Last week, we reported that Australia had passed a new anti-encryption law that could force Apple and other tech companies to help law enforcement access encrypted messages. TechCrunch reports today, however, that Apple is among a handful of tech companies coming out against the legislation.
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A group of United States tech companies, including Apple, Google, and Microsoft, today collectively voiced opposition to the law passed last week. In a statement, the companies called the anti-encryption law in Australia “deeply flawed” and said it will undermine the privacy of users:
“The new Australian law is deeply flawed, overly broad, and lacking in adequate independent oversight over the new authorities,” said the Reform Government Surveillance coalition in a statement. The tech companies added that the law would “undermine the cybersecurity, human rights, or the right to privacy of our users.”
The coalition also called on Australian lawmakers to “promptly address these flaws when it reconvenes” in 2019. In addition to Microsoft, Apple, and Google, the coalition includes Dropbox, Facebook, Google, Oath, LinkedIn, Evernote, Snap, and Twitter.
Apple first spoke out against the law in October, saying that tools designed to weaken encryption are a “huge risk to our digital security.” Further, Apple said that it is “wrong to weaken security for millions of law-abiding customers in order to investigate the very few who post a threat.”
As explained last week, the law outlines that select government agencies can ask tech companies for three different levels of assistance in accessing encrypted messages: “technical assistance request,” “technical assistance notice,” and “technical capability notice.” Companies who refuse to cooperate with such requests could face financial penalties.
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