ENCRYPTED DATA OPEN TO COPS IN OZ
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.