The rapid proliferation of encrypted messaging by terrorist networks has prompted the Turnbull government to look at changing laws to force telecommunications and technology firms to help authorities decrypt suspect messages.
Attorney-General George Brandis said the government will not pursue the controversial “backdoor” access option by forcing firms to plant flaws in their encryption software that would allow it to be cracked by police or security agencies.
Senator Brandis also said the mechanisms for warrant exchanges between Australian agencies and counterparts in the US and other partners were “more limited than they should be”.
ASIO should for instance be able to provide US counterparts with a warrant signed by the Attorney-General to access data that related to an Australian investigation but “that arrangement does not exist as simply as that at the moment”.
Countries needed “common standards as to the nature of the obligation”, so that if a US agency were to approach an American company on Australia’s behalf, that company would know that agreed legal tests were being met, Senator Brandis said.
In mid-2013, less than 3 per cent of counter-terrorism investigations intercepted communications that were encrypted. Today that figure was more than 40 per cent, Senator Brandis said.
“Within a short number of years, effectively, 100 per cent of communications are going to use encryption,” he said. “This problem is going to degrade if not destroy our capacity to gather and act upon intelligence unless it’s addressed.”
Under existing laws, TELCO companies have some obligations to help authorities access communications but…Read More