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Cyber security measures ‘undermine privacy’: Greens

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Cyber security measures ‘undermine privacy’: Greens

Cyber security

A new bill designed to help law enforcement agencies circumvent criminals hiding behind encrypted data will undermine privacy and actually weaken data safeguards, the Greens has claimed.

Law Enforcement and Cyber Security Minister Angus Taylor released a draft proposal for public comment, which he claimed would assist law enforcers to fight serious crime, including terrorism, organised crime and paedophile networks.

“We know that more than 90 per cent of data lawfully intercepted by the Australian Federal Police now use some form of encryption. This has directly impacted around 200 serious criminal and terrorism-related investigations in the last 12 months alone,” Mr Taylor said.


“We must ensure our laws reflect the rapid take-up of secure online communications by those who seek to do us harm.

Mr Taylor added: “These reforms will allow law enforcement and interception agencies to access specific communications without compromising the security of a network. The measures expressly prevent the weakening of encryption or the introduction of so-called backdoors.”

But the bill was quickly attacked by Senator Jordan Steele-John, the Digital Rights spokesperson for the Australian Greens.

“Encrypted messaging services, such as those used by every politician in this place, were popularised because of intrusive data gathering practices and introduced by governments and security agencies to keep people’s personal and private information secure,” he said.



“This new legislation, the likes of which we have been expecting for some time, is a direct response to people wanting to keep their personal and private data safe and it is a massive over-reach by this government.”

Mr Steele-John claimed that the measures were actually counterproductive, and would ironically weaken efforts to keep important data secure.

“Installing malware on people’s devices to read encrypted data is not a solution to catching criminals but it is weakening the defences of every single device that receives encrypted messages, therefore making it easier for criminals who want to steal data,” he said.

The bill comes just as Minister Taylor called on SMEs to do more to safeguard their personal data.

“There has been a 2,500 per cent increase in the sale of ransomware on dark net sites since 2016,” Fairfax Media quoted him as saying.

“These businesses often find it hard to recover after a cyber security incident. When small businesses experience a significant cyber breach, 60 per cent will go out of business within six months.”

Cyber security measures ‘undermine privacy’: Greens
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