Apple flies in top executives to lobby Australia’s Turnbull government on encryption laws

“Apple’s top privacy executives have flown out to Australia twice in the past month to lobby the Turnbull government over looming changes to laws that govern access to encrypted messages,” James Massola and David Wroe report for The Sydney Morning Herald.

“The global technology giant, which is on track to become the world’s first trillion-dollar company, met with Attorney-General George Brandis and senior staff in Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s office on Tuesday to discuss the company’s concerns about the legal changes, which could see tech companies compelled to provide access to locked phones and third party messaging applications,” Massola and Wroe report. “Apple has argued in the meetings that as a starting point it does not want the updated laws to block tech companies from using encryption on their devices, nor for companies to have to provide decryption keys to allow access to secure communications.”

“The company has argued that if it is compelled to provide a software ‘back door’ into its phones to help law enforcement agencies catch criminals and terrorists, this would reduce the security for all users,” Massola and Wroe report. “The laws will be modelled on those introduced in Britain about a year ago and the government says it will update and enhance the obligations on tech companies that make phones and secure messaging applications such as WhatsApp to provide assistance to police and spy agencies when requested, subject to a warrant. Just how this greater access to, for example, locked devices and encrypted messages can technically be achieved is not clear and this, in part, was the purpose of the government-Apple meeting.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote yesterday: 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.

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

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

Apple meeting with Australian government to discuss proposed encryption ‘back doors’ – July 18, 2017
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. They simply have to weight whatever law enforcement advantages the government might get out of it as compared to disadvantages of letting eventual backdoor major breaches of security with consumers and government officials own phones.

    1. The net result is, as you imply, that any less-than-trustworthy state could request Apple (or any other tech company) hand over the keys to a western government’s communications.

      Under the existing regime only a technically sophisticated government (“Five Eyes”, Russia, etc.) could eves-drop on electronic communications in a big way. If the tech companies must retain and hand over encryption keys, any government, no matter how illegitimate or rogue, could get the keys just by asking.

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