Australia passes data encryption law

Australia has passed a data encryption law that will allow police and security services to access encrypted messages, according to a Business Insider report.

The law, passed on Thursday, will require tech companies to give police access to encrypted data. The government says the new law will help the police respond to terrorism – and, all other crimes – more quickly.

The law makes Australia the first Western country to breach data compliance and privacy laws.

The new law requires police or security services to obtain a warrant to access communication data from companies. As stated in a recent Silicon Tech report, organisations that fail to conform to a request or warrant could face fines of up to A$10m (£6m).

Data encryption law fuels privacy concerns

Cyber-security experts argue that the data-encryption law could affect the privacy of users, which could potentially leave them more vulnerable to cyber hackers.

Despite mounting privacy concerns, the government said that the legislation will be limited to helping the police tackle crime.

The law council of Australia also expressed some concerns about the new law: “The half-amended encryption access laws rammed through the Senate are better than the original, but serious concerns remain,” Law Council president, Morry Bailes, told the Australian Broadcasting Company.

“There will be smart criminal who will find and use these backdoors in all sorts of dangerous ways.”

Some of the world’s largest tech companies have also refused to cooperate and unlock encrypted messages in the past. In 2016, the FBI asked Apple to unlock an iPhone that belonged to one of the perpetrators connected to the mass shooting in California.

Apple refused, arguing that it would weaken encryption and it would create perilous privacy consequences for consumers. Instead, the FBI dropped the case and found a third party to help them bypass that specific device’s encryption.

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