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Tech giants oppose anti-encryption legislation, support privacy of their users

Media Release
Jordon Steele-John 12 Sep 2018

Tuesday, 11 September

Australian Greens Digital Rights Senator Jordon Steele-John said this morning he was thrilled that some of the biggest tech companies in the world – Google, Facebook, Amazon and Twitter – had finally put the privacy of their users ahead of their own profits, by condemning the Government’s Assistance and Access Bill.

The public consultation period for Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill 2018 ended Monday, 10 September.

“Less than one month ago, during the last sitting fortnight, I called on the big tech companies to speak out against this legislation and protect their users,” Steele-John said.

“I am thrilled that on behalf of many of the world’s largest tech companies, Digital Industry Group last night put in a submission opposing the proposed legislation and reflecting the Australian Greens long-standing position on protecting online privacy.

“Contrary to the stated objective of the bill, Australian cyber security will be significantly diminished by undermining the fundamental principles of end-to-end encryption – which is exactly what this legislation proposes. It is akin to allowing Donald Trump to read your mail over your shoulder as you open it!

“Creating technology vulnerabilities to expand the surveillance overreach of the five eyes network will ultimately leave all of us more vulnerable to criminal activity. Given some of the biggest data breaches over the last few years have come from government agencies, I’m not left feeling any safer by the prospect of this legislation.

“Frankly, this government has proven time and again they are not capable of keeping our data secure so why on earth would I trust them to build – let’s call it for what it is, a backdoor – into the one mechanism that Australian’s trust to keep them safe online?

“This is massive government overreach and something we should all be extremely concerned about. It makes a mockery of our right to privacy, leaves us more vulnerable to cyber espionage and permanently weakens existing protections we all rely on to stay safe and secure online.”

More information about the bill.available here: https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/about/consultations/assistance-and-access-bill-2018

Media contact:
Tim Oliver – 0448 316 387

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