Australia Passes Cyber Snooping Laws With Global Implications
Daniyal Sohail 6 days ago Thu 06th December 2018 | 07:02 PM
Australia Thursday passed controversial laws allowing spies and police to snoop on the encrypted communications of suspected terrorists and criminals, as experts warned the "unprecedented powers" had far-reaching implications for global cyber security.
There has been extensive debate about the laws and their reach beyond Australia's shores in what is seen as the latest salvo between global governments and tech firms over national security and privacy. Under the legislation, Canberra can compel local and international providers, including overseas communication giants such as Facebook and WhatsApp, to remove electronic protections, conceal covert operations by government agencies, and help with access to devices or services.
Australian authorities can also require that those demands be kept secret.
A last-minute deal was struck with the opposition Labor Party over its demands for more oversight and safeguards when the laws are used, with a review of the legislation to take place in 18 months.
The government also agreed to consider further amendments to the bill early next year.
National cyber security adviser Alastair MacGibbon said police have been "going blind or going deaf because of encryption" used by suspects.
Brushing off warnings from tech giants that the laws would undermine internet security, MacGibbon said they would be similar to traditional telecommunications intercepts, just updated to take in modern technologies.