Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

First Western World Country Passes Law Forcing Encryption Backdoors

Australia to pass law to bypass WhatsApp, other encryption Australia encrypted data bill passes first hurdle
Pablo Mccormick | 07 December, 2018, 10:39

Despite the Opposition Labor party initially stating it would only accept the "unsatisfactory" bill with strict limitations, it has since dropped these demands on the proviso that the government reconsider its proposed amendments when the government next sits in early 2019. Even though maximum fines are limited to about US$7 million (NZ$10 million), individuals who fail to comply with the bill may face arrest and prison sentences, according to the draft that is due to take effect.

"There has been similar legislation in the United Kingdom and possibly a few other jurisdictions but their legislation doesn't go anywhere near as far as what's happening here", said Mark Gregory, an associate professor specialising in network engineering and internet security at Melbourne's RMIT University.

Australia is the first member of the "Five Eyes" intelligence-sharing pact-others include the U.S., U.K., Canada and New Zealand-to pass a bill of this kind.

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Just a few short days after the Australian Government originally announced its intention to pass new, far-reaching anti-encryption laws before Christmas, it's made good on the promise, becoming the first country in the world to impose legislation of this nature.

More than 95 per cent of Australian terrorism suspects use encrypted communications, according to estimates by the country's cyber security ministry. The encryption backdoor bill guarantees it will stay that way - every Australian-manufactured IT product must henceforth be regarded with suspicion that any features using encryption will be hopelessly compromised, with a backdoor back to Australian intelligence agencies.

Representatives of Google, Amazon and Apple were not immediately available for comment after the Senate vote. "Several critical issues remain unaddressed in this legislation, most significantly the prospect of introducing systemic weaknesses that could put Australians' data security at risk", read a statement by the Digital Industry Group on Thursday.

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Earlier in the week, the bill, with some amendments, appeared to have enough support to be passed.

Critics of the laws have pointed out that, by its very nature, secure end-to-end encryption necessitates that only the parties involved in a message chain are able to see communications in their decrypted form, and that building a vulnerability (backdoor) into the software critically undermines the security of the entire system.

"Encryption underpins the foundations of a secure internet and the internet pervades everything that we do in a modern society", said Tim de Sousa, of privacy and cybersecurity consultancy elevenM. They are also concerned about how the law's secrecy provisions will impact their business models and consumer privacy.

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Lakers coach Luke Walton said he didn't read the Bleacher Report story but defended James, calling him an "incredible teammate". If that's what 33 gets you, Look out for what happens when he's 34. "If you're a strong enough personality, you can handle it".

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