Civics and Privacy: Breaking US Encryption: The Australian Test Case

Justin Clarke:

A bill currently before the Australian Federal Parliament doesn’t seek to defeat encryption and enable Government to more easily spy on civilians. It just requests or compels ‘communications providers’ to do ‘acts or things’ to make spying easier.

How do you more easily access encrypted communications (largely provided by US companies such as Apple, Google, and Facebook) without breaking encryption?

Apparently no-one knows, but hidden in plain sight is a clue.

The Australian Federal Government is attempting to rush through a bill – The Assistance and Access Bill 2018 – which seeks to empower law enforcement and national security agencies to request or compel ‘designated communications providers’ to do a range of ‘acts or things’ to provide technical assistance to these agencies.

Who are designated communications providers? Any global company providing communications services directly, or as part of the global supply chain, according to the Australian Human Rights Commision (AHRC) submission[1]: