Australia’s new anti-encryption laws are bad news for Apple

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Apple takes privacy seriously
Apple is all about privacy.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Australia’s population may be less than 10 percent of the United States’ but its new anti-privacy laws could still have Silicon Valley tech giants quaking in their boots.

The country’s newly passed laws mean that law enforcement officials are allowed to access encrypted messages when required. That affects companies including Google, Facebook, Twitter, and, yes, Apple.

Apple joins other tech giants opposing proposed anti-encryption law

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Tim Cook
Tim Cook is a strong supporter of privacy and encryption.
Photo: Apple

Apple has joined Alphabet, Amazon, and Facebook in opposing a proposed Australian law requiring tech companies to let law enforcement access private encrypted data in suspected criminal investigations.

The law would seek to punish companies which don’t comply with $7.2 million fines, along with prison terms for individuals. It would make Australia one of the first nations to pass major legislation in this area, although other countries may be keen to follow in its footsteps.

European court rules Apple and other tech companies are violating privacy

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The European Court of Justice just handed down a disruptive ruling.
The European Court of Justice just handed down a disruptive ruling.
Photo: Cédric Puisney/FlickrCC

In a landmark decision Tuesday, the European Court of Justice ruled that European Union regulators can override the Safe Harbor agreement, a 15-year-old accord that has — until now — allowed Apple, Google, Facebook, and about 4,500 other U.S. companies to transfer data from European users to the U.S.

The court believes that the current agreement violates European citizens’ right to privacy by exposing their private data to the U.S. government through the American companies’ cooperation with U.S. intelligence agencies.

Safety-minded Kiwis want Apple Watch off the road

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Apple Watch while driving
This is a really bad idea.
Photo: Evan Killham/Cult of Mac

The Apple Watch may not be available in New Zealand yet, but that isn’t stopping some safety-minded organizations from seeking to ban it, and other smartwatches, from use while driving.

“A second’s inattention at the wheel can result in tragedy,” said advocate Caroline Perry of road-safety charity Brake. “Smartwatches and other wearable technology are extremely distracting if used while driving.”