Australia to Push for Greater Powers on Encrypted Messaging at 'Five Eyes' Meeting

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by MacRumors, Jun 26, 2017.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Australia is set to push for greater international powers to thwart the use of encrypted messaging services by terrorists and criminals, according to reports on Sunday (via Reuters).

    The topic will be addressed this week at a meeting of officials from the "Five Eyes" intelligence sharing network, which includes the U.S., the U.K, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

    Australia claimed the increasing use of strong encryption on smartphones and other devices was hindering law enforcement's capacity to gather and act on intelligence, and said it wants tech companies to do much more to give intelligence and law enforcement agencies access to encrypted communications.

    Security experts and privacy groups regularly argue that any such methods would simply weaken overall security for everyone.
    The announcement followed the U.K. government's recent statement of intent to pressure technology companies to do more to put an end to the "safe spaces" that the internet offers extremists. The country has also called for measures to "regulate cyberspace", following terror attacks in the country.

    In related news, a leaked draft technical paper prepared by the U.K. government states that technology companies would be required to remove encryption from private communications and provide the raw data "in an intelligible form" without "electronic protection". However, it's not clear if the Conservatives still intend to pursue these powers after recent elections left the party with a minority government and a diminished mandate.

    Last year Apple refused requests from the FBI to break the security of its mobile software, following the recovery of an iPhone used by the San Bernardino shooter. Apple argued the FBI's request would set a "dangerous precedent" with serious implications for the future of smartphone encryption. The dispute ended after the government found an alternate way to access the data on the iPhone through the help of professional hackers.

    Last week, the European Union published draft proposals that would enforce end-to-end encryption on all digital communications and forbid backdoors that enable law enforcement to access private message data. If ratified, the law would put it at odds with both the U.S. and U.K. intelligence communities.

    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: Australia to Push for Greater Powers on Encrypted Messaging at 'Five Eyes' Meeting
  2. Mac-lover3 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 2, 2014
    Looks like we have 2 sides on ecryption, US, AUS & UK <-> EU.
    I don't know what Canadas and New Zealand's government is thinking about at this time.

    I hope they join the EU side.
  3. VulchR macrumors 68020


    Jun 8, 2009
    It's funny. In the UK they government keeps asking for more blanket surveillance powers, and at each step they say it will provide security against terrorist attacks. Funnily enough, it hasn't. It's time the government started focusing on targeted surveillance and give up the totalitarian dream of knowing everything about everybody.
  4. lowendlinux Contributor


    Sep 24, 2014
    North Country (way upstate NY)
    I wonder when governments are going to stop trying to fight the internet, the internet always wins.
  5. peterh988 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 5, 2011
    The problem is, people would be happier to allow this if it was only about targeted monitoring, and highly scrutinised. But we know i's not, what they want to do is monitor everything everyone does, all the time. People are aware of this, and 'mission creep' these days, and don't want it.
  6. fitshaced macrumors 68000


    Jul 2, 2011
    Man I hate George Brandis. A complete idiot when it comes to the technology he's trying to govern.

    The problem with things like this is that there is no way to undo it. Plus, this isn't really about terrorism alone. It's about control. Brandis is really no different to any ego maniac, career obsessed, power hungry lunatic in US politics.
  7. Porco macrumors 68030


    Mar 28, 2005
    "reasonable assistance"

    'hey government people with five eyes, you shouldn't keep trying to break encryption for EVERYONE just to attempt to catch a relatively tiny number of bad guys - and likely fail anyway! You may now thank me for my reasonable assistance. You're welcome.'
  8. skinned66, Jun 26, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2017

    skinned66 macrumors 65816


    Feb 11, 2011
    Ottawa, Canada
    FTFY - because it’s the truth. Encryption that has been thwarted is obsolete.
  9. Shirasaki macrumors 604


    May 16, 2015
    Watch when criminals can gain free access to everything they want thanks to the loss of encryption and more terrorist attacks thanks to the loss of encryption. Btw, criminals will use their own encryption methods and disregard the law anyway.

