Privacy Blog

"Friends don’t let friends get spied on.' – Richard Stallman, President of the Free Software Foundation and longtime advocate of privacy in technology.

RSA Says You Can’t Force the Private Sector to Break Encryption

RSA’s VP and GM of Global Public Sector Practice Mike Brown believes there’s a better way to thwart terrorism than breaking end-to-end encryption, as recently proposed by the Australian government.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, along with Attorney-General George Brandis, announced plans last week to introduce legislation that would force internet companies to assist Australian law enforcement in decrypting messages sent with end-to-end encryption. (See my earlier article at

During a question-and-answer session, Turnbull was asked about the difficulty of using legislation in an attempt to defeat the laws of mathematics. Turnbull replied, “”I’m not a cryptographer, but what we are seeking to do is to secure their [the tech companies] assistance. They have to face up to their responsibility. They can’t just, you know, wash their hands of it and say it’s got nothing to do with them.”

Well, Turnbull obviously is “not a cryptographer.” I have to agree.

NOTE: I am a former cryptographer. These days I am simply a crypto hobbyist.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has not described how he plans to force criminals and non-criminals alike to use encryption products that have “back doors” installed. Anyone who knows anything about encryption would never dream of using any product with a “back door” that can be unlocked by Australian government spies, other governments, and individual hackers alike. “Back doors” are notoriously weak and have been hacked by all sort of organizations, from the CIA to the Russian Mafia to North Korea to the individual hackers in Uzbekistan and numerous other countries. They should be called “hack doors” as they provide easy access to hackers.

Are the Australian banks, stock brokers, military, corporations, and private citizens stupid enough to use weakened encryption products when better products (without “backdoors”) are easily available free of charge by downloading from various web sites around the world? Some of these high-security encryption products might be produced by tech companies but, traditionally, the best encryption products have always been produced by private individuals, most of whom are not interested in assisting a government or anyone else to “break into” their encryption products.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull seems to think the Australian citizens are equally as stupid as the country’s politicians. However, I suspect he is wrong.

You can read the sad details in an article by Asha McLean in the ZDNet web site at:

Categories: Encryption, Legal Affairs

1 reply

  1. So now before we commit to using any software (with associated cost, learning curve, and commitment to file formats etc.) we have to ensure that it is not based and its developers are not based within the jurisdiction of the Australian Courts.

    Does Australia have a software industry?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.