Industry News

Australia to force tech companies to allow government access to encrypted messages

The Australian government has drafted laws to gain access to encrypted messages from messaging apps, but tech companies fear this would create backdoors that would lead to encryption exploits and jeopardize security, writes The Guardian.

The government sees these measures as a partnership with telecom and tech companies “to modernize” interception legislation and keep a closer eye on alleged criminals and terrorists. Officials say backdoors are out of the question, as other decryption methods will be used. As expected, Facebook and Google are key actors involved due to the massive amounts of personal data they collect from users.

Australian Cyber Security Minister Angus Taylor gave no clear explanations of the technology and methods behind getting access to encrypted messages, or whether surveillance codes would be installed on mobile devices. Despite his reluctance to offer details, one thing is certain; the law will take effect in coming months and companies that don’t comply will be fined.

“The key point here is that we need to modernize our laws and get access to information for holding criminals and terrorists to account for investigations and gathering evidence,” Taylor said in an interview.

“Those laws were developed during an analogue era decades ago and they are now out of date. Much data and information is transferred through messaging apps and it’s digital not analogue. There’ve been very substantial changes in the technology and we need to update the powers.”

About the author


From a young age, Luana knew she wanted to become a writer. After having addressed topics such as NFC, startups, and tech innovation, she has now shifted focus to internet security, with a keen interest in smart homes and IoT threats. Luana is a supporter of women in tech and has a passion for entrepreneurship, technology, and startup culture.