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  • Earlier this year, the Australian government revealed details about an anti-encryption bill.
  • The new law makes tech companies obligated to share encrypted user data upon the request of law enforcement agencies.
  • It will be implemented before the end of the year, and full details are yet to be revealed.

One of the biggest hindrances to intercepting criminal activity in the digital age is encryption. With messaging apps and other communication portals offering end to end encryption and restricting access to any outside parties, it has become very easy for users to keep prying eyes of law enforcement and the government away from their communication. Australia is set to change that with its new Assistance and Access Bill.

The bill was first announced in August 2018, but finer details about the new law were left out. We are yet to know more about the extent of control the government will get access to user data. It was revealed that the federal government and labor party in Australia had come to an agreement over the Assistance and Access bill.

According to the government of Australia, 95% of all criminal suspects who are under surveillance by law enforcement take advantage of encrypted messaging apps. However, an anti-encryption law also means that citizens lose their right to privacy and personal user data can be easily seen by law enforcement at any given time. Tech companies will also be forced to implement backdoors in their apps which will allow government bodies access to user data whenever they want.

The Government proposed that federal and state law enforcement agencies should get access to data when investigating crimes in Australia that pertain to child sex offenses, terrorism, drugs, and guns. However, the idea was rejected by the Labor party, and they stated only instances of terrorism and child sex offenses should lead to federal agencies getting access while state governments should not get access to any data at all.

The final details of the bill are yet to be revealed, and we will find out more once it is implemented by the end of the year. Along with the anti-encryption law, a site blocking law will also be implemented in Australia soon which will allow copyright holders direct access to blocking injunctions via ISPs.

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