Australia recently passed a controversial anti-encryption bill that will aid in allowing government officials to hack, implant malware, and undermine encryption, according to Tech Crunch. Apple has called the bill “dangerously ambiguous,” and Cisco, Mozilla, and a slew of other tech companies have criticized the bills contradictory, vague language as well as its .
Companies that don’t oblige could face major fines. Supporters claim that this bill is intended to help catch serious criminals like sex offenders, terrorists, and homicide and drug offenders, but the opposition worries it will be applied to smaller crimes like copyright infringement.
Sceptics are also worried about the loopholes in the legislation as well as the backdoors it creates for the government to access encrypted messages, making them more susceptible to hackers.
Of the bill’s opponents, many are legislators, including Greens’ senator Jordon Steele-John, who tweeted: “Far from being a ‘national security measure’ this bill will have the unintended consequence of diminishing the online safety, security and privacy of every single Australian.”
This bill comes as part of a global move towards giving government entities greater access to encrypted data. The U.S., the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, and Canada make up a global surveillance pact, often referred to as “The Five Eyes.” Earlier this year they promised not to force companies to grant them access to encrypted messages, but the terms of newly passing legislation indicate otherwise.
For instance, the U.K. ratified a bill in 2016 called the Investigatory Powers Act, which is often odiously referred to as the “snoopers charter.” The European Court of Human Rights have denounced parts of the bill, claiming they violate human rights by permitting the power of obtaining communications data directly from providers.
Australia, however, isn’t so concerned with such entities seeing as they don’t have to abide by European law. Their bill, similar to that ratified in the U.K., is unlikely to face international legal consequences.