Broad Alliance Calls For Australian Government To Listen To Experts' Warnings About Flaws In New Compelled Access Legislation

from the nah,-we're-ramming-it-through-anyway dept

The battle against encryption is being waged around the world by numerous governments, no matter how often experts explain, often quite slowly, that it's a really bad idea. As Techdirt reported back in August, Australia is mounting its own attack against privacy and security in the form of a compelled access law. The pushback there has just taken an interesting turn with the formation of a Alliance for a Safe and Secure Internet:

The Alliance is campaigning for the Government to slow down, stop ignoring the concerns of technology experts, and listen to its citizens when they raise legitimate concerns. For a piece of legislation that could have such far ranging impacts, a proper and transparent dialogue is needed, and care taken to ensure it does not have the unintended consequence of making all Australians less safe.

The Alliance for a Safe and Secure Internet represents an unusually wide range of interests. It includes Amnesty International and the well-known local group Digital Rights Watch, the Communications Alliance, the main industry body for Australian telecoms, and DIGI, which counts Facebook, Google, Twitter and Yahoo among its members. One disturbing development since we last wrote about the proposed law is the following:

The draft Bill was made public in mid-August and, following a three week consultation process, a large number of submissions from concerned citizens and organisation were received by the Department of Home Affairs. Only a week after the consultation closed the Bill was rushed into Parliament with only very minor amendments, meaning that almost all the expert recommendations for changes to the Bill were ignored by Government.

The Bill has now been referred to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS), where again processes have been truncated, setting the stage for it to be passed into law within months.

That's a clear indication that the Australian government intends to ram this law through the legislative process as quickly as possible, and that it has little intention of taking any notice of what the experts say on the matter -- yet again.

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  • identicon
    mcinsand, 5 Oct 2018 @ 1:56pm

    The people behind the legislation must be Edward Goodwin's descendants (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indiana_Pi_Bill).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Oct 2018 @ 2:27pm

      Re:

      That bill claimed to give a method of squaring the circle, which had already been proven impossible. Australia's bill, while awful, only requires what's actually possible.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 5 Oct 2018 @ 4:58pm

    Susan Landau Might Be Right

    From this analysis (h/t Bruce Schneier):

    The lesson that the law-enforcement agencies took from the Clipper episode was that specifying a particular lawful access solution was a poor strategy. Doing so enabled the computer security community to do what it does best: find security vulnerabilities in the technique. Because lawful access solutions inherently disrupt the security provided by encryption, any proposal for a lawful-access solution will carry serious security risks. And so law enforcement has sought to dodge that discussion by avoiding specifics of how a solution would work. In the current Going Dark effort, law enforcement's strategy has been to shun specifics.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 5 Oct 2018 @ 11:23pm

      'Vague statements: MY anti-fact check'

      That argument makes far too much sense, and would explain a lot about the tactics used by the 'Going dark' fearmongerers.

      If you don't want people to show you how you're wrong, simply make general statements where there's not enough to fact-check.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 5 Oct 2018 @ 11:19pm

    'Really, what do those 'experts' know that we don't?'

    Ignore actual experts and the public, try to rush it through before enough backlash builds...

    I'll take 'How do you know that even the politicians know a bill is so bad they can't defend it?' for $500.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Glenn, 6 Oct 2018 @ 8:46am

    Is the govt. there intent on turning Australia into a penal colony again?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    need more, 6 Oct 2018 @ 9:11am

    good

    need every nation to go full stupid and then more and more people will wander back into that street and all this bs on the net will really heat up ....

    whomever is dreaming up support for all this really wants everyone to really fight....

    39 brind party funded far left and right parties to drive them to nationalist parties....it looks really freaky don't it....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2018 @ 9:31am

    Some one is asking government officials to listen to established experts? ... blaspheme! traitors!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2018 @ 10:05pm

    The Scary Part Is...

    I suspect this bill is a stalking horse for the rest of the 5Es. They are ignoring experts because they want this to be law ASAP and vague as hell so it can serve as a model for countries to mirror in their own legislation. They want to see just how much the Aussie government can get away with and leave undefined.

    The worst part is it would signal the death kneel of the Tech Sector because NO ONE will be able to trust anything.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Oct 2018 @ 6:12am

      Re: The Scary Part Is...

      "because NO ONE will be able to trust anything"

      Too late

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Oct 2018 @ 3:47pm

      Re: The Scary Part Is...

      The worst part is it would signal the death kneel of the Tech Sector because NO ONE will be able to trust anything.

      More like it would kill the internet as a business platform.

      Not being able to confirm with any remote level of certainty who your talking to or what they have said is a deal breaker for any business. Even black markets need reliable transactions. Which is what this kind of law makes impossible.

      I'd imagine that these governments will try to "fix" their mistake with another pen-stroke of the "no hacking" variety, but no criminal is going to pay them any mind when given such a huge goldmine to plunder. The gold will be mined until the businesses are forced to close up their online shops. At which point what will be left is probably 4chan and other such community run sites.

      The good news for those of us who remember the internet before Web 2.0 is a return to the old guard. The bad news is the rank and file peasants will no longer have their circuses to keep them entertained, and that will not end well for anyone.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Oct 2018 @ 3:20pm

    I don't see Apple weakening their security and butting in a backdoor which is what they want. They say no it's not, and try to twist the words to mean something else, but it's a backdoor.

    I'd rather have Apple just pull out of the market at that point. By the way, you can buy an Android phone and install 3rd party software with no backdoors. So really, it's the criminals that will still be protected as everyone else is screwed over.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    mik, 9 Oct 2018 @ 1:36am

    Aus Republicans

    It will come as no surprise that the party in power (the Liberal Party) are a bunch of religious right wing nutcases who decry social programs, do their best to limit freedoms and basically exist to further the aims of their business overlords. You know, basically Australian Republicans.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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