In a statement, AIIA chief executive Rob Fitzpatrick said the other side of the equation also applied: Australian vendors could find themselves locked out of international markets with their products being viewed as untrustworthy.
The bill is aimed at getting around encryption which, the government claims, is used by criminals to prevent their communications being read.
Towards this end, the bill proposes to give investigative and intelligence agencies the following powers:
- a “technical assistance request” that allows voluntary help by a company. The staff of the company will be given civil immunity from prosecution.
- a “technical assistance notice” to make a communications provider offer assistance; and
- a “technical capability notice” that can be issued by the Attorney-General at the request of an interception agency. This will force a company to help law enforcement, by building functionality.
Fitzpatrick referred to a survey carried out by the Alliance for a Safe and Secure Internet, of which the AIIA is part, that showed a significant majority of people were concerned about these powers.
"These [powers] could allow the Government to force companies to change their products and services to enable the interception and collection of someone’s personal data, both without their knowledge and without the authorisation by a judge," the AIIA statement said.
It added that the AIIA "supported the Alliance in its plea to government to stop ignoring the concerns of technology experts and listen to the legitimate concerns raised by its citizens and industry".
"For legislation with such far ranging possible impacts, an open dialogue alongside a heightened level of care is essential to protect against the unintended consequence of making Australians less safe," the statement said.