The Witness - - NEWS -

SYD­NEY — Aus­tralia’s par­lia­ment yes­ter­day passed a bill to force tech firms such as Al­pha­bet Inc’s Google, Face­book and Ap­ple to give po­lice ac­cess to en­crypted data, the most far-reach­ing such re­quire­ments im­posed by a western coun­try.

Tech gi­ants op­pose the leg­is­la­tion, say­ing it is out of step with sur­veil­lance and pri­vacy leg­is­la­tion in Europe and, most sig­nif­i­cantly, could in­tro­duce sys­temic weak­nesses that could put Aus­tralians’ data se­cu­rity at risk.

The bill, passed by the lower house of par­lia­ment ear­lier yes­ter­day, was to be de­bated in the up­per Se­nate, where La­bor said it in­tended to sug­gest new amend­ments, be­fore go­ing back to the lower house. In an eleventh-hour twist, La­bor said that de­spite its reser­va­tions, it would pass the bill in the Se­nate to give se­cu­rity agen­cies “some of the tools they say they need”, op­po­si­tion La­bor party leader Bill Shorten told re­porters out­side par­lia­ment in the cap­i­tal of Can­berra.

The bill pro­vides for fines of up to A$10 mil­lion (over R141 mil­lion) for in­sti­tu­tions and prison terms for in­di­vid­u­als for fail­ing to hand over data linked to sus­pected il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties. — Reuters.

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