Big Brother law brouhaha
Smart home-speakers could be used to spy on you
NEW cyber security laws before Federal Parliament could allow the Government to compel makers of smart homespeakers to eavesdrop on Australians in their homes and expose vital infrastructure to cyber attack, according to submissions from IT companies.
The health data of Australians also could be monitored for indications of drug use, under the legislation, warns a submission from Apple.
The Assistance and Access Bill 2018, under scrutiny in the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, allows law enforcement, intelligence agencies and the Department of Home Affairs to compel phone and computer manufacturers, telcos, social media and online gaming developers to introduce a “back door” or systemic weakness into their systems to allow secret access to customers’ encrypted private data.
It could “require the development of a tool that can unlock a particular user’s device regardless of whether such a tool could be used to unlock every other user’s device as well”, says Apple.
“The Bill grants extraordinarily broad and vague powers [that would allow government to] force companies to build tools that ultimately weaken the security of their products or create significant cybersecurity risks.”
Tech giants Google, Facebook, Apple, Telstra, Optus and an alliance of civil and digital rights groups oppose the Bill. Internet Australia warned it would threaten Australia’s $3 billion information technology and software export industry.
Last week, the InspectorGeneral of Intelligence and Security, the oversight body for the intelligence services, released a 50-page list of concerns about the Bill, including that it contains a “loophole” that would effectively compel IT providers to create weaknesses in their systems.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton told the National Press Club last week that the legislation was needed by law enforcement and intelligence agencies to combat terrorism and organised crime.
A public hearing into the legislation will be held this Friday in Canberra.