Australian Law Would Force Tech Giants to Decrypt Messages

The Australian government has proposed a new legislation Friday which could give law enforcement agencies access to encrypted messages sent by suspected terrorists and criminals, reads a report from ABC News.

In a press conference on Friday, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the law would impose an obligation on technology companies to be able to provide Australian security agencies with access to encrypted user communications.

“We need to ensure that the internet is not used as a dark place for bad people to hide their criminal activities from the law,” Turnbull said.

Both he and Australian Attorney-General George Brandis have insisted they are not asking for “back doors” to be built into encryption software. Yet they have not detailed how their goal can be achieved otherwise.

The new law would be modeled on Britain’s Investigatory Powers Act, which was passed by the British Parliament in November and gave intelligence agencies some of the most extensive surveillance powers in the Western world, the government said.

The Australian bill that would allow courts to order tech companies to quickly unlock communications will be introduced to Parliament by November, officials said.

“The Australian Federal Police must have the powers – as do all our other intelligence and law enforcement agencies – to enforce the law online as well as offline,” the prime minister said.

Meanwhile, a Google spokesperson said the company has “always supported the work of law enforcement and intelligence agencies by promptly providing data in response to valid legal process and emergency disclosure requests.”

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