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Proposed law will force carriers to give access to smartphone content

15 August 2018 by Michelle Lewis 0 Comments

Australia's proposed cyber-security legislation, released yesterday, will force carriers and social media giants to provide police with access to content and systems - or face fines up to $10 million.

whatsapp encryption

New laws target criminals using encrypted messaging 

Google, Apple, Facebook and telecommunication carriers like Telstra will be compelled to hand over data or grant systems access to Australian authorities under the proposed legislation - which still needs to be passed by the Federal Government.
 
Law Enforcement and Cybersecurity Minister, Angus Taylor, said the new laws were a much-needed update to current legislation which was drafted before smartphones became commonplace.

 

"We know that more than 90 percent of data lawfully intercepted by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) now use some form of encryption. This has directly impacted around 200 serious criminal and terrorism-related investigations in the last 12 months alone.

"We must ensure our laws reflect the rapid take-up of secure online communications by those who seek to do us harm," he said

No "back door" for authorities 

While the new laws will strengthen law enforcement in Australia they will not grant authorities the right to create a "back door" to access a suspect's devices.

"We believe encryption is absolutely crucial to protecting Australians. So the legalisation explicitly excludes the potential for law enforcement to ask industry to create a weakness in their encryption systems.

However, if granted a search warrant to monitor a suspect's phone, law enforcement will be able to remotely access the device, view decrypted messages and search for and delete content.

 

"Those crimes in the case of a computer access warrant must be serious. It's not any crime, it's got to be a serious crime. So it's three years' imprisonment or higher. 

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