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Thursday, 10 October 2019 12:00

Industry appears to think encryption law review is an eyewash Featured

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Industry appears to think encryption law review is an eyewash Pixabay

It's beginning to look like the tech industry has finally cottoned on to the fact that the Federal Government's repeated reviews of the encryption laws that were rushed through Parliament last year are just an eyewash.

That probably accounts for the fact that the ongoing inquiry into the legislation by the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor Dr James Renwick has received just 15 submissions.

Dr Renwick issued a media release last week, extending the date for submissions to 1 November and stressing that though there had been numerous submissions to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, he could not treat those as submissions to his inquiry unless they were submitted to him.

The law, officially known as the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill 2018, was passed on 6 December 2018, without any amendments with the Labor Party supporting its passage.

Soon after, a review of the law by the PJCIS was announced with a reporting date of 3 April. But the only thing that this committee did was to put off any decision on amendments, instead asking Dr Renwick to review the law and report back by 1 March 2020.

Prior to the passage of the law, numerous local and foreign organisations and companies appeared before the PJCIS. Apart from the government agencies, hardly any company offered support for the law which weakens the protections offered by encryption.

But despite all the technical arguments against law, the government has turned a deaf ear, insisting that the concerns of industry are due to a misunderstanding of the legislation.

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Sam Varghese

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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.

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