Australia plans law for tech firms to hand over encrypted private data or face millions in fines, jail time for execs

“Australia on Tuesday proposed a new law requiring technology firms such as Alphabet Inc’s Google, Facebook and Apple to give police access to private encrypted data linked to suspected illegal activities,” Erin Cooper reports for Reuters. “The measure, which targets platforms the Australian government says could be used for criminal activities or to plan a terror attack, would require police to get a court warrant to access the encrypted data.”

“It sets fines of up to A$10 million ($7.3 million) for institutions that do not comply, and jail time for individuals, but has yet to be presented in parliament and it was not clear when it could become law,” Cooper reports. “An industry group that includes Google, Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo! and Microsoft called for a “constructive and public dialogue” with the government as the Assistance and Access Bill 2018 goes through parliament.”

“Apple did not immediately respond to request for a comment,” Cooper reports. “Cybersecurity experts worried about a lack of judicial oversight, saying the policy was out of step with privacy laws elsewhere.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If Apple doesn’t have the data, they cannot hand over anything.

Here’s to iCloud becoming fully end-to-end encrypted!

Again, people who willingly subjugate themselves to government, regardless of how beneficent or harmless or whatever they perceive their current government to be, are utterly ignorant of history.

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 their iOS platform by building in backdoors.

There have been people that suggest that we should have a back door. But the reality is if you put a backdoor in, that backdoor’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

iCloud changes put Apple on collision course with overreaching governments – July 20, 2017
Apple flies in top executives to lobby Australia’s Turnbull government on encryption laws – July 19, 2017
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
Now Apple is going to stop the U.S. government from getting into iCloud data, too – March 28, 2016


  1. Let Australia become an Android-only country then. I am sure crooked Google and others will be delighted to hand over their user data, an action being close to their own cold self-serving hearts.

    This type of action only shows how technologically stupid many global politicians are, failing to see the unintended consequences.

  2. As described, the proposed law requires companies to give the authorities encrypted data if a warrant is issued. I didn’t see any mention of requiring companies to do the impossible, which is to decrypt data which has been encoded in a way which cannot possibly be decrypted.

    Obviously companies such as Apple might agree to offer data they have stored on iCloud and may be able to extract additional metadata from iPhones, but decrypting properly encrypted files is virtually impossible. To do so by brute force within a modest time scale would require computers far more powerful than anything currently available.

    1. Australia is learning bad behavior from the US. It’s like asking the telephone pole to reveal the communication occurring in the electrical wires, or asking a cricket pitcher to reveal the contents of the cricket ball.

      In both cases, the overstepping police need to go directly to the originators; the person issuing the original data using the wires and to the manufacturer of the ball, just as the Australian investigator needs to go directly after the criminal suspect, not Apple.

  3. Ah, Minister for Home Affairs etc. Peter Dutton’s finger prints are all over this. Wouldn’t surprise me if this legislation gets amended in the Senate. FOYI the man is a former Queensland police officer who is a control freak with fascist tendencies…and I really do mean that in a moderate way.

    Try this one on for size. Under his watch children are dumped in third word countries for off shore processing for years on end even after they have been found eligible for refugee status. Now I’m not against offshore detention but under Peter Dutton’s watch this has led to self harm, suicide and in one case a detainee was denied medical help in Australia for a nail in their foot, which then led to septicaemia and then death. There have been cases of self immolation, hangings, attacks by police in Papua New Guinea (our thoroughly corrupt basket case to the north) and Dutton is totally immune to it all.

    Oh and as for MDN’s comment “…We’d bet Australia will go without iPhones before Apple destroys their iOS platform by building in backdoors.” This has nothing to do with backdoors rather it all about handing over information to authorities whilst not building in backdoors into Apple’s software. Do your research MDN before making inaccurate claims.

    1. The problem is that Apple CAN’T hand over information to authorities without building a back door. If Australia is demanding unencrypted data from iPhones, it is demanding that Apple provide a back door. There is no other way to do it.

    1. According to one group, you are correct. China is the worst, but unfortunately, USA is number two because of pesticides. The Clean Water Act clamped down on business and manufacturing, yet farmers can conduct business as usual.

      Hey Timmy, maybe you should sit down with your SJW green lieutenants and preach to China’s leadership about doing business in the country of the world’s worst water polluting nation. Oops, you don’t want to be censored again. Detail:

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