Apple meeting with Australian government to discuss proposed encryption ‘back doors’

“Attorney-General George Brandis will meet with global tech-giant Apple this week in an attempt gain an agreement to allow police and intelligence agencies access to encrypted information from suspected terrorists and criminals,” AAP reports.

“Brandis says the government will be seeking voluntary cooperation as a first preference,” AAP reports.”‘But we will also be legislating so that we do have that coercive power if need be if we don’t get the cooperation we seek,’ he told Sky News On Sunday. ‘We will be pursuing both of these avenues.'”

Full article here.

“The Australian bill that would allow courts to order tech companies to quickly unlock communications will be introduced to Parliament by November, officials said. Under the law, internet companies would have the same obligations telephone companies do to help law enforcement agencies, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said,” AP reports. “The government expected resistance from some tech companies, many of them based in the United States. But the companies ‘know morally they should” cooperate,’ Turnbull said. ‘There is a culture, particularly in the United States, a very libertarian culture, which is quite anti-government in the tech sector,’ Turnbull said.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: These people who willingly subjugate themselves to government, regardless of how beneficent or harmless or whateverthefuck they perceive their government to be, are utterly ignorant of history.

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. — Lord Acton

Again, encryption is binary; it’s either on or off. You cannot have both. You either have privacy via full encryption or you don’t by forcing back doors upon Apple or anybody else. It’s all or nothing. — MacDailyNews, March 8, 2017

Good luck convincing or compelling Apple to install back doors, Turnbull and Brandis, you contemptible, tech illiterate fools.

We’d bet Australia will go without iPhones before Apple destroys the iOS platform by building in back doors.

There have been people that suggest that we should have a back door. But the reality is if you put a back door in, that back door’s for everybody, for good guys and bad guys. — Apple CEO Tim Cook

Strong encryption without back doors or U.S. companies’ tech products will be eschewed around the world.MacDailyNews, January 15, 2016

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

What WikiLeaks’ CIA data dump tells us: Encryption works – March 11, 2017
WikiLeaks reveals CIA’s global covert hacking program targeting Apple iPhone, Google Android, Microsoft Windows and even Samsung TVs – March 7, 2017
Proving Apple’s assertion that there are no good backdoors, hacker dumps iOS cracking tools allegedly stolen from Cellebrite – February 2, 2017
A hacker just proved that Apple was right to worry about creating a backdoor to the iPhone – January 13, 2017
Apple CEO Tim Cook touts encryption at Senator Orrin Hatch’s Utah Tech Tour – October 3, 2016
Feckless FBI unable to unlock iPhone, even with a ‘fingerprint unlock warrant’ – May 12, 2016
FBI’s Comey says agency paid more than $1 million to access San Bernadino iPhone – April 21, 2016
Nothing significant found on San Bernardino’s terrorist’s iPhone – April 14, 2016
FBI director confirms hack only works on older iPhones that lack Apple’s Secure Enclave – April 7, 2016
Apple responds to FBI: ‘This case should have never been brought’ – March 29, 2016
Apple CEO Cook: ‘You can’t have a back door that’s only for the good guys’ – November 21, 2015


  1. As serious as Turnbull and Brandis seem to be at this point, I am sceptical that this will get off the ground. Yes, the ALP opposition have implied their support for such an approach in principle, but after meeting with tech brass I can’t see bipartisanship on this particular issue to continue.

  2. This government has a history of creeping control. In the lead up to metadata legislation the government assured Australians that the legislation was ONLY going to be used against terrorists.

    After the legislation was passed by the house of representatives and the senate we then found out that the legislation was being used against everything from fraud through to pedophilia and copyright breaches.

    Turnbull who, at the time even admitted that it could be bypassed by setting up a VPN, was in charge of the legislation which only affected people who are too technologically challenged to bypass the metadata provisions.

    Likewise, this is the man who destroyed the National Broadband Network rollout by foisting fibre to the node technology which led to a bifurcated second rate system. Some people have fibre to the premises whilst others have the second rate fibre to the node.

