Apple out of criticism of Australian ‘anti-encryption law’

Oct

13

2018

Apple is critical of an Australian bill that would require tech companies to provide assistance “in obtaining digital data.” According to Apple, the proposal is ‘so broad and vague’ that in practice it can amount to mandatory backdoors.

Apple has sent a seven-page letter to the Australian Parliament stating that such far-reaching assistance in decrypting data can actually work more favorably for a criminal than a law enforcement official. Encryption is, according to the tech giant, ‘a crucial line of defense against a criminal who wants to inject malware or spyware into a victim’s device in order to gain access to a company, public facility or government body’.

According to Apple, the government has in the past expressed the intention to keep encryption undisturbed, which gives the impression that there is the possibility that the bill, called the Access and Assistance Bill , is still being amended. At the same time, Australia is one of the Five Eyes countries that recently called on companies to voluntarily provide access to encrypted data.

However, the Australian government has explicitly requested the feedback from, among others, Apple when drawing up this proposal. To date, even several suggestions for improvements have been taken by the managers, but Apple is not satisfied yet. It is unclear whether there was any comment about encryption during this previous feedback round and was baffled or that Apple is now talking about it in this letter for the first time.

It is not the first time that Apple is working hard for encryption. Other companies that make a protest are Amnesty International, Google and Facebook.

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