Australian encryption law is deeply flawed, said Apple

Australian encryption law

Australian encryption law passed by the Australian parliament in last week called as a “Assistance and Access bill“.

The new law authorizes the government to ask tech companies operated in the Australia for the encrypted data of users in case of emergency.

Australian encryption law enforced tech companies to follow below 3 steps which includes

  • Technical assistance request– it’s a voluntarily assistance provided by the tech companies in case of national security
  • Technical assistance notice-Tech companies must offer decryption of the data that is reasonable, proportionate, practicable and technically feasible.
  • Technical capability notice– If companies are not capable to build the decryption tools, then they must develop to decrypt communications for law enforcement. 

If any tech company will not follow the above mentioned steps, they may face the fine of $7.8 million for non cooperation.

Emailed on Thursday, December 13,2018

What are the flaws in “Australian encryption law”?

Apple released the statement saying, “wrong to weaken security for millions of law-abiding customers in order to investigate the very few who post a threat.”

Other American tech companies which include Facebook, Google, Dropbox, Snap, Microsoft and LinkedIn formed a coalition program RGS.

Reform Government Surveillance is formed to oppose the new  Australian encryption law and urged Australian parliament to promptly address these flaws when it reconvenes.

Tech giants also concerned over “who will be authorized to get the access to encrypted user data?” and “how much they can trust the Government agencies, over the misuse of access?”.

Tech giants also raised concerns over cyber security, human rights or rights to the privacy of users with respect to access of the data.

In 2017, WannaCry ransomware which was developed by the NSA was stolen by hackers and used against the UK’s National Health Service to hack the patients and government data.      

Encryption is mainly used to protect internet user identity where data is transmitted from browsers to servers across the web. 

A payment method, Passwords, Username programs uses encryption technology to convert the plain text (Readable form) to encoded version that will be decoded only if you have decryption keys.

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So Why required “Australian encryption law”?

Government says the law is necessary “to combat the crime and terrorist activities”.

Many countries who worked in the Middle East war zone said, the terrorist organizations are using Whatsapp and Telegram app for communication.

The messaging apps are using end to end encryption technology to send and receive messages which helps terrorist to avoid the surveillance and Australian encryption law will be helpful in such cases.

In last 18 years, Australia has faced more than dozens of terrorist attacks in the country including bombing to stabbing.

Cyber-attacks cost Australia more than $1 billion USD every year. According to Norton, 516380 small businesses were affected in 2017.

The minimum cost to rescue their data from ransomware virus was $4500 USD (Data encryption will be helpful).

But countries like China, Russia not allowed any tech companies to use end to end encryption technology.

Lots of Worries!

Australian encryption law could force any IT tech employee to develop the back door.

Government called such type of back door a “systematic weakness” in technology which eventually used to access the encrypted data.

The access can be misused by Government agency or criminals, to target any individual without their consent.

All the US major tech companies have formed the “Reform Government Surveillance” (RGS) coalition to resist the new Australian encryption law.

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