Many have already heard about and worried over what recent new encryption laws here in Australia might mean for data protection specifically and privacy in general. What we do know is that they are convoluted and the results will be somewhat unpredictable. Why? Because as this article explains, there are just too many variables around end users and component supply companies to gain full and precise understanding of consequences. What we can say with certainty is that, in essence, the intention is for the effectiveness of encryption to be compromised, if and when the need arises according to law enforcement agencies. This may seem daunting to some while others may simply claim they have nothing to worry about because they have nothing to hide.
However,consider the company who insists that their staff who have access to commercially sensitive information, communicate and share documents and details exclusively via secure means. Suddenly, the phone person A might be using is a contravention of a particular set of corporate by-laws. What about those laptops? What about this VPN. This is what is meant by unpredictability. Surely the intention of these laws was not to expose legitimate businesses large and small to increased expense or worry or security concerns. And while we wholeheartedly agree that criminal behavior must be snuffed out for the good of all, can we also be as gun-ho when it comes to opening up additional avenues for online criminal behavior?
Moreover, this Access and Assistance Bill means that intelligence officials have the power to force you to open your smartphone in front of them– presumably armed with compelling evidence of significant wrong doing, paperwork etc…
Of course, this has sparked debate around right to security vs right to privacy. The scales of justice, it seems, have had some weighty matters added to the measuring trays. We will continue to follow this story, the laws, their implications both on corporations and private citizens and their private information.
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