Apple and Google part of opposing coalition of firms

Dec 11, 2018 21:07 GMT  ·  By  ·  Comment  · 
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Reform Government Surveillance
   Reform Government Surveillance

U.S. tech giants part of the Reform Government Surveillance (RGS) coalition collectively urged Australia to correct the new and "deeply flawed" anti-encryption Assistance and Access Bill.

At the moment Apple, Evernote, Dropbox, Facebook, Google LinkedIn, Microsoft, Oath, Snap, and Twitter are the U.S. tech companies that make up the Reform Government Surveillance coalition.

"RGS has consistently opposed any government action that would undermine the cybersecurity, human rights, or the right to privacy of our users – unfortunately, the Assistance and Access Bill that was just passed through the Australian Parliament will do just that," states RGS' press release.

The new Australian bill would give law enforcement agencies the means to request access to encrypted messages after receiving technical requests and tech companies would also be forced to build interception tools which can be used spy on persons of interest.

Furthermore, the anti-encryption law requires companies that fail to comply to technical notices or requests to pay fines of up to A$10 million ($7.3 million).

Apple, Google, Microsoft asked the Australian Parliament to address the bill's flaws

On the other hand, individuals who fail in any manner to provide the law agencies with the requested data will get prison time.

Also according to the RGS, "The new Australian law is deeply flawed, overly broad, and lacking in adequate independent oversight over the new authorities. RGS urges the Australian Parliament to promptly address these flaws when it reconvenes."

The Australian anti-encryption bill did not come as a surprise give that nations part of the Five Eyes intelligence network (i.e., United States, Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand) have previously mentioned the fact that their security is put at risk because criminals are protected by encryption tech they are unable to break.

In addition, the Five Eyes network has also brought up the protection provided by encrypted channels provided within messaging apps which cannot be recorded or monitored during investigations.

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