Google, Apple, Facebook face world-first encryption laws in Australia

Google, Apple, Facebook face world-first encryption laws in Australia

Australia passed new laws that allow law enforcement to access encrypted messages, legislation that leading tech companies, including Google, Facebook and Twitter, have all opposed.

The laws, which passed late on Thursday Australian time, were billed as essential for national security and a vital tool for law enforcement in the fight against terrorism.

The new laws come as tech companies and governments around the world debate the importance of encryption amid a changing national security landscape. Governments and law enforcement agencies across the US, Europe and other western nations argue terrorists and criminals are flocking to encrypted messaging services to escape detection. They say law enforcement needs access to these services -- and greater regulation of tech companies broadly -- to ensure public safety.

Tech companies and civil liberties advocates argue that weakening encryption for one device or one case has the potential to break it for everyone, opening a door to hackers and compromising the security that underpins our modern, digital world. For the tech world, encryption is a matter of simple mathematics (even if politicians disagree). 

But as a member of the Five Eyes security alliance (alongside the US, UK, Canada and New Zealand) the ramifications of the Australian laws could be felt across the world. Read more 

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