Apple Criticizes Proposed Anti-Encryption Legislation in Australia

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
48,658
10,080



The Australian government is considering a bill that would require tech companies like Apple to provide "critical assistance" to government agencies who are investigating crimes.

According to the Australian government, encryption is problematic because encrypted communications "are increasingly being used by terrorist groups and organized criminals to avoid detection and disruption."


As noted by TechCrunch, Apple today penned a seven-page letter to the Australian parliament criticizing the proposed legislation.

In the letter, Apple calls the bill "dangerously ambiguous" and explains the importance of encryption in "protecting national security and citizens' lives" from criminal attackers who are finding more serious and sophisticated ways to infiltrate iOS devices.
In the face of these threats, this is no time to weaken encryption. There is profound risk of making criminals' jobs easier, not harder. Increasingly stronger -- not weaker -- encryption is the best way to protect against these threats.
Apple says that it "challenges the idea" that weaker encryption is necessary to aid law enforcement investigations as it has processed more than 26,000 requests for data to help solve crimes in Australia over the course of the last five years.

According to Apple, the language in the bill is broad and vague, with "ill-defined restrictions." As an example, Apple says the language in the bill would permit the government to order companies who make smart home speakers to "install persistent eavesdropping capabilities" or require device makers to create a tool to unlock devices.

Apple says additional work needs to be done on the bill to include a "firm mandate" that "prohibits the weakening of encryption or security protections," with the company going on to outline a wide range of specific concerns that it hopes the Australian parliament will address. The list of flaws Apple has found with the bill can be found in the full letter.

Apple has been fighting against anti-encryption legislation and attempts to weaken device encryption for years, and its most public battle was against the U.S. government in 2016 after Apple was ordered to help the FBI unlock the iPhone owned by Syed Farook, one of the shooters in the December 2015 attacks in San Bernardino.

Apple opposed the order and claimed that it would set a "dangerous precedent" with serious implications for the future of smartphone encryption. Apple ultimately held its ground and the U.S. government backed off after finding an alternate way to access the device, but Apple has continually had to deal with further law enforcement efforts to combat encryption.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Article Link: Apple Criticizes Proposed Anti-Encryption Legislation in Australia
 
  • Like
Reactions: Vanilla35

Sasparilla

macrumors 65816
Jul 6, 2012
1,431
2,220
Last edited:

WannaGoMac

macrumors 68020
Feb 11, 2007
2,432
3,375
I love how Apple pretends to be the good guy and I love how people believe it. LOL!
Look forward to you posting some citations backing your nebulous statement.

In any case, they are the only corporate entity that at least tries to stand by privacy rights, mostly cause they can as it doesn't officially make money off selling it's user data.
 

peterh988

macrumors 6502a
Jun 5, 2011
599
1,002
That appears to be ongoing issue with these types of legislation; vague and broad.
And that's the problem with stuff like this, mission creep.

In the UK, RIPA was only going to affect people involved in serious criminal activity. It's been used for dog fouling, and to see if people live in the correct school catchment area.

They can't use their powers responsibly, so they shouldn't have them.
 

BootsWalking

macrumors 65816
Feb 1, 2014
1,304
7,618
If Apple is forced to compromise their encryption in Australia then the encryption we enjoy here might be compromised as well, since it's a shared code base and any method Apple implements has the potential to be utilized here too (by hackers), whether Apple wants it to or not.
 

justperry

macrumors G4
Aug 10, 2007
10,600
6,088
I'm a rolling stone.
Just because Apple has billions of dollars stored away somewhere doesn't mean they can try to influence other countries politics. Deal with it!
Fact is all iOS devices are affected, also in countries where encryption is allowed, pretty sure the EU wants to make it law that gives this right to all it's citizens.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Agit21

whyamihere

macrumors 6502
Jun 30, 2008
467
692
'nati
Any terrorist or organized crime that would ever be stupid enough to make their plans with a smart speaker nearby would most assuredly be easily caught via legitimate/legal means anyway. This is simply the government wanting the ability to easily surveil the masses with complete disregard for the right of privacy.
 

Marekul

macrumors 6502
Jan 2, 2018
369
621
If there’s one thing that you can’t criticize Apple for, it’s their stance on your right to privacy.
Wich only counts for people outside of China.
Look forward to you posting some citations backing your nebulous statement.

In any case, they are the only corporate entity that at least tries to stand by privacy rights, mostly cause they can as it doesn't officially make money off selling it's user data.
They didn’t try much in China. Instead they gave iCloud keys over to government. Apple is a joke when it comes to privacy where it is really needed.
 

keysofanxiety

macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
9,537
25,262
I literally don't know one Australian that talks like that. A number of those words aren't even Strine (Australian Broad Accent and Slang).
Australians don’t talk like that? Really? I had no idea.

Next you’re going to tell me that Americans don’t hyuck-hyuck and punctuate every sentence with a gunshot as an eagle soars above their head to the background chant of U-S-A! U-S-A!

Thanks for keeping me right.
 

Skeptical.me

macrumors 6502
Jun 10, 2017
461
403
Australia
I’m 110% behind Apple on this one. Even if I wasn’t, I still would be - anything to call out the Liberal party on their bull$hit.
The Australian Conservatives have gone nuts, too far to the right for mainstream Australia, I'm not voting for the Conservative Liberal Party at the next election.
[doublepost=1539374587][/doublepost]
Australians don’t talk like that? Really? I had no idea.

Next you’re going to tell me that Americans don’t hyuck-hyuck and punctuate every sentence with a gunshot as an eagle soars above their head to the background chant of U-S-A! U-S-A!

Thanks for keeping me right.

LOL
 

npmacuser5

macrumors 65816
Apr 10, 2015
1,242
1,280
Maybe you should go to China and try to openly criticise the government there, let us know how that turns out for you ;)
China sells the ability to watch its citizens as away of protecting them. The Governments job and they do it better. What the Australian Government appears to be selling. Which side you are on comes down to how much faith one puts in their government. Chinese Government has very little trouble answering the question, your post. We the US are an interesting lot. Half the folks believe whatever the current President of the US says, 100% trust. For them, if he said encryption a bad thing and I need it removed, OK. The other half, have Government trust issues. See it as away to keep Government powers under control. Two very diverse sides to the encryptions debate.
 
  • Like
Reactions: supertomtom

Marekul

macrumors 6502
Jan 2, 2018
369
621
If Apple is forced to compromise their encryption in Australia then the encryption we enjoy here might be compromised as well, since it's a shared code base and any method Apple implements has the potential to be utilized here too (by hackers), whether Apple wants it to or not.
Apple Security is already severely compromised with having a very large subset of users on Infrastructure owned by a fascist totalitarian dictatorship which also Has access to private keys.
 
  • Like
Reactions: AlexGraphicD
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.