Apple joins tech giants in speaking out against Australia’s anti-encryption law


Apple continues to put privacy front and center.
Apple continues to speak out about the importance of privacy.
Photo: Apple

Apple has joined other tech giants — including Google, Microsoft, Facebook and others — in speaking out against the anti-encryption law recently passed in Australia.

The country’s controversial law means that law enforcement officials are allowed to access encrypted messages when required. Unsurprisingly, tech’s biggest titans are none too happy about it.

“The new Australian law is deeply flawed, overly broad, and lacking in adequate independent oversight over the new authorities,” said the Reform Government Surveillance coalition — made up of the tech companies — in a statement.

The tech giants argue that the law will, “undermine the cybersecurity, human rights, or the right to privacy of our users.”

Apple’s fight for privacy

The law was passed last week. Politicians argued that it is crucial for national security. As originally reported by CNet, there are three levels of assistance that tech companies can be made to provide if required. These include:

“Technical assistance request: A notice to provide ‘voluntary assistance’ to law enforcement for ‘safeguarding of national security and the enforcement of the law.’
Technical assistance notice: A notice requiring tech companies to offer decryption ‘they are already capable of providing that is reasonable, proportionate, practicable and technically feasible’ where the company already has the ‘existing means’ to decrypt communications (e.g. where messages aren’t end-to-end encrypted).
Technical capability notice: A notice issued by the attorney general, requiring tech companies to ‘build a new capability’ to decrypt communications for law enforcement. The bill stipulates this can’t include capabilities that ‘remove electronic protection, such as encryption.'”

Unsurprisingly, tech companies have decried the new laws. Lobbying group DIGI — which includes Facebook, Amazon, Google, Twitter, among others — said that the laws, “potentially jeopardize the security of the apps and systems that millions of Australians use every day.”

When the law was passed last week, Apple said that it, “would be wrong to weaken security for millions of law-abiding customers in order to investigate the very few who pose a threat.” Last year, Apple reportedly flew its top privacy executives to Australia to lobby the Australian government over what was then only a proposed law.

The company has also fought similar proposed legislation in the U.K. and the United States.

Source: TechCrunch