Back in October Apple submitted a detailed seven-page letter to the Australian Parliament objecting to six major points. Today, the Australian parliament approved a measure that some critics say will weaken encryption in favor of law enforcement and the demands of government.
For the intelligence alliance known as Five Eyes comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States, it's a huge victory. It's a huge victory for law and order and a bad day for criminals, terrorists and globalists around the globe.
At the moment however, it's unclear how this will play out in real life. It will take a case against a Silicon Valley giant to see if the new law actually has any teeth.
Ars Technica reports tonight that "The new law, which has been pushed for since at least 2017, requires that companies provide a way to get at encrypted communications and data via a warrant process. It also imposes fines of up to A$10 million for companies that do not comply and A$50,000 for individuals who do not comply. In short, the law thwarts (or at least tries to thwart) strong encryption.
Companies who receive one of these warrants have the option of either complying with the government or waiting for a court order. However, by default, the orders are secret, so companies would not be able to tell the public that they had received one.
"It's a big deal," Adam Molnar, a lecturer in criminology at Deakin University in Australia, told Ars.
However, the law as currently written seems to contain what some view as a loophole. The statute says that companies cannot be compelled to introduce a "systemic weakness" or a "systemic vulnerability" into their software or hardware to satisfy government demands. For more, read the full Ars Technica report here.
We're likely to hear from Silicon Valley's elites including Apple's CEO in the coming days on this development. For now, reactions have begun to roll in. As expected right-wing critics and opponents of the new law were out in full force already arguing that the new law will weaken Australians’ privacy and online security, potentially leaving them vulnerable to cyberhacking, and is a step on the way to a Big Brother-style police state.
Australian Greens’ party Senator Jordon Steele-John has been vocal in his opposition of the Bill, condemning the Opposition for helping the Morrison government pass it and describing it as “an affront to privacy and democracy." An affront to democracy? Really? You could read more of what critics are saying on news.com.au.