Briefing

Australian government passes contentious encryption law

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Australia’s parliament passed the first “back-door” encryption law in the Five Eyes alliance on Thursday. The law will force technology companies to provide the government with access to encrypted communications. (New York Times)

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Talking point: Canada, the U.S., and the U.K. have considered introducing such laws previously, but have always backed down following pressure from tech companies, privacy groups and the world’s leading encryption experts, who say it is impossible to create back doors for governments that won’t also be exploited by criminals and corporate competitors. If companies build in back doors for the Australian government, it’ll be fairly easy for Five Eyes governments to get that information. It’ll also embolden those who want similar legislation mandating back doors in countries like Canada and the United States.