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

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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.
"I will raise the need to address ongoing challenges posed by terrorists and criminals using encryption," Australian Attorney General Senator Brandis said in a joint statement.

"These discussions will focus on the need to cooperate with service providers to ensure reasonable assistance is provided to law enforcement and security agencies."
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.

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Article Link: Australia to Push for Greater Powers on Encrypted Messaging at 'Five Eyes' Meeting
 
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VulchR

macrumors 68020
Jun 8, 2009
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Scotland
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.
 

peterh988

macrumors 6502a
Jun 5, 2011
599
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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.
 

fitshaced

macrumors 68000
Jul 2, 2011
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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.
 

Porco

macrumors 68040
Mar 28, 2005
3,108
5,925
"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.'
 

Shirasaki

macrumors G3
May 16, 2015
9,871
3,779
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.
 

nwcs

macrumors 68000
Sep 21, 2009
1,867
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Tennessee
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.
 
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derek4484

macrumors 6502
Apr 29, 2010
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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.
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.
 
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Gaspode67

macrumors regular
Jul 30, 2008
170
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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.
 
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whooleytoo

macrumors 604
Aug 2, 2002
6,572
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Cork, Ireland.
Politicians should be required to learn about technology. Maybe then they would stop making these idiotic statements and requests.
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"

etc..etc..
 
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Thunderhawks

Suspended
Feb 17, 2009
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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?
 

VulchR

macrumors 68020
Jun 8, 2009
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Scotland
I wonder when governments are going to stop trying to fight the internet, the internet always wins.
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.
 

Thunderhawks

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Feb 17, 2009
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The
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.
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.
 

macs4nw

macrumors 601
"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.'
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.
 

Gasu E.

macrumors 601
Mar 20, 2004
4,585
2,558
Not far from Boston, MA.
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

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.
 

CarlJ

macrumors 601
Feb 23, 2004
4,389
7,162
San Diego, CA, USA
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...
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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