Wednesday, 06 March 2019 17:58

Greens seek encryption law repeal to avoid 'unintended consequences' Featured

By
Jordon Steele-John: "Worst of all, if you ask your tech provider whether they've built a vulnerability or backdoor into technology that you use, they are obligated, under this law, not to tell you!" Jordon Steele-John: "Worst of all, if you ask your tech provider whether they've built a vulnerability or backdoor into technology that you use, they are obligated, under this law, not to tell you!" Supplied

The Australian Greens have taken aim at the government's encryption law again, calling for its repeal and claiming that it will have "significant, unintended consequences" as Australian-based encrypted messaging services are dumped in favour of other means of communication.

Greens Digital Rights spokesperson Senator Jordon Steele-John said in the three months that the law had been in place — it was passed on 6 December 2018 — there had already been hundreds of assistance and access requests.

"[This means] vulnerabilities may have already been built into the technology we use every day," he said in a statement on Wednesday.

Under the law — officially known as the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Act 2018 — there are three ways by which the authorities can get industry to aid in gaining access to encrypted material:

  • A technical assistance request (TAR) allows for voluntary help by a company; in this case, its staff would be given civil immunity from prosecution.
  • An interception agency can issue a technical assistance notice (TAN) to make a communications provider offer assistance.
  • Finally, a technical capability notice (TCN) can be issued by the attorney-general at the request of an interception agency; the communications minister of the day would also need to agree. This will force a company to help law enforcement, by building functionality.

Senator Steele-John said if vulnerabilities or backdoors now existed in technology in common use — such as mobile phones or tablets — "then they will be able to be exploited by third parties, meaning all of us are less safe online".

"Worst of all, if you ask your tech provider whether they've built a vulnerability or backdoor into technology that you use, they are obligated, under this law, not to tell you!" he added.

After the law was passed, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security opened another review of the legislation; the panel is due to report back on 3 April. As of this writing, 66 submissions have been received, many from the same organisations and individuals who made submissions before the legislation took effect.

Senator Steele-John said the latest analysis had shown "the very people this legislation was designed to target were probably no longer using encrypted messaging services, like WhatsApp, because of perceived weaknesses - so what's the point?"

"This legislation was sold as a way to assist government agencies in doing their jobs, yet analysis is already showing it's likely to be effective at achieving this intended outcome anyway," he said.

"I've lost count of the number of data breaches - Centrelink, MyGov, Parliament House - that have occurred under this government; I simply don't trust them anymore with my online privacy, safety or security.

"We must repeal the Assistance and Access bill and start taking the online privacy, safety and security of all Australians more seriously. The Greens want to see the introduction of laws in line with the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation to ensure that Australia can move forward into a digital future."

None of the amendments to the law, proposed last year, have yet been passed. Given that the House of Representatives has just seven sitting days listed for April and the Senate nine days, this means the amendments may well have to be passed by the next government as the current government has indicated it will call a federal election in May.

Read 2726 times

Please join our community here and become a VIP.

Subscribe to ITWIRE UPDATE Newsletter here
JOIN our iTWireTV our YouTube Community here
BACK TO LATEST NEWS here

SONICWALL 2022 CYBER THREAT REPORT

The past year has seen a meteoric rise in ransomware incidents worldwide.

Over the past 12 months, SonicWall Capture Labs threat researchers have diligently tracked the meteoric rise in cyberattacks, as well as trends and activity across all threat vectors, including:

Ransomware
Cryptojacking
Encrypted threats
IoT malware
Zero-day attacks and more

These exclusive findings are now available via the 2022 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report, which ensures SMBs, government agencies, enterprises and other organizations have the actionable threat intelligence needed to combat the rising tide of cybercrime.

Click the button below to get the report.

GET REPORT!

PROMOTE YOUR WEBINAR ON ITWIRE

It's all about Webinars.

Marketing budgets are now focused on Webinars combined with Lead Generation.

If you wish to promote a Webinar we recommend at least a 3 to 4 week campaign prior to your event.

The iTWire campaign will include extensive adverts on our News Site itwire.com and prominent Newsletter promotion https://itwire.com/itwire-update.html and Promotional News & Editorial. Plus a video interview of the key speaker on iTWire TV https://www.youtube.com/c/iTWireTV/videos which will be used in Promotional Posts on the iTWire Home Page.

Now we are coming out of Lockdown iTWire will be focussed to assisting with your webinars and campaigns and assistance via part payments and extended terms, a Webinar Business Booster Pack and other supportive programs. We can also create your adverts and written content plus coordinate your video interview.

We look forward to discussing your campaign goals with you. Please click the button below.

MORE INFO HERE!

BACK TO HOME PAGE
Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

Share News tips for the iTWire Journalists? Your tip will be anonymous

WEBINARS ONLINE & ON-DEMAND

GUEST ARTICLES

VENDOR NEWS

Guest Opinion

Guest Interviews

Guest Reviews

Guest Research

Guest Research & Case Studies

Channel News

Comments