Monday, December 10, 2018


The government will soon be spying on your messages with new world-first national security laws dealing with encrypted communications expected to pass parliament this week. 

Messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are secured with end-to-end encryption, meaning the app and third parties cannot read or listen to the content – but that is now about to change.

The spying powers are limited to only ‘serious offences’ such as preventing terrorism and tackling organised crime in Australia. 

The government will soon be spying on your messages with new world-first national security laws dealing with encrypted communications expected to pass parliament this week (stock image) 

The government will soon be spying on your messages with new world-first national security laws dealing with encrypted communications expected to pass parliament this week (stock image) 

Messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are secured with end-to-end encryption, meaning the app and third parties cannot read or listen to the content 

Messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are secured with end-to-end encryption, meaning the app and third parties cannot read or listen to the content 

Messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are secured with end-to-end encryption, meaning the app and third parties cannot read or listen to the content 

Who is allowed to spy on you?  

  • Australian Secret Intelligence Organisation
  • Australian Secret Intelligence Service
  • Australian Signals Directorate
  • Australian Federal Police
  • Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity
  • Australian Crime Commission
  • State Police 

 

Under the proposed powers, companies would be required to build a new function to help police access the suspects’ data, or risk a fine for not doing so.

They could be asked to install software or a modifying service on the suspects’ device, and provide technical information such as the source code. 

The suspect would not even know if they’re being spied on because the company cannot tell anyone. 

On Tuesday, Labor and the government came to an in-principle agreement on key parts of the bill after the ALP pushed for it to be amended.

‘The changes include limiting the application of the powers in this bill to only serious offences,’ Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said.

‘There are likely to be significant outstanding issues, but this compromise will deliver security and enforcement agencies the powers they say they need over the Christmas period, and ensure adequate oversight and safeguards.’ 

The proposed bill is yet to be signed off by parliament’s intelligence and security committee.

'The changes include limiting the application of the powers in this bill to only serious offences,' Shadow Attorney General Mark Dreyfus said

'The changes include limiting the application of the powers in this bill to only serious offences,' Shadow Attorney General Mark Dreyfus said

‘The changes include limiting the application of the powers in this bill to only serious offences,’ Shadow Attorney General Mark Dreyfus said

For the proposed changes to go through Parliament quickly, Labor is required to back the laws 

For the proposed changes to go through Parliament quickly, Labor is required to back the laws 

For the proposed changes to go through Parliament quickly, Labor is required to back the laws 

For the proposed changes to go through Parliament quickly, Labor is required to back the laws. 

The bill is almost 200 pages and three of the key powers Australian government agencies would be able to issue have been heavily criticised. 

Police would be given the authority to ask a company to ‘voluntarily’ help create a program so they could spy on their suspects.

The company is required to assist if they can decrypt a specific communication, or risk a fine for not doing so. 

The company must build a new function to help police get at a suspect’s data, or face fines.

Attorney-General Christian Porter accused Mr Dreyfus in parliament of dragging the chain

Attorney-General Christian Porter accused Mr Dreyfus in parliament of dragging the chain

Attorney-General Christian Porter accused Mr Dreyfus in parliament of dragging the chain

The laws were the subject of fiery debate in Parliament on Monday, with Energy Minister Angus Taylor accusing Labor of ‘running a protection racket for terrorists’ by refusing to rush through the laws.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said Labor wanted terrorists to be able to communicate via WhatsApp, while Prime Minister Scott Morrison accused Labor leader Bill Shorten of being ‘happy’ for terrorists to plot attacks using encrypted messages. 

Attorney-General Christian Porter accused Mr Dreyfus of dragging the chain.

‘How much more constructive could the shadow attorney-general be if he put his considerable legal skills to reading the submissions, understanding what they say and acting on them appropriately and passing this counter-encryption bill this week,’ Mr Porter said.  



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