What is it with Australia’s law enforcement authorities? Their uncontrollable appetite for encrypted data – primarily the data of private users – is so voracious it has become a parody of itself. There seems to be little that will restrain such politicians as Cybersecurity minister Angus Taylor, who insists that the technology giants cough up data with ease and cooperative generosity.
“We need legislation in place,” claims Taylor in justification, “whereby companies can work with government to ensure that we can get access to the data we need to prosecute and investigate serious crimes.” And there you have it: the cooperative model between government and technology providers that surrenders individual privacy at a moment’s notice, the civic duty to do what’s good for the country, however unnecessarily intrusive.
The Australian government’s attitudes to the private data of citizens tend to be schizophrenic. They acknowledge the value of encrypted services, but do not like them. As the Department of Home Affairs explains, “Encryption and other forms of electronic protection are vital security measures that protect private, commercial and Government data and make communications and devices of all people more secure.”
Then comes the grim qualifier, setting the ground for exceptions. “However, these security measures are also being employed by terrorists, child sex offenders and criminal organisations to mask illegal conduct.” …