    I know, some elites just never learn, even if there are huge loss thanks to their dumb ideas. They will never learn, and kill everyone with him/her. This is history.
  10. nwcs macrumors 68000


    Sep 21, 2009
    Even though an EU proposal has been made it doesn't follow it would ever make it to a final state unaltered. Regardless of what side you are in the political spectrum, the interest of the government is always to prevent communication it cannot intercept. Whether publicly through policy, or surreptitiously behind our backs, it will happen that governments will get a back door.
  11. thisisnotmyname macrumors 68000


    Oct 22, 2014
    known but velocity indeterminate
    All that these measures could do is weaken encryption on the consumer devices we all use most. Those who want to inflict chaos and destruction on the world will move to unregulated open source solutions with proper end to end encryption and again be out of reach of government. This is folly.
  12. philosopherdog macrumors 6502a


    Dec 29, 2008
    Politicians should be required to learn about technology. Maybe then they would stop making these idiotic statements and requests.
  13. derek4484 macrumors 6502

    Apr 29, 2010
    You are exactly correct! Ever increasing mass surveillance just paralyzes the government's ability to provide security. They're drowning in raw intelligence. What they do need is better targeted intelligence. All this mass surveillance hasnt stopped any attack. But after they attack they have a great capability to go back through and search their data and know everything about the attacker....but its too late then.
  14. Gaspode67 macrumors regular


    Jul 30, 2008
    Oxon, UK
    I've said it before, and I'll say it again, most politicians (at least here in the UK) just don't understand how technology works. When they get professionals who *do* know about it to talk to them about it, they don't listen fully, just think of what the next news cycle's soundbite could be.

    In this case, it's a case of "We must be seen to do something about Security. This is something, therefore we must do it". People with an ounce of knowledge about this realise that you can't weaken encryption in such a way that only Governments can break it. You make a backdoor, and *anyone* with the right skills will try to break in. Encryption underpins the entire digital economy. You make that less secure, you imperil the whole economy.
  15. whooleytoo macrumors 604


    Aug 2, 2002
    Cork, Ireland.
    Yup. It's almost getting tiresome having to repeat the same old responses..

    "There's no such thing as a back-door for law-enforcement and security agencies. There's either no back-door, or a back-door for everyone."
    "There's no such thing as thwarting the encryption of terrorists. You're either breaking no-one's encryption, or everyone's". Or more accurately "You're diminishing the privacy and security of all your national residents and/or users of services hosted in your countries, while leaving those outside that scope untouched".
    "This will only catch those who take no effort to encrypt their communications. Any half-competent terrorist using their own encryption will likely be untouched, while the majority of the (non-terrorist) users - who are less likely to have their own encryption - will have their privacy and security compromised"

  16. Thunderhawks Suspended

    Feb 17, 2009
    I find these "total surveillance" attempts totally misguided.
    If you want to work in "intelligence", just figure out how to break encryption LOL.

    Whatever encryption is embedded in phones etc. is not even used by the criminals. They have a ton of money and use cell phones one time, then throw them out. (Just one example)

    So far to know afterwards what happened isn't helping.

    Smart criminals will ALWAYS be ahead of the law.

    When will politicians get that?
  17. modemthug macrumors regular

    Apr 20, 2010
    I don't have to explain to most of the readers here what a dumbass misguided idea this is
  18. DrewDaHilp1 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 29, 2009
    All Your Memes Are Belong to US
  19. Shirasaki macrumors 604


    May 16, 2015
    We should go back to the ancient age when people could only live up to 20 years, like, Stone Age. Then, there will be no such issue at all. /sarcasm
  20. VulchR macrumors 68020


    Jun 8, 2009
    Particularity since the internet was set up to provide government communication even in the event of a nuclear apocalypse. Ever since then it has been a race to make the communications secure, so its hardly surprising that government is struggling to read everything that is encrypted.
  21. Thunderhawks Suspended

    Feb 17, 2009
    They are already reading "targeted" words via filters in transmissions of any kind.
    Some time ago, I had to wire money to Israel for printed boxes named ACTIVAR. They blocked the bank and me, as it had ACTIV in the word, probably a popular terrorist word.
  22. macs4nw macrumors 601


    Those with evil intentions will find other methods and will always be a step ahead of law enforcement, and in the process we will have given up our freedoms for 'peace of mind' that's little more than an illusion.
  23. Gasu E. macrumors 601

    Gasu E.

    Mar 20, 2004
    Not far from Boston, MA.

    That's a myth. In the Stone Age, infant mortality was high. If you got past that, you could expect to live for 60-70 years. It was only when people became civilized that life expectancy plummeted. Diabetes, heart disease, and most pandemics, are byproducts of civilization.
  24. canadianreader macrumors 6502


    Sep 24, 2014
    To fight terrorism is to fight the ideology behind it.
  25. CarlJ macrumors 68030


    Feb 23, 2004
    San Diego, CA, USA
    If the Australian government wants to target encryption used by terrorists and criminals, why don't they simply pass a law to make it illegal for terrorists and criminals to use encryption?

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