Australia Calls to Weaken Encryption at “Five Eyes” Meeting

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In a new crack down on online privacy, world’s giant tech companies could soon be forced to weaken their encryption levels as Australia strongly pushes this fearful idea to combat terrorism and protect national security.

It is not even the time for the Five Eyes (US, UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand) to gather for their upcoming summit yet and Australia is already asking tech companies, especially those based in the US, to hinder their encryption for messaging in the hope to battle terrorists.

The meeting is set to be in Ottawa, Canada where Peter Dutton, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection and Attorney-General George Brandis will represent Australia to discuss means to control “cyberspace” to be able to track down terrorists and decipher their messages.

Brandis stated that “…the use by terrorists of cyberspace is an issue of critical concern to intelligence and law enforcement agencies. Australia will lead the discussion of ways to address this issue; in particular the involvement of industry in thwarting the encryption of terrorist messaging”.

“Australia will lead the discussion of ways to address this issue; in particular the involvement of industry in thwarting the encryption of terrorist messaging,” he added.

Several governments around the world are taking extreme measures to expand their sovereignty over the internet. If this should indicate one thing, it indicates that governments are losing control over how individuals use the internet. Using encryption methods as means of communication to transmit data and on the internet makes it almost impossible for government agencies to decipher encrypted messages, especially those exchanged between terrorists.

Brandis further stressed that this issue is considered as a high priority as “these discussions will focus on the need to cooperate with service providers to ensure reasonable assistance is provided to law enforcement and security agencies”.

Last year, Apple was in dispute with the FBI when it refused to unlock a terrorist’s iPhone called Syed Farook for fear of undermining cybersecurity and the people’s right to privacy. This month, Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull voiced his concerns regarding unmonitored cyberspace.

He said “We cannot continue to allow terrorists and extremists to use the internet and the big social media and messaging platforms — most of which are hosted in the United States I should say — to spread their poison.” [..] “The rule of law must prevail everywhere online was well as it does today in the analogue, offline world,” he added. Click here to read more.

This is not the first crack on internet privacy. Last Friday, Germany passed a law that would allow the police to use hacking tools, called “Staatstrojanern” to hack into people’s computers and phones. Staatstrojanern, also known as State Trojans, are type of malware used by the police to get into the devices of their targeted citizens.

It seems that countries are making a lot of effort to be able to spy on their people, to be able to penetrate their online personal space.  This trend has become an epidemic that is spreading across the globe. As the world becomes smaller, internet users start feeling less and less secure. Now, the future of internet privacy remains unpredictable.