The boss of Australia's cyber spy agency has sought to quell controversy over her organisation's powers to spy on Australians, and will use a speech on Tuesday to explain such powers have existed for 20 years.
Australian Signals Directorate director-general Rachel Noble will provide her inaugural address at the ANU's National Security College after being appointed to the role in February.
Ms Noble will use the speech to defend the ASD's activities after it was thrown into the crosshairs of public outrage following the raid of journalist Annika Smethurst's home last year.
However, Ms Noble will say the Intelligence Services Act, introduced almost 20 years ago to determine the remit of the ASD and other agencies, has always given them the power to spy on Australians determined to pose a threat, such as suspected terrorists.
"For more than 20 years ASD's role in relation to intelligence collection against Australians has been laid bare on the face of legislation," Ms Noble will say.
"It is hardly a modern revelation that ASD has this role.
"I'm sorry if this is news to you but not all Australians are the good guys. Some Australians are agents of a foreign power. Some Australians are terrorists. Some Australians take up weapons and point them at us and our military. Some Australians are spies who are cultivated by foreign powers and are not on our side.
"Our allies have similar powers. There are many careful controls which also protect Australians from ASD and its capabilities."
Ms Noble will cite the need for the ASD to gain ministerial approval to spy on Australians and emphasise that the agency is a foreign intelligence agency and that monitoring Australians was primarily the remit of ASIO.
"ASD cannot, under law, conduct mass surveillance on Australians nor has it ever sought to," she will say.
The ASD has, in recent years, made deliberate attempts to improve transparency in its activities and this will be a point emphasised by Ms Noble. Although with the usual caveats that much of the agency's work, by its very nature, must remain secret.
The intelligence community realises that for the Australian public to trust it and be willing to accept some secrecy, a level of transparency is essential, she will say.
"We do have intrusive powers and we certainly have very intrusive capabilities," Ms Noble will say.
"Being transparent about the uses to which these capabilities are put and what the law allows us to do is important. As is being clear and unequivocal publicly about which targets our powers can be used against."
One aspect of ASD's work which Ms Noble is adamant must always remain a closely guarded secret is how the agency collects information.
"It is one thing for an adversary to imagine what our capabilities might be. It is entirely another thing to have that confirmed," she will say.
"If our adversaries know for certain how we are going about it, they will almost certainly take steps to prevent us from doing so. Just like we would do.
"So transparency is important but not at the expense of us losing the very capability that we use to keep Australia safe."
She will liken the importance of ASD's intelligence gathering to the work of Allied military personnel in World War II who intercepted enemy communications and encrypted their own messages.
She will say the ASD's work to protect Australia's information is just as important as its efforts to intercept foreign communications, as it was in the battles of World War II, in the wake of which saw the birth of ASD.
"Both sides of our brain work together to protect ourselves from people like us," she will say.
In decades working in the Australian intelligence community, Ms Noble says "the threat to our way of life is more real today than at any time I have known in my career".
"Posing such threats was once the remit of only great and powerful state actors, now it is the remit of anyone with a mobile phone."
The biggest change in recent years to the ASD's work, Ms Noble will say, is the fact that it once solely worked to protect government and military information.
Today that has been expanded to every Australian.
The private sector, small businesses, families and individuals are now targets for foreign cyber interference and the ASD's primary role has expanded to protect them.