To investigate terrorism, law enforcement and intelligence agencies increasingly require assistance from multinational technology companies including Facebook, Google and Apple. These companies can assist with decrypting secret communications or unlocking personal devices, but not, they maintain, without undermining the privacy and security of all their users. While other western countries continue to debate these issues, Australia legislated quickly to enhance decryption capabilities with little industry consultation. This article examines the encryption laws recently enacted by the Australian federal parliament, which allow law enforcement and intelligence agencies to require technical assistance from 'designated communications providers'. It interrogates the government's justifications for these laws and examines the wider legal and political context in which they were enacted. The analysis confirms that Australia's approach to decryption does not represent sound practice and instead reflects a pattern of rights-infringing lawmaking in response to terrorism.
Encryption Counter-terrorism laws Terrorism Industry assistance