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Remember the Clipper Chip? Protecting our right to Encrypt



This is a classic case of a law that will catch the stupid, put the law-abiding at risk, and have no effect on anyone else. Real law-breakers AND those law-abiding people who wish their communications to remain private, will simply move to end-to-end encryption.

This legislation is fundamentally broken. Hundreds of bodies, Australian and otherwise, have spoken against this misguided Bill. It cannot be repaired, as it’s basic premise is flawed.


Y’gotta laugh! [Warning: techy-bits]


First Dog has a job for you.


To cap it off, it seems the encryption bill is just part of a package. If we get unruly, the government can now more readily send in the troops.


The bill has passed the senate without amendments;query=Id:"legislation/billhome/r6195"

Do we Need to Regulate Google and Facebook

Our constitution was created using the thinking of the 1890’s and our laws reflect still in many ways the days of formation of the states in the mid 1800’s. Back then events moved at the speed of wind and sail, the horse and a muzzle loading long arm. But mostly at the foot pace of the masses.

To move on from those days it would seem appropriate to have legislation that reflects our current world. There were prior to 1901 dissenters to the final wording or our current constitution. They are long gone, and the constitution remains largely unchanged.

The latest legislative outcomes have been carried with the support of an overwhelming majority of both houses of the parliament. Good,
bad or indifferent they may be with us for a long time to come.

Can we now move on?

What should consumers consider following these changes, and what should we do differently if at all?

I’ve purchased a supply of envelopes and stamps as plan ‘B’. :honeybee:


It would indeed. Does the legislation in question do that? Refer to the twitter thread I posted above.

As it stands, the legislation looks to me like an authoritarian’s wet dream. It stands to do little good and a great deal of harm.


“We offer to let the bill go forward, without the amendments which are needed…provided the government agrees on the very first sitting day, to pass the amendments we say are needed,” Shorten said.


I suspect the ALP is using election tactics. They rolled over to join in supporting ‘national security’ (choke, guffaw) and have thus taken it off the Liberals’ list of attack topics. If the LNP doesn’t do the amendments the ALP has one. If the ALP wins the upcoming federal election as predicted (although surprises happen) one would hope they would quickly correct this error as it might stand at the time.


Perhaps the error will prove self-correcting. Will this law turn out to be one that’s just too silly to enforce?

[A great many laws are not enforced. Some are recognised by the public service as being outdated or just plain idiotic, and not acted on. Some (such as requirements for reporting and audit) are not noticed, or are performed years late. Some agencies and functions that are required by statute are not funded by the Government of the day (the farce with the OAIC being a case in point). Appointments to statutory offices are commonly delayed for long periods. The AFP ignores cases it doesn’t want to pursue, including ones which would be inconvenient to the Government of the day. The DPP does the same, citing of course lack of resources. And the last few months have seen serial admissions by ASIC and APRA of abject failure to fulfil their statutory responsibilities - with no retribution beyond a day’s ‘shaming’ in the media, and later a Royal Commission Report which will fail to recommend sackings and prosecutions, effectively absolving all of the criminal behaviour that has gone on in the financial services sector. Regulatory processes can be applied to people, but applying them to organisations is regarded as being just too hard.

Ahem … :smirk:


Among all our other laws that are often ‘too silly to enforce’ that are selectively enforced, what are the odds? :roll_eyes:


I was listening to Download this Show (highly recommend it) and they mentioned it has the potential to hurt Australian Businesses too. One of the companies that faced the senate committee was an Australian encryption company. They expressed concern that when they sell their product overseas they legally can’t offer any guarantee they haven’t been asked to crack their own system.


About the same odds as predicting the outcome of the next Federal Election, or slightly better odds than the election following that one?

The only certainty is it will mostly be the same group of citizens deciding and determining the outcome, this time, as for last time, and the next time.

Is it that in the the instance of security we mostly believe that “what we don’t know can hurt us”? Are we also slow learners?


Is it that we believe that the legislation:

  • will reduce “what we don’t know”?
  • is enforceable?
  • will do no harm?



Another perspective:


Ask again in another 6 months. In the interim we have the legislation as passed by an almost unanimous vote. It is probably now an offence to have any knowledge concerning implementation or the effects of the legislation for operational reasons. Nothing more to see or do?

While there are risks for individual consumers the big end of town would appear to be at the greatest risk of loss if the legislation opens a back door into every day business transactions and information exchanges. It may serve consumers to watch that space for any signs of insecurity or fall out from the use of the legislation. They all use iPhones and tablets and web/internet services too.


Time to find a bank that uses manual ledgers and handwritten communications?


To put it bluntly:



Everything’s fine, apparently. Peachy. Tickety-boo. :unamused:


The problem is none of these people seem to understand how encryption works.

“The director-general of security recently suggested an analogy where a terrorist is plotting an attack in a hotel room. The authority the police would get under the act is the equivalent of being able to ask the hotel for access to the room. The act does not give the police the power to demand a master key be made for all rooms.”

He’s talking about it like a company can selectively break the encryption of a specific user. What is actually an accurate analogy is all the rooms have a combination lock which the user set when they paid for the room. Anything that can break that lock is also going to break all the locks…