Australia’s new anti-encryption laws are bad news for Apple

Australia’s new anti-encryption laws are bad news for Apple

Australia’s new anti-encryption laws are bad news for Apple

Global privacy groups and tech companies such as Mozilla, Cisco, and Apple have criticised the laws as having the ability to make the entire internet less secure due to the universal nature of the encryption services being used.

On Thursday, Australia's parliament passed the most expansive bill of all Western countries that could force major United States tech companies such as Google, Apple and Facebook to provide authorities with access to such encrypted data.

Technical assistance request: A notice to provide "voluntary assistance" to law enforcement for "safeguarding of national security and the enforcement of the law".

In September, the governments of the Five Eyes countries-U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand-published a statement on encrypted communications and the problems they cause law enforcement agencies.

"Far from being a "national security measure" this bill will have the unintended effect of diminishing the online safety, security and privacy of every single Australian", Steele-John wrote this week.

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Amid farcical scenes yesterday as the government sought to avoid a humiliating legislative defeat relating to medical transfers for asylum seekers by adjourning the House of Representatives, Labor said it would vote for the unamended encryption bill in the Senate.

The government was handed a last-minute victory yesterday, with opposition leader Bill Shorten and shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus scrapping plans to amend controversial encryption legislation.

Under the new powers, companies will be required to build a new function to help police access the suspects' data, or risk a fine for not doing so. The legislation says the government "must not require providers to implement or build systemic weaknesses in forms of electronic protection ('back doors')" but also says it can "require the selective deployment of a weakness or vulnerability in a particular service, device or item of software on a case-by-case basis".

The Australian government insists this isn't the same as a backdoor into encrypted communication.

How technology companies will be expected to comply with technical assistance requests or warrants resulting from the new law is the big question.

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Australia's law is much more concerning though.

He noted that the opposition Labor Party "had to be dragged to the table" and backed the legislation as an emergency measure out of concern extremists could target Christmas-New Year crowds.

"But I wasn't prepared to walk away from my job and leave matters in a stand-off and expose Australians to increased risk in terms of national security". "If there's a channel between two people, are they going to mysteriously put a third person in?"

Mr Phair also said we "can't get caught up in the romance of the legislation" - it's not like ASIO will be intercepting encrypted data and thwarting terror plots the day after it's enacted. "In many ways, I think it's unworkable". A lot of the fearmongering still hasn't been explained. When we talk about how "What ifs" about how criminals hide their tracks, we still need to remember that encryption is a good thing.

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