Aussie Attorney General Department seems to be cross that citizens are encrypting their traffic and the spooks can’t read it. May be that’s why it is drawing up new laws in order to force Internet users and providers of encrypted online communications services to decode any information intercepted by authorities. They claim it can save time and effort of the spooks in decrypting terrorists’ emails.
However, this proposal was buried in a submission by the department to a Senate inquiry on revision of the Telecommunications Interception Act. In the meantime, the Attorney General claims that the increasing rise of encryption use by businesses made it difficult to guarantee that intercepted communications will be in a readable format. The authorities point out that sophisticated criminals and terrorists are using encryption and related counter-interception measures in order to frustrate law enforcement and various security investigations – the terrorists can do so by using default-encrypted communications services or by adopting advanced encryption solutions.
Industry experts confirm that such tech giants as Yahoo!, Google and Microsoft already enable encryption by default for their email services. You may also remember that BlackBerry’s messaging encryption has also previously been raised as a law enforcement issue.
Now the Australia’s Attorney General Department has developed a plan, under which law enforcement, anti-corruption and national security agencies could apply to an independent issuing authority for a warrant to authorize the issue of ‘intelligibility assistance notices’ to third parties like service providers and others.
The human rights activists point out that forcing individual suspects to decrypt encrypted messages would be a new power for Australian authorities.