Security Classified Information is defined as information that, if compromised, could have adverse consequences. The Security Classification System is an organisation’s mechanism for protecting the confidentiality of information generated by it or provided to it. The security classification system is implemented by assigning protective markings, such as TOP SECRET. The protective marking not only shows the value of the information but also indicates the minimum level of protection it must be afforded to safeguard it from compromise.
Figure 10.1 – Victoria Police Law Enforcement Data Classification Scheme
Figure 10.1 illustrates the forms of classified law enforcement data that exist within Victoria Police, the likely location of such data and the requirement to implement Australian Government Protective Security controls.
Victoria Police law enforcement data requires a security classification to assist in its protection. Victoria Police assigns classification markings that align with Australian Government Security Classifications. With the exception of information that is non sensitive or publicly available, all law enforcement data is generally considered to have a minimum classification of IN-CONFIDENCE, with certain types of sensitive law enforcement data afforded higher Classifications.
Australian Government Security Classified Information is defined as official information that, if compromised, could have adverse consequences for the Australian Government. In the course of its duties, Victoria Police is often required to handle law enforcement data that is considered Australian Government Security Classified Information.
The Australian Government Protective Security Manual (PSM) provides the definitive policy for the security of Australian Government Security Classified information. As a State Government agency, Victoria Police are not required to comply with the PSM for law enforcement data owned and generated internally that does not impact national security. However, it is strongly advised that the PSM policy be used.
Victoria Police access, store and release certain types of information that is considered Australian Government Classified information. Typically, this information is generated by, or provided to, Victoria Police in relation to its work in counter terrorism or national intelligence activities. For Australian Government Security Classified information, implementation of the PSM and compliance with its strict controls is mandatory.
Australian Government Security Classified Information falls into two distinct categories:
a) National Security Information – where the consequence of a compromise could affect the security of the nation (ie. its defence or its international relations). Victoria Police most often handle this type of information when dealing with national intelligence and anti-terrorist activities and when co-ordinating visits or events that involve foreign dignitaries; and
b) Non-National Security Information – where the consequences do not threaten the security of the nation but rather the security or interests of individuals, groups, commercial entities, government business and interests, or safety of the community. The majority of sensitive law enforcement data handled by Victoria Police falls into this category.
National Security Information is afforded the following protective markings:
c) SECRET; and
d) TOP SECRET.
Non-National Security Information is afforded the following protective markings:
a) X–IN–CONFIDENCE (eg. ‘STAFF’ or ‘SECURITY’-IN-CONFIDENCE);
b) PROTECTED; and
c) HIGHLY PROTECTED.
These standards apply to all Victoria Police employees, contractors, and consultants and any Approved Third Parties who by way of Agreement with Victoria Police have, or require authorised access to Victoria Police or Australian Government Security Classified law enforcement data.