Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Australia's proposed encryption laws


New laws proposed by the Australian Government target communication services and device makers, and include the power for police to force companies to disclose encrypted information on devices like phones, computers and social media platforms. Apple has called the draft legislation “dangerously ambiguous”, saying that the Coalition's attempt to weaken digital encryption should be “alarming to all Australians”.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

"Security by design is essential and we are not very good at it in the first place. Weakening any security control by design is, therefore, a bad idea. Cyber criminals are vigilantly seeking vulnerabilities in our devices, social media services, and all forms of telecommunications we rely upon and use daily. If we leave an intentional backdoor, they will find it. Once it is discovered it is usually not easy to fix.

However, there is no easy solution to the situation. Because, if intelligence agencies and law enforcement services need timely access to encrypted communications or devices used by criminals, they would need the keys to unlock it. So we are faced with the challenge of balancing between our privacy, and the security and wellbeing of our family, friends and community. "

Dr Ahmed Ibrahim is Lecturer of Computing and Security, School of Science at Edith Cowan University.

"In a tug-of-war between government and private enterprise, we witness the brute force attack of unravelling proprietary encryption algorithms in the name of national security. What politicians and law enforcement agencies have not realised is that by creating rules that allegedly minimise the risk of cyberterrorism via encrypted messaging, that they are encroaching on organisational security, and on every individual citizen's right to privacy.


The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.