Australia's Privacy: Decrypted

New Encryption Bill Harms Privacy

The Exposure Draft Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill 2018 was first introduced on September 20, 2018 by the Law Council of Australia.

The Law Council acknowledges that there is significant value to public safety in allowing law enforcement authorities faster access to encrypted information where there are threats to national security or in order to prevent the commission of serious criminal offences.
— Law Council of Australia

WhatsApp, a popular messenger app used worldwide, uses encryption. Image courtesy of Pixabay.

On December 6, 2018, Australia quickly passed a new bill that would enable government officials to access encrypted domains from any digital platform (e.g., WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal, ProtonMail, banks, etc).

The Assistance and Access Bill has been introduced as an ‘anti-terror’ law; however, opponents voiced their terror of the bill’s invasive nature.

What Stays Down Under…

Australia was summoned to ‘take the lead’ in providing the United States, United Kingdom and other allies with access to secretly encrypted messages that deem dangerous.

The bill has only been enacted Down Under, but it could easily become enacted worldwide.

Once you’ve built the tools, it becomes very hard to argue that you can’t hand them over to the U.S. government, the U.K. — it becomes something they can all use.
— Lizzie O'Shea, human rights lawyer

Australia could simply hand over this legislation to us in the USA for use due to Five Eyes— alliance including the 5 major English speaking countries:

  1. United States

  2. Britain

  3. Australia

  4. Canada

  5. New Zealand

Read More
Australia Wants to Take Government Surveillance to the Next Level

Encryption is Universal

One purpose to weaken encryption systems will weaken all purposes!

If Australia succeeds in doing so, it could be your bank account or your medical records that are compromised in the end.
— Lizzie O'Shea, Human Rights Lawyer

Terrorists aren’t alone regarding encryption use.

Encryption is used to secure online purchases, digital communication and even finances with online/digital banking. Banks, government entities, websites, etc. all use encrypted systems.

HTTPS is a form of encryption. Image courtesy of Pixabay.

The Australian Information Industry Association, an advocacy group representing digital companies, said it had “no confidence” in the government as far as the bill was concerned.
— Jamie Tarabay, The New York Times

Australian Overseas Data

Australian businesses with overseas relations will be affected as their offshore parties worry about the security & privacy of their encrypted data down under.

Read More
Australian Government Passes Contentious Encryption Law

Switter, Tryst, Assembly Four

Many U.S. companies warned American users of Australian hosted services before the enactment.

Empowering sex workers through intelligent tech.
— Assembly Four, Mission Statement

Assembly Four’s newest project, Honey Notes will be affected by this law since it includes encryption. Image courtesy of Assembly Four.

Assembly Four, an Australian based company specializing in empowering sex workers, has been highly appreciated by many USA sex workers nationwide regarding FOSTA.

Honey Notes is a data management software, and it’s Assembly Four’s newest project. The software includes encryption. However, that feature might no longer exist, or they will weaken the encryption service with a mandatory ‘back door’ for the government to access (while also giving hackers easier access).

Australian Tech Exodus

Image courtesy of Pixabay.

Australia can kiss their tech industry goodbye.

There is no sense in risking the digital security of millions because of a couple of ‘terrorists’.

Snitches Are Bitches

To further demonstrate the atrocity of this bill, the government will require access to a company’s software via forcing an employee to create an accessible ‘back door’, and if they admit to any employers, then they risk a prison sentence.

Ultimately, companies will be forced to sabotage.

No Horse Too Dead to Beat

As FOSTA bans American sex workers from digital advertising venues, this bill could ban Australians from digital encryption services.

Our mission is to ensure that a private and secure Internet is available to everyone, everywhere, including in Australia.
— ProtonMail's Response to Australlia's AA Bill

The internet may be young, but the desire to control & limit this digital realm is getting old.