In the weeks since Home Affairs minister Peter Dutton called for a "sensible discussion" about expanding the remit of the Australian Signals Directorate, little has been said about what powers are needed, why and what the consequences could be.
Now experts are questioning whether the directorate needs extra powers, and whether they would be appropriate.
The Australian Signals Directorate is part of the National Intelligence Community, but sits in the Defence portfolio. In recent years its remit has extended from disrupting overseas cyber activities to protecting Australian cyber interests.
Meanwhile ASIO and the Australian Federal Police are currently responsible for investigating Australians.
Michael Shoebridge, director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute's Defence and Strategy program, says it's important to keep the separation of powers and focus between the intelligence agencies.
"It's important to maintain the idea of who should lead what functions, to me that was a Hope Royal Commission principle, that there should be clarity of who has the lead," he said.
"Other agencies can support their partners but if it's domestic intelligence ASIO has the lead, if it's domestic law enforcement the AFP has the lead, if it's offshore electronic intelligence ASD has the lead."
Mr Shoebridge countered speculation that the proposed powers could be part of a move to shift the directorate from Defence's control to that of Home Affairs, saying it would conflict with its primary function.
"A primary use of the organisation's capability will be to work with the Australian Defence Force and broader defence organisations when the Australian government uses Australia's defence capabilities for the defence of Australia, that's an abiding primary function that would be diluted by having ASD not in the Defence portfolio."
Associate Professor at Bond University Terry Goldsworthy also believes the directorate's focus should remain external, as it is not faced with the scrutiny needed for an organisation observing Australians.
"I have concerns about that, especially when you look at what the checks and balances will be. Who will sign off? The defence minister, the home affairs minister? The attorney-general? Or judges?"
"I am curious as to what particular gap or threat [Mr Dutton] was pointing to that would need us to take these foreign-directed powers and direct them to Australians," he said.
Professor Goldsworthy said the Australian Federal Police would be in the better position to combat pedophile rings Mr Dutton said Australian agencies were struggling to track across the web.