Preliminary Australian anti-encryption legislation unveiled

According to newly released documents, the Australian government sought contentious powers to crack encrypted data nearly two years before introducing landmark anti-encryption laws that have been called “dangerous” by tech industry executives.

In 2018, Australia became the first country in the world to pass legislation requiring tech companies and service providers to develop capabilities for law enforcement to gain covert access to messages on platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook, such as push notifications that download malware to a target. computer or telephone.

The legislation, which Canberra said was needed to keep ‘terrorists’ and other serious criminals out of jail, has faced fierce opposition from privacy experts and industry players technology, who warned that undermining encryption could compromise the privacy and security of millions of people around the world. world.

Documents obtained under freedom of information rules reveal Canberra’s efforts to circumvent encrypted communications, which are invisible to third parties, began at least as early as 2015.

In July 2017, former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull introduced legislation to tackle encrypted communications, saying the internet should not be used as a “dark place where malicious individuals hide their illicit actions from government”.

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