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Australia's online privacy must be legislated in the wake of Facebook data scandals; Greens

Media Release
Jordon Steele-John 7 Jun 2018

Thursday, 7th June 2018

Australian Greens Digital Rights spokesperson Senator Jordon Steele-John has called on Cyber Security Minister Angus Taylor to detail how the government’s planned cyber security legislation will bypass end-to-end encryption without compromising the security of that encrypted data.

Senator Steele-John said he was concerned the proposed legislation would simply obligate companies to handover the contents of encrypted data, absolving the government of any hand in compromising that data.

“What Minister Taylor seemed to suggest this morning was that any company would be expected to produce, as if by magic, the contents of encrypted data if the Australian government produced a warrant for that data.

“This is extremely problematic whichever way you look at it because if end-to-end encryption is working properly, then you are legislating companies to do the impossible. There is no method of accessing data if it has been properly encrypted.

“Companies will be forced to undermine their own encryption in order to comply with Australian law, therefore undermining the privacy and security of user’s data. Quite simply this will necessitate surveillance codes, key escrow or some other ‘back door’ methodology of decrypting data to allow it to be handed over if the Australian government produces a warrant.

“It also allows this Liberal government to continue to lie through their teeth to the Australian people by saying that they won't legislate companies to undermine their own encryption. It really is a case of the laws of maths not applying in Australia if you bury your head far enough in the sand!

“Minister Taylor needs to detail how he proposes to access encrypted data, or else come clean to the Australian people that their online information will be compromised.” 

Media contact:

Tim Oliver – 0448 316 387

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