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.

Australia is About to Pass a ‘Dangerous’ Anti-Encryption Law

On November 6, 2018, I published an article: Australian Bill Spells Trouble for Data Privacy Around the World. I wrote, “Perhaps the silliest part of this proposed legislation is the fact that it won’t work. The bill would require tech companies and platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook to build ‘vulnerabilities’ or ‘backdoors’ into their own products and services so government agencies can access the private data of their users on-demand — with virtually no judicial oversight.”

Well, silliness is winning. This controversial anti-encryption bill is one step closer to becoming law, after the two leading but sparring party political giants struck a deal to pass the legislation. Once passed, it means Australians as well as any company doing business in Australia has to weaken their privacy-protected information so that it is susceptible to hackers around the world.

Would you want to have money in an Australian bank or stock brokerage after this bill becomes law? I wouldn’t!

The bill, in short, grants Australian police greater powers to issue “technical notices” — a nice way of forcing companies — even websites — operating in Australia to help the government hack, implant malware, undermine encryption or insert backdoors at the behest of the government. Of course, if any government can hack into web sites, it won’t be long before hackers in third-world countries and elsewhere will also gain access. And then there is the issue of corrupt government officials and employees. Keep in mind that, if enacted, the bill will specify “virtually no judicial oversight.”

If companies refuse to comply with the proposed legislation, they could face financial penalties.

You can read more about this silliness in an article by Zack Whittaker in the TechCrunch web site at:

Categories: Legal Affairs

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