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Australia: New law would force Facebook and Google to give police access to encrypted messages

Published: July 14, 2017
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Source: The Guardian

The Australian government has proposed a new cybersecurity law to force global technology companies such as Facebook and Google to give law enforcement agencies access to encrypted messages sent by suspected extremists and criminals.

Malcolm Turnbull said on Friday the law would be modelled on Britain’s Investigatory Powers Act, passed in November, which gave intelligence agencies some of the most extensive surveillance powers in the western world.

Under the law, internet companies would have the same obligations as telephone companies to help law enforcement agencies. Police would need warrants to access the communications. Turnbull said the legislation was necessary to keep pace with advances in technology that could facilitate crime.

“We need to ensure that the internet is not used as a dark place for bad people to hide their criminal activities from the law,” he said.

Asked by reporters how legislation would prevent users simply moving to encryption software not controlled by tech companies, Turnbull said Australian law overrode the laws of mathematics.

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