Australians Join Global Protest Against Laws To Weaken Encryption

A “backdoor” to allow access to any encrypted file -- including personal conversations, medical and banking records -- will be created if laws proposed in countries around the world are passed, according to the Electronic Frontiers Association (EFA).

The EFA has joined the Australian Privacy Foundation, Australian Lawyers for Human Rights and hundreds of other organisations from over 53 countries to protest the changes, which would require companies to provide exceptional access to encrypted materials.

“Encryption and anonymity, and the security concepts behind them, provide the privacy and security necessary for the exercise of the right to freedom of opinion and expression in the digital age,” said David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Opinion & Expression.

The protest is addressed to world leaders -- including those in France, India, the UK, China and the US where the new laws are proposed -- asking them to support strong encryption and to reject any law, policy, or mandate that would undermine digital security.

In an open letter, the EFA stated:

Governments should not ban or otherwise limit user access to encryption in any form or otherwise prohibit the implementation or use of encryption by grade or type;
Governments should not mandate the design or implementation of “backdoors” or vulnerabilities into tools, technologies, or services;
Governments should not require that tools, technologies, or services are designed or developed to allow for third-party access to unencrypted data or encryption keys;
Governments should not seek to weaken or undermine encryption standards or intentionally influence the establishment of encryption standards except to promote a higher level of information security. No government should mandate insecure encryption algorithms, standards, tools, or technologies; and
Governments should not, either by private or public agreement, compel or pressure an entity to engage in activity that is inconsistent with the above tenets.

“The internet belongs to the world’s people, not its governments. We refuse to let this precious resource become nationalized and broken by any nation," said Brett Solomon, Executive Director of Access Now.

"This letter seeks to unify the voices of global internet users by demanding the protection of tools necessary to the expression of our human rights."

EFA executive Jon Lawrence says “Calls to undermine encryption in the name of ‘national security’ are fundamentally misguided and dangerous."

"Encryption is a necessary and critical tool enabling individual privacy, a free media, online commerce and the operations of organisations of all types, including of course government agencies."

"Undermining encryption therefore represents a serious threat to national security in its own right, as well as threatening basic human rights and the enormous economic and social benefits that the digital revolution has brought for people across the globe.”



    This quote The internet belongs to the world’s people, not its governments

    I thought it was owned by the governments in some way? If that isn't true then who owns it? The Internet wouldn't be around if it wasn't for them and the DNS Servers that they operate or operated. I've never thought about who or what owned the internet but now I am

      The internet isn’t really ‘owned’ by anyone. It’s just servers communicating to each other. Only ownership that could come into it is the infrastructure it uses to communicate (which is mostly owned by private companies not governments)

      Nobody really owns the internet, they just own the means of transporting the internet to people (i.e. servers, cables, etc.) The word internet is a connection of networks for people, by people, its like joining this discussion, we have created a form of network with each other, plus leaving ourselves open to more people to join in. Encryption would be like having a private chat amongst each other. If I want to speak to you privately then I wont really want others to listen to it. Hence the protest :P

      It's owned by everyone who has equipment connected to it - we all have a stake.

      Governments may own some of the backbone cables, government organisations may control some of the Root DNS servers or TLD managers, but no one entity is in control. The vast majority is owned by a huge patchwork of ISPs, universities, multinational telecoms, content providers, distribution networks, server farms, and of course users' own devices, all over the world.

    It would be interesting to see what the banking sector has to say about this. How are they going to police it and more importantly, how are they going to secure the proposed backdoor itself against cyber attacks, super-encryption?

    why do governments always think that making companies weaken there software will hurt the criminals... they would just use different software and everyone else would suffer with weaker privacy ...

    I guess that major criminal organisations have been positioning their people to have access to any backdoor. So shortly after a government's mandate for backdoors goes into effect expect crimes on an unprecedented scale. Perhaps we should withdraw all our cash and cancel our credit cards on the same day the mandate goes into effect.

      Someone will discover or leak the back door. Then make it public. This back door idea is a very, very dangerous thing which will cause more harm than it could prevent.

    And what stops me from rolling my own encryption? The maths behind RSA encryption (for example) is so well documented and explained that anyone could write there own encryption program. Heck, for governments that's even worse, everyone not just having totally unique keys but also modified versions of differing encryption methods, Crap id hate to be the security researcher trying to mine data from an effective number of people when everyone is a special snowflake.

      In most cases you could encapsulate your own encrypted data (with your own PGP key pair for example) on these systems with backdoors, so even if they use their backdoor, all they are going to get is your encrypted blob

    Banning encryption? Are they really this retarded?

      Yep, they really are not thinking through this whole thing clearly..... They can go ahead with this backdoor bullshit, but there's always ways around it.... Or ways to avoid it completely.... Government officials have so much power but not enough brain cells....

      Last edited 19/01/16 4:12 pm

    I'd expect this stupid ideology from Donald Trump...

    It's a joke that such a notion as flourished this far...

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