The response received from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet on behalf of the Prime Minister, stated that:
"The Australian government supports lawful use of modern and secure communications technologies. These technologies are critical to a modern economy that depends on trusted digital connections for businesses, individuals and governments to thrive online…The government remains committed to working with Australian and international partners to promote an open, free and secure cyberspace. This includes the use of encryption technologies to protect personal and sensitive information and help ensure fundamental freedoms of expression and association."
While EFA warmly welcomed the expression of support for encryption and other privacy technologies and for the principle of a free, open and secure Internet, it remained concerned that there are several countries who are actively pursuing legislation that would require companies to provide exceptional access to encrypted materials.
It has sent an open letter to the Coalition and Labor parties to ask for unequivocal support for encryption and privacy technologies in the face of international attempts to undermine these critical enablers of the digital economy and the protection of fundamental human rights.
Attempts to undermine encryption and other privacy technologies represent a fundamental threat to the safety and privacy of all users of digital technologies. The risk that any such "backdoors" will become available to unfriendly governments, organised criminal syndicates and other malicious actors is extremely high.
EFA believes that any moves to undermine encryption in the name of "national security" are fundamentally misguided and, in fact, represent serious threats to national security, as well as threatening human rights and the enormous economic and social benefits that the digital revolution has brought to people across the globe.
EFA has called on the two major parties, should they form the next government, to:
- endorse the support of strong encryption and privacy technologies articulated in the letter from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet;
- commit not to attempt to undermine these critical technologies; and,
- show global leadership on this issue.