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Apple criticizes proposals for anti-encryption legislation in Australia



The Australian government is considering a bill that will require tech companies like Apple to provide "critical help" to investigating crimes.

According to the Australian government, encryption is problematic because encrypted communication "is still being used by terrorist groups and organized criminals to avoid detection and disturbance."


As pointed out by TechCrunch Apple today wrote a seven-page letter to the Australian Parliament criticizing the proposed legislation.

In the letter Apple calls the bill "dangerously ambiguous" and explains the importance of encryption in "protection of national security and citizens' lives" from criminal attackers who find more serious and sophisticated ways to infiltrate iOS devices.

In the face of these threats, this is not time to weaken encryption. There is a deep risk of making criminal jobs easier, no more difficult. Apple says it is "challenging the idea" that weaker encryption is needed to assist law enforcement investigation as it has processed more than 26,000 requests for data to help solve crimes in Australia over the last five years.

According to Apple, the language in the bill is wide and unclear, with "unlimited restrictions". For example, Apple says that the language in the bill will allow the government to order companies that enable smart home speakers to "install ongoing monitoring features" or demand that device makers make a tool to unlock devices.

Apple says that additional work has to be done on the bill to include a "firm mandate" that "prohibits the weakening of encryption or security protection", and the company continues to outline a wide range of specific concerns that the hopes the Australian Parliament will address. The list of errors Apple has found with the bill can be found in the full letter.

Apple has fought anti-encryption legislation and tried to weaken device encryption for many years and its most public battle was against the US government in 201

6 after Apple was ordered to help the FBI unlock iPhone owned by Syed Farook, a of the shooters in December 2015 attacks in San Bernardino.

Apple opposed the order and claimed it would put a "dangerous precedent" with serious consequences for the future of smartphone encryption. Apple kept its foundation and the US government relied on finding an alternative way of accessing the device, but Apple has always had to handle additional law enforcement to combat encryption.

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