Australia Passes Bill Allowing Government to Bypass Messaging Encryption

Australia Passes Bill Allowing Government to Bypass Messaging Encryption, by Charlie Nash.

The Australian Parliament passed a bill on Thursday which will allow government agencies to bypass encryption and access private messages on apps through “backdoors.” One security expert said the law “poison-pills their entire domestic tech industry.”

According to Fortune, the Assistance and Access Bill will force technology companies “to help the country’s security agencies bypass the encryption in private messaging apps.”

The bill will also “allow the police to tell the likes of WhatsApp and Signal that they must build in so-called backdoors, to give investigators access to the contents of messages — but only if the backdoors don’t constitute ‘systemic weaknesses’ in the service’s security.”

As reported by Fortune, the bill was condemned by security experts who claimed the “backdoors” would weaken security in the nation by creating “a target for other countries’ spy agencies and corporate spies who might want to see what people are discussing.”

“Over in Australia they’re shooting themselves in the face with a shockingly technically nonsensical encryption backdoor law,” declared popular systems security commentator SwiftOnSecurity. “Doesn’t even help it just poison-pills their entire domestic tech industry, breaks imports.”


The Australian Government has imported terrorists from known risk populations. Then, to suppress that problem, it now demands to be able to read everyone’s communications — which kills Australia’s tech industry, and trashes Australia’s tech trustworthiness and compatibility. The Government is really not going to like the medium and long term consequences of this legislation.

How on Earth did governments cope in the olden days, when they couldn’t read everyone’s private communications? When people would pass messages by hand? Oh that’s right, they didn’t import large, culturally-hostile populations that breed and harbor terrorists, and normal police work was sufficient to combat the few domestic trouble makers.

There is no such thing as a safe backdoor. But what would our ruling class of postmodern fantasists know about the real world?

More, by Jack the Insider:

It is a disaster, created by legal minds with little or no apparent expertise in technology. The problems with it are numerous but the biggest lies in the fact the law would require technology companies to target a single device or small number of devices, but only in a way that does not introduce a “systemic weakness” that impacts all users.

The techs I have spoken to say this is all but impossible and may lead to tech companies feeling obliged to leave the country rather than run afoul of this putrescent law. One of our most prolific and profitable industry sectors may leave our shores in droves. …

The other major problem with the bill is it is yet another intrusion into the privacy of the citizenry.

hat-tip Charles