Australia to compel technology firms to provide access to encrypted missives

17 Juillet, 2017, 16:44 | Author: Marie-Claire Cellier
  • Math be damned: Australian PM demands encrypted chat apps be opened up for law enforcement

Australia is set to introduce new laws to force technology companies to provide access to encrypted communications in efforts to tackle terrorism, drugs trade and child exploitation. A report in The Guardian on Friday quoted Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull as saying that the law would be modeled on Britain's Investigatory Powers Act, passed in November, which gave intelligence agencies some of the most extensive surveillance powers in the western world.

"We need to ensure the internet is not used as a dark place for bad people to hide their criminal activities from the law", Turnbull told reporters in Sydney. "I'm not a cryptographer, but what we are seeking to do is to secure their assistance".

Australia's proposal will require device manufacturers and technology companies to help its law enforcement agencies intercept and read messages sent by suspects. "The laws of mathematics are very commendable, but the only law that applies in Australia is the law of Australia".

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"Weakening encrypted systems for them would mean weakening it for everyone", said Antonia Sanda, a spokeswoman for Facebook.

The proposed laws have been, at least in part, modelled off the current United Kingdom law on the issue - officially known as the Investigatory Powers Act, but often derisively referred to as the "Snooper's Charter" - which is similarly designed to negate the "safe spaces" that encryption creates, which can be used by terrorist and criminal groups to communicate.

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