged to disclose the retention period which for agencies is set at a maximum of twelve months.
In conclusion, vetting is done by most employers for various reasons as aforementioned. Generally, the vetting procedure occurs in different stages depending on the vetting agency and the reason for the vetting process. Additionally, the use of counter surveillance measures is on the rise, and the services are readily available for individuals and corporates. Finally, the vetting process for criminal records differs according to the laws governing a jurisdiction.
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