    Now he says trust us (yet again) with backdoor access to iPhones and the like. Give me a break. This is a village idiot approach that is doomed to fail and just makes Australia look foolish. What is the government going to do if Apple and Google et alia say no to this…ban Australians having access to their products.

    Then again I guess we’ve come some distance from the 1998-1999 when the Communications department was the last government department to link up to the internet.

    Also, this was the same department (and political party) that said they were going to stop internet porn from entering Australia. And that latter example always gave me a vision of Australia standing there behind a tiny shield as a tsunami of internet porn washed over the country. Oh yeah and that didn’t work either.

  3. “Turnbull has been at pains to emphasise the government does *not* want a “so called” backdoor to access devices and messages.” – Australian Financial Review

    What part of NOT is causing reading difficulties here

    Apple meeting with Australian government to discuss proposed encryption ‘back doors’ – MDN

    1. I think you are missing the point: there is no way to provide the information that the Government are demanding without creating a back door. The companies do not currently have any more ability to decode encrypted data than the government does. By definition, end to end encryption is not accessible by a party in the middle (whether device manufacturer, telecoms provider, ISP, or whatever). It can only be cracked, if at all, by the brute-force application of massive, expensive computing resources.

      For the companies to meet the Government demand would therefore require modifying their hardware and/or software to provide an alternative means of access to the data that bypasses the encryption. That is what a back door is. Demanding access without a back door is like ordering an omelette without any cracked eggs. It is simply impossible.

      A very old legal maxim states, “Equity will not command a vain thing.” I do not think that the Australian Parliament has jurisdiction over laws of nature. Either it can accept them as they are or it can order the abolition of device security by requiring the provision of back door access. Google might accept that, but Apple certainly will not. Australia isn’t a key market for them. Let’s see how popular the Turnbull Government is when the voters are told they must accept subpar phones that are deliberately designed to be insecure.

      The problem for Apple will come when the United States makes the same demand. There is some history of our government not understanding science.

      1. No, that’s not the point at all. Words do have meanings. The headline is point-blank wrong. A false premise, a strawman created to garner attention and advertising money. PM Turnbull is not [viz., the ordinary adverb of negation] demanding a back door, he is requiring rapid compliance to court orders for assistance in cases of suspected terrorism activity… up to but not including the Apple, etc. crippling of their own security.

        “This is ***not*** about creating or exploiting back doors, as some privacy advocates continue to say, despite constant reassurance from us. It is about collaboration with and assistance from industry in the pursuit of public safety,” Turnbull told the House of Representatives.”

        1. Please explain how Apple and others will be able to provide “…rapid compliance to court orders for assistance in cases of suspected terrorism activity…” without an encryption backdoor. Apple has (intentionally) transitioned to full device encryption years ago and cannot “comply,” if I understand what you are saying. What does Turnbull expect Apple to do?

          I will reserve judgment until I hear the results of this meeting. But this sounds like a proposed law without an option for Apple and other companies who have followed Apple’s lead in personal privacy.

          Full device encryption is another area in which Apple looked ahead, identified a major potential issue, and preemptively solved it. Another reason to remain a loyal Apple advocate.

      2. I know what he said. I was just pointing out that what he is demanding—rapid access to the middle of a truly secure end-to-end encrypted communications channel—is impossible. The only possible way for Apple to “cripple their own security,” as you put it, is by building a back door that will be accessible to bad guys as easily as to a lawman with a warrant.

        Terrorists would be able to decrypt messages within the counterintelligence agencies as easily as the other way around. Fraudsters could access your bank information as easily as you can. Pedophiles could track your children even easier than you can. Those are all the inevitable, if undesired, consequences of the Turnbull proposal.

        1. botvinnik,

          We agree completely on this one.

          It reminds me of the bills introduced in the early 1900s in a number of southern-state legislatures to redefine pi as 3.0 because: (a) That was easier for a student to memorize than an “admittedly irrational” number and (b) It complied with the inerrant Bible teaching of 1 Kings 7:23.

          I guess that those legislators or their descendants have emigrated to Australia, where the laws of science are still subject to a vote in Parliament.

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