New Australian Laws Force Facebook, WhatsApp To Open Encrypted Messages

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is set to announce new laws today will “oblige” both telcos and social media platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp to give Australian security agencies access to encrypted messages.

Attorney General George Brandis has confirmed that the government won’t be asking for flaws in encryption software to allow access by authorities, and instead companies will need to (where possible) decrypt messages as requested – with a warrant.

[referenced url=”” thumb=”×231.jpg” title=”When Is ‘Not A Backdoor’ Just A Backdoor? Australia’s Struggle With Encryption” excerpt=”The Australian government wants the ability to read messages kept secret by encryption in the name of aiding criminal investigations. But just how it proposes to do this is unclear.”]

As reported by SMH, current laws do obligate telcos to help law enforcement agencies access messages, but it’s not clear if this extends to messages protected by encryption, and that’s what the government is looking to change.

In the case of services providing full end-to-end encryption, where the provider doesn’t store your data at all, the warrant would need to be issued to either the sender or receiver.

These new laws are modeled on the UK’s current strategy. Brandis is also looking other other countries to take the same approach, with the hopes it will assist in uncovering both local and international paedophile networks as well as organised crime and terrorist activity.

While it will be announced today, the legislation will be introduced to the Parliament later in the year.

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