How will Australia’s encryption bill affect the startup ecosystem? And should you be worried?

Australia’s Assistance and Access Bill 2018 — also dubbed the encryption bill — has officially been introduced into parliament and referred to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security for inquiry. But there are still concerns the bill could have serious unintended consequences — including for the startup community.

The bill is intended to give law enforcement access to encrypted communications they believe may contain criminal activity.

For the most part, it’s intended to help law enforcement catch terrorists, child sex offenders and criminal organisations. However, voices from the industry claim, while the intention is good, the bill as it stands could be harmful in other ways.

A public consultation on the bill has received more than 300 responses, in which bodies such as the Australian Human Rights Commission have expressed concern about the bill’s effect on people’s rights to privacy.

Even the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner called on the government to “strike an appropriate balance between any privacy impacts and law enforcement and national security objectives”.

It also draws attention to the possibility of information requests requiring a vulnerability or weakness in environments that require robust security. Read more

Stephanie Palmer-Derrien - SmartCompany - 10 October 2018

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