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Aussie law will force tech companies to decrypt suspect’s data

AUSTRALIAN LAWMAKERS are looking to introduce a new law which could give police access to encrypted data.

Under the proposals, big tech firms including Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple would be forced to give access to user data if it was suspected that the owner was acting illegally.

Police would have to obtain a court warrant, with only certain crimes such as terrorism being valid reasons.

It’s no secret that the UK Home Office has expressed a desire to do the same, and yesterday’s incident outside the Houses of Parliament is reigniting the debate.

In 2017, newly disappointing Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: “We want [technology companies] to work more closely with us on end-to-end encryption so that where there is particular need, where there is targeted need, under warrant, they share more information with us so that we can access it.”

Uh. Yeah. Alright, Amber. Go back to being a traffic light colour, yeah?

Meanwhile, down under, the Assistance and Access Bill 2018 would set fines of up to AU$10m (£5.7m) for non-compliance.

Angus Taylor, the minister for law enforcement and cyber security told Reuters: “Our legislation for telecommunication intercepts, being able to access data, in order to investigate and prosecute criminal activity, with a warrant, is no longer fit for purpose,”

He believes that this new law would bring legislation up to date with the technology it supports.

“Whether it’s paedophiles or terrorists or drug dealers, it makes sure we have legislation fit for purpose in a modern era”

An industry group including Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter and The Big G responded by calling for a “constructive and public dialogue”.

“We work every day to help protect the privacy of people who use our services and strongly support the economic and social benefits of encryption technology,” said Nicole Buskiewicz, managing director of Digital Industry Group Inc.

“At the same time, we appreciate the hard work governments do to keep us safe,” she said in a statement to Reuters.

The debate is not a new one. Speaking in 2015, John Chen, boss of Blackberry, a company which focuses on mobile encryption and security said: “Privacy and security form the crux of everything we do. However, our privacy commitment does not extend to criminals.”

His comments came after events including the 2011 London Riots were blamed on criminals communicating using Blackberry’s BBM Messenger.

Oh, the irony. μ

Further reading

Source : Inquirer

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