Australia now has world-first encryption laws. This guide explains what the laws can do, what they cannot do, and how Australia ended up here.
From the guide:
Labor caved in. Despite spending hours telling Parliament why the Assistance and Access Bill was dangerous garbage, and complaining about the rushed process, they dropped all of their proposed amendments and voted in the sitting government’s version anyway.
So now it’s law.
What is the Assistance and Access Bill?
Its full name is the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill 2018, which is now an Act [PDF]. It makes changes to more than a dozen pieces of legislation in an effort to combat what the government refers to in its explanatory memorandum [PDF] as “the challenges posed by ubiquitous encryption”.
The most controversial part is the “frameworks for voluntary and mandatory industry assistance to law enforcement and intelligence agencies” to help government access the content of encrypted communications.
It is Australia’s contribution to the Five Eyes nations’ tougher attitudes to the regulation of online communications. Information and communications technology vendors and service providers have a “mutual responsibility” to offer “further assistance” to law enforcement agencies, they said in August this year.
It’s about banning strong encryption, right?
No. Read on.