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Australia proposed new Laws Compelling Companies like Facebook & Apple to Provide Access to Encrypted Messages



On June 19 Patently Apple posted a report titled "The EU Rolls the Dice and Sides with No Decryption, No Reverse Engineering of Communications, Period." Countering that position, the 'Five Eyes' Intelligence Network, backed by the U.S., the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. They met to tackle the problem of encrypted messaging instead of giving into the position held by technology companies. Australia was first to state that they would push for greater powers to tackle the use of encrypted messaging services used by terrorists and criminals. Today Australia made it official.


Earlier today, "Australia proposed new laws to compel companies such as U.S. social media giant Facebook and device manufacturer Apple to provide security agencies access to encrypted messages, reports Reuters.


The measures will be the first in an expected wave of global legislation as pressure mounts on technology companies to provide such access after several terror suspects used encrypted applications ahead of attacks.


Australia, a staunch U.S. ally, is on heightened alert for attacks by home-grown radicals since 2014 and authorities have said they have thwarted several plots, although Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said law enforcement needed more help.


'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.


'The reality is, however, that these encrypted messaging applications and voice applications are being used obviously by all of us, but they're also being used by people who seek to do us harm.'


Australia's proposal will require device manufacturers and technology companies to help its law enforcement agencies intercept and read messages sent by suspects.'"


Reuters further reported that "The proposal, to be introduced when parliament resumes in August, could be adopted within months, lawmakers have said.


Apple, which declined a request by Reuters to comment on the proposal, has previously resisted sharing such information, citing privacy concerns.


Antonia Sanda, spokeswoman for Facebook stated that 'Weakening encrypted systems for them would mean weakening it for everyone."


Considering that Australia is only one of the Five Eyes Intelligence Network members, this is likely a position that will be introduced by the other four in the network over time. Before this is voted on, expect Apple and Silicon Valley to quickly mobilize and provide a very loud counter attack in the coming weeks ahead.